ENERGY STAR News

Fall 2006

In This Issue…

Amendments Proposed to Canada's Energy Efficiency Regulations

NRCan is proposing amendments to Canada's Energy Efficiency Regulations that will impact a range of lighting, appliances and HVAC equipment.

The proposed amendment will:

  1. Update the test method and increase the energy performance requirements for central air conditioners and heat pumps of less than 19kW (65,000btu/h), with the goal of harmonizing the regulations with the required performance level of SEER 13 in the United States and the province of Ontario.

  2. Strengthen minimum performance requirements for three types of air conditioners and heat pumps used in the commercial/institutional sector: packaged terminal air conditioners and heat pumps (units mounted through the wall and often found in motel and hotel rooms), large air conditioners and heat pumps, and internal water-loop heat pumps (used for heating and cooling of large commercial buildings).

  3. Introduce minimum energy efficiency requirements for beverage vending machines and commercial reach-in refrigeration units.

  4. Introduce new requirements for two types of residential refrigerating appliances: chest freezers with automatic defrost (Type 10A) and automatic defrost refrigerators-freezers with a bottom-mounted freezer and through-the-door ice service (Type 5A). The amendment will harmonize minimum energy efficiency and labelling requirements for these products in Canada and the U.S.

  5. Repeal the effective date for regulation of internally lighted exit signs. This change will broaden the coverage of the regulation to include all exit signs, regardless of the date of manufacture.

  6. Repeal the effective date for regulation of fluorescent lamp ballasts and introduce ballast efficacy factors for energy-saving lamps. The amendment will also modify specific exclusion criteria for certain ballasts (e.g., ambient temperature of operation and dimming capabilities) and allow ballasts that operate a small subset of residential F32T8 lamps to operate at a lower power factor than currently specified in the Regulations.

  7. Repeal the tap range exemption for dry-type transformers.

  8. Repeal the requirement for the Minister to recognize certification bodies accredited by the Standards Council of Canada.

  9. Address administrative items, such as ensuring that the French and English versions of the Regulations are identical.

  10. Update the numbering system for items included in Part I of Schedule I of the Regulations.

  11. Update the Regulations by adding references to newly available French versions of certain CSA standards, as well as updating the reference to the test method for dishwashers.

Amendment 9 to the Energy Efficiency Regulations was pre-published in the Canada Gazette Part I on May 6, 2006. NRCan expects to complete the amendment process by publishing the new requirement in Part II of the Canada Gazette in the fall of 2006, after which the ENERGY STAR criteria for residential light fixtures will come into effect in Canada.

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EPA Revisiting ENERGY STAR Specs for Furnaces

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reevaluating the ENERGY STAR specifications for furnaces as part of its process of regularly updating ENERGY STAR criteria for different products.

The purpose of the review, which was announced in October 2005, is to:

  • investigate a more appropriate AFUE level for oil furnaces that takes into account the challenges of designing for efficiency with this fuel type and provides for greater availability of ENERGY STAR qualified models;
  • determine the cost effectiveness and applicability of including an energy efficiency metric that addresses electricity used by the furnace fan.

Once the EPA has completed its preliminary research, a decision will be made as to whether the furnace specification should be revised. In the meantime, the current furnace product specification will remain in place.

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) has advised the EPA that it agrees with the proposal to develop separate ENERGY STAR criteria for oil-fired furnaces. The current ENERGY STAR specification for furnaces is AFUE 90, which requires the use of condensing technology. However, oil furnaces that use condensing technology also require specialized equipment and materials due to the high sulphur content of fuel oil and the corrosive nature of the condensate. As a result, the availability of condensing oil furnaces is extremely limited, although the ENERGY STAR products listing does include several recently launched models.

NRCan also supports the proposal to consider an energy efficiency metric to address the electricity consumed by furnace fans. Using a high-efficiency (BLDC, VSM or ECM) motor instead of a standard (PSC) motor can reduce electricity consumption by about 368 kWh or $31 per year (this does not include circulation mode) – equivalent to the energy consumption of an average ENERGY STAR qualified dishwasher. As well, an estimated 20 percent of Canadian homes operate the furnace fan continually, and this number continues to grow. Using a high-efficiency motor in circulation mode yields savings of more than 1 051 kWh/year – equivalent to two average ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerators.

The full text of the EPA's notice regarding the review of the ENERGY STAR specifications for furnaces (select "Revisions to Existing Product Specifications" on the right of the page). Future EPA correspondence and documents related to this topic will also be posted on this site.

Stakeholders wishing additional information or to comment on the EPA's specification review can contact Hantz Prosper of NRCan at (613) 943-8291 or by e-mail.

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ENERGY STAR Qualified LED Signal Lights Jump in Market Share

Sales of ENERGY STAR qualified LED – or light emitting diode – traffic and pedestrian signal lights have increased dramatically in Canada over the past three years, according to a survey conducted for Natural Resources Canada. ENERGY STAR qualified LEDs now account for approximately 43 percent of all traffic and pedestrian signal lights installed across the country, compared to less than four percent in 2002.

The survey, undertaken for NRCan by Marbek Resource Consultants Ltd. of Ottawa, was a follow-up to a 2002 study commissioned by BC Hydro in collaboration with NRCan. The 2002 study revealed that, although ENERGY STAR qualified LEDs accounted for a small proportion of the installed stock of Canadian traffic and pedestrian signal lights, the technology was catching on and poised for strong growth.

ENERGY STAR qualified LEDs provide excellent illumination while typically using 85 to 95 percent less electricity than a conventional incandescent light. They also last much longer (LEDs don't have a filament that will burn out), are more durable and fit more easily into modern electronic circuits.

As was the case with the initial study, the 2005 survey involved representatives of municipal governments, provincial departments of highways and ENERGY STAR qualified LED manufacturers and distributors.

Among its key findings:

  • ENERGY STAR qualified LED signal lights are readily available and accessible in all regions of Canada, including rural areas. The industry has ample capacity to supply products and service to any geographical region of Canada where there is a demand for LED signal lights.
  • More than 95 percent of current LED signal light users reported that the technology had met or exceeded their expectations in terms of energy, cost, health and environmental benefits. In the case of energy savings, 30 percent of respondents reported that the LEDs had exceeded their expectations.
  • ENERGY STAR qualified LED signal lights now account for approximately 93 percent of all sales of new traffic and pedestrian signal lights in Canada.
  • ENERGY STAR qualified LEDs' share of the installed stock of traffic and pedestrian signal lights in Canada is expected to continue to grow, reaching about 87 percent by 2010.

The survey also revealed that awareness of ENERGY STAR qualified LED technology for traffic signals has increased significantly in the past three years, with less than five percent of municipal and transportation ministry respondents reporting "lack of information" as a barrier to increased LED market penetration. However, the higher capital cost of LED signal lights continues to be a barrier.

The operating and maintenance cost savings offered by ENERGY STAR qualified LEDs are proven and well documented. Switching a conventional traffic signal head to an equivalent ENERGY STAR qualified LED type would result in annual electricity savings of approximately 1,100 kWh/yr, worth about $110 at today's electricity prices.

In the face of high capital costs, survey respondents indicated that the rapid switch to ENERGY STAR qualified LED technology over the past three years has been supported by the availability of third-party financing from electric utilities and federal and provincial government programs or through innovative financing arrangements. In fact, 63 percent of survey respondents who installed ENERGY STAR qualified LEDs did so with some form of third-party funding, and 58 percent of these respondents reported that the funding was very critical to their decision to purchase LEDs.

Based on the evidence from the 2002 and 2005 studies, NRCan will be proposing to include a minimum energy performance level for traffic and pedestrian signal lights, based on the current ENERGY STAR qualifying level, in the next amendment (Amendment 10) of the Energy Efficiency Regulations.

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Residential Light Fixtures to be Added to ENERGY STAR Program

Residential light fixtures – including torchière lamps – will be the next product line incorporated into the ENERGY STAR program in Canada, paving the way for homeowners to reduce their electricity consumption and costs for lighting by about 66 percent compared to standard fixtures. First, however, a minor amendment is required to Canada's Energy Efficiency Regulations.

Residential light fixtures are already included in the ENERGY STAR program in the U.S. To qualify, fixtures must consume two-thirds less energy than a conventional fixture and use bulbs that last at least 10,000 hours (about seven years, assuming normal usage of four hours per day). As well, ENERGY STAR qualified light fixtures must offer a two-year warranty – double the industry standard.

In order for the ENERGY STAR technical specifications to come into effect in Canada, the Energy Efficiency Regulations must be amended to reduce the regulated power factor for ballasts for residential linear fluorescent lamps from the current level of greater than 90 percent to greater than 50 percent. This amendment was pre-published in the Canada Gazette Part I on May 6, 2006, as part of Amendment 9 to the Regulations (see the article on Proposed Amendments to Canada's Energy Efficiency Regulations).

NRCan expects the amendment process to be completed in the fall of 2006, after which the ENERGY STAR criteria for residential light fixtures will come into effect in Canada. As part of a national strategic lighting initiative NRCan and its utility partners will be looking for ways to feature ENERGY STAR qualified light fixtures in future programs.

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EPA to Suspend Programmable Thermostats Specification

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to withdraw the technical criteria for programmable thermostats.

According to the EPA, field studies in the U.S. have not revealed conclusive evidence that ENERGY STAR qualified programmable thermostats save energy and money compared to other thermostats, presumably because consumers are not using the set-back feature. As a result, the EPA is proposing to move from the traditional performance specification for this product to a consumer education campaign that would encourage homeowners to set back their thermostats at night and during the day when no one is home.

NRCan supports the need to educate consumers on the energy-saving benefits of installing a programmable thermostat and using its set-back feature. As well, the department is also recommending retaining and broadening the technical criteria for thermostat products.

In its response to the EPA proposal, NRCan has suggested that the existing technical specification should be expanded to include non programmable electronic units (hardwired, low voltage or integrated units) designed for individual room applications, such as those used with baseboard resistence heating. NRCan also recommends that the technical specification should differentiate between units based on stricter performance and quality criteria related to droop, swing and precision of temperature display.

More information on the EPA proposal (select "Revisions to Existing Product Specifications" on the right navigation bar).

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New ENERGY STAR Criteria for Dishwashers and Clothes Washers in 2007

Upcoming changes to the ENERGY STAR criteria for dishwashers and clothes washers will impact product labelling by manufacturers and retailers and could affect product eligibility for appliance rebate programs.

Effective January 1, 2007, the ENERGY STAR criteria for dishwashers will change from a minimum Energy Factor (EF) of 0.58 to a minimum EF of 0.65 and will also establish for the first time a minimum EF for compact dishwashers of 0.88.

The clothes washer criteria will change from a minimum Modified Energy Factor (MEF) of 1.42 to a minimum MEF of 1.72. The ENERGY STAR criteria for clothes washers will also include for the first time a maximum water consumption factor of 8.0.

Products manufactured after January 1, 2007, must meet the new criteria to be designated as ENERGY STAR qualified. Products manufactured prior this date may use the ENERGY STAR mark if the product meets either the current or new ENERGY STAR criteria.

During a three-month transition period – from January 1 to March 31, 2007 – retailers will be permitted to continue to promote old products as ENERGY STAR qualified even if they do not meet the new criteria. After March 31, 2007, these products can still be sold but cannot be identified in point of purchase or promotional materials as being ENERGY STAR qualified.

In addition to minimizing consumer confusion, the transition period will help manufacturers, utilities and others address issues related to eligibility for rebates for ENERGY STAR qualified dishwashers and clothes washers in 2007.

More information on the new criteria and their impact on manufacturers, retailers and consumers can be found on the OEE's ENERGY STAR Web site.

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Report on the 2006 ENERGY STAR Participants Meeting and Recognition Awards

More than 150 ENERGY STAR participants from across Canada came together in Toronto on May 4 - 5, 2006, to share information on the past year's activities and experiences, brainstorm new ideas and celebrate another successful year. Hosted by NRCan's Office of Energy Efficiency, the meeting was held in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, with the presentation of the 2006 ENERGY STAR Recognition Awards taking place at the nearby Fairmont Royal York Hotel.

The meeting was an opportunity for OEE officials to update ENERGY STAR participants on program accomplishments in Canada, the results of some recent research on the market impact of ENERGY STAR and the development of ENERGY STAR specifications. Participants also heard about some initiatives being pursued by the U.S. ENERGY STAR Program, and received an update on ENERGY STAR for New Homes, which has taken off in Ontario and may soon find its way into other provinces as well.

The Participants Meeting also featured a presentation by Ralph Torrie, one of Canada's leading experts in the field of energy and the environment and a strong supporter of ENERGY STAR as a market transformation tool. Concurrent sessions were held on marketing and technical issues, and selected ENERGY STAR participants were invited to make presentations on how they are promoting the purchase and use of energy efficient products.

For many, however, the highlight of the annual event was the presentation of the ENERGY STAR Recognition Awards. The awards were presented this year by Richard B. Fadden, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources Canada, on behalf of the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources.

Minister Lunn offered congratulations to the winners via a pre-taped video, also taking the opportunity to say a few words about the new government's approach to energy conservation and climate change. Mr. Fadden then presented the awards, commending the winning retailers, manufacturers, utilities and advocates on their leadership and achievement in encouraging Canadians to select the most energy-efficient products available on the market.

A total of 13 awards were presented in 2006.This year's winners were:

  • ENERGY STAR Manufacturer of the Year – Multiple Products
    Whirlpool Canada Inc.
  • ENERGY STAR Manufacturer of the Year – Specific Product
    Vinyl Window Designs Ltd.
  • ENERGY STAR Retailer of the Year
    Home Depot Canada
  • ENERGY STAR Utility of the Year – Regional
    Barrie Hydro Distribution Inc.
  • ENERGY STAR Utility of the Year – Provincial
    Manitoba Hydro
  • ENERGY STAR Promotional Campaign of the Year – Multiple Products
    Terasen Gas
  • ENERGY STAR Promotional Campaign of the Year – Specific Product
    JELD-WEN Windows and Doors (United Window Division)
  • ENERGY STAR Participant of the Year
    G.I.T. Doors and Windows Ltd.
  • ENERGY STAR Advocate of the Year – Multiple Products
    Toronto Community Housing Corporation
  • ENERGY STAR Advocate of the Year – Specific Product
    Thermoplast
  • ENERGY STAR Recruit of the Year
    Project Porchlight – One Change Campaign
  • ENERGY STAR Collaborative Initiative of the Year
    Clean Air Foundation
  • ENERGY STAR Award for Sustained Excellence
    British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority (BC Hydro)

More information and photos of the meeting and the awards

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Staffing Announcement

Kathy Deeg has accepted a new challenge at NRCan's Office of Energy Efficiency, taking up the position of Manager, Program Development and Coordination of the Housing and Equipment group. In her new capacity, Kathy will continue to work with utilities and other organizations involved in energy savings initiatives. From 2002 on, Kathy was account manager for the retail and utilities sector under the ENERGY STAR Initiative. Thanks Kathy for your excellent work and congratulations for your promotion. Until Kathy's old position is staffed, Anne Wilkins will be pleased to answer your enquiries by telephone at (613) 992 3900 or by e-mail

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ENERGY STAR Contacts

Retail sector; utilities in Quebec :
Isabelle Guimont – E-mail

Commercial refrigeration sector :
Julie Doucet – E-mail

Commercial sector and manufacturers; utilities :
Anne Wilkins – E-mail

EnerGuide, major appliances and room air conditioners manufacturers :
Nancy Fecteau – E-mail

Government and institutional purchasing :
Gisele Maillet – E-mail

Industrial sector
Isabelle Saint-Laurent – E-mail

Windows, doors and skylights sector :
Steve Hopwood – E-mail

Administrative support :
Kim Paquette – E-mail
Claudette Jakubinek – E-mail

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