Our firm was recently awarded the ENERGY STAR label for four of our Coat’N’Cool coating products and, along with positive media exposure, the designation has helped to boost interest in our products and our brand. In today’s highly competitive world, you need all the marketing horsepower you can muster, and if you’re in the energy conservation business, ENERGY STAR can be powerful marketing engine.
What Is Energy Star?
ENERGY STAR is a joint program of DOE and EPA with the mission of helping American businesses and homes save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices. The ENERGY STAR label was established to: 1) reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants caused by the inefficient use of energy; and 2) make it easier for consumers to identify and purchase energy-efficient products that offer savings on energy bills without sacrificing performance, features and comfort.
The partnership between the DOE and EPA offers a proven energy management strategy that helps in measuring current energy performance, setting goals, tracking savings and rewarding improvements. With the help of ENERGY STAR, Americans saved enough energy in 2010 alone to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 33 million cars, while at the same time saving nearly $18 billion on their utility bills.
For business, products such as Coat’N’Cool can earn the ENERGY STAR label by meeting the energy efficiency requirements set forth in ENERGY STAR product specifications. And it’s not just for products. ENERGY STAR also provides an innovative energy performance rating system that has been used for more than 200,000 buildings across the country. It does not replace LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design), but complements i
To this end, whether for businesses or homes, ENERGY STAR is based on the following guiding principles:
·Product categories must contribute significantly to energy savings nationwide.
· Qualified products must deliver the features and performance demanded by consumers, in addition to increased energy efficiency.
· If the qualified product costs more than a conventional, less-efficient counterpart, purchasers will, within a reasonable period of time, recover their investment in increased energy efficiency through utility bill savings.
· Energy efficiency can be achieved through broadly available, non-proprietary technologies offered by more than one manufacturer.
· Energy consumption and performance by a product can be measured and verified with testing.
· ENERGY STAR labeling should effectively differentiate products and be visible for purchasers.
Energy Star History
In 1992, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) introduced ENERGY STAR as a voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Computers and monitors were the first labeled products. Through 1995, EPA expanded the label to include office products and residential heating and cooling equipment. In 1996, EPA partnered with the US Department of Energy for particular product categories. The ENERGY STAR label is now on major appliances, office equipment, lighting, home electronics and more. EPA has also extended the label to cover new homes and commercial and industrial buildings.
Through its partnerships with more than 20,000 private and public sector organizations, ENERGY STAR today delivers the technical information and tools that organizations and consumers need to choose energy-efficient solutions and best energy management practices. Today, ENERGY STAR provides a trustworthy label on more than 60 product categories (and thousands of models) for the home and office. These products deliver the same or better performance as comparable models while using less energy and saving money. ENERGY STAR also provides easy-to-use home and building energy assessment tools so that homeowners and building managers can start down the path to greater efficiency and cost savings.
The EPA and DOE use a systematic framework to: (1) assess the feasibility for applying the label to a product category; (2) develop performance specifications that must be met in order to earn the label; and (3) re-assess performance specifications as market conditions change. This process relies on rigorous market, engineering and pollution savings analyses, as well as input from industry and other stakeholders.
To ensure that the ENERGY STAR label remains an effective consumer tool, EPA/DOE relies on technical expertise and performance-based specifications that identify energy-efficient products whose use results in reasonable financial return without sacrificing product performance or features. It is EPA/DOE’s goal to create ENERGY STAR specifications for only those product categories where it is clear that the energy savings potential of a product will translate into tangible energy savings when the product is placed in a home or building.
To determine the feasibility for any new ENERGY STAR product category and the corresponding performance-based specifications, EPA/DOE follow a set of key principles. It is important to note that these principles are not applied as a strict checklist per se since there are many factors – known and unknown – that impact energy use and efficiency. However, they are used as guidance during an iterative process to achieve the desired balance among the key principles.
When everything is considered, EPA/DOE seek to identify product categories that can contribute significant energy savings nationwide. To determine optimum energy savings potential, EPA and DOE collect extensive data and analyze a variety of factors, including, but not limited to the following:
· Number of products sold nationwide and their widespread availability.
· Market growth rates.
· Amount of energy used by product in various power modes as appropriate (e.g., active, sleep, and standby/off power modes).
·The product’s typical usage pattern (i.e., amount of time spent in each of the various modes of operation).
· Amount of energy that may be saved through the application of different technologies, operating procedures or design practices.
· Applicable industry standards and legislation that may affect a product’s energy consumption and availability.
· Extent to which potential energy savings may be impacted by installation practices or system interactions.
· Product performance can be maintained or enhanced with increased energy efficiency.
Utilizing these and other principles, EPA/DOE seek to maintain the ENERGY STAR label as an attractive purchasing tool for a broad array of consumers. This is accomplished by ensuring that the label is not only a credible symbol for energy efficiency, but that it is also found on products with the features and performance that consumers demand.
An Effective Marketing Tool
Because of its credibility in the marketplace, ENERGY STAR is also an effective marketing tool that may convey a promotional advantage to businesses and/or consumers that use it. As such, EPA/DOE are careful not to favor one manufacturer over all others by designating a proprietary technology or unique design approach when developing the performance attributes of an ENERGY STAR product specification. To ensure that specifications are such that more than one manufacturer can meet them with at least one of their product models, the following factors are considered and evaluated:
· Number of companies that manufacture a product type.
· Availability, variety and cost competitiveness of energy-saving technologies.
· Proprietary or exclusive nature of any technologies in use.
· Product energy consumption and performance can be measured and verified with testing.
When assessing the viability of a product category to be covered by ENERGY STAR, and when developing specific performance-based specifications, EPA/DOE make every effort to choose energy performance metrics (e.g., CFM/W, cubic feet per meter per watt; AFUE, Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) for which an industry-accepted test procedure already exists (such as that used by the Cool Roof Rating Council for roofing products) and is actively in use by manufacturers. It is critical that the DOE/EPA, in concert with product manufacturers and other stakeholders, work closely to fine-tune the selected test procedures to ensure they accurately and repeatedly measures the energy consumption of products, regardless of who is conducting the testing.
How a Product Earns an Energy Star Rating
Our Coat ‘N’ Cool product is a long-lasting, easy-to-apply waterborne epoxy coating specially engineered to reflect solar radiation – the visible and near-visible ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) radiation emitted from the sun. Reflecting solar radiation reduces both the exterior and interior temperatures of a structure, which may reduce the cost of energy used for cooling by 10 to 30 percent.
Coat ‘N’ Cool’s waterborne epoxy coating was engineered through the use of a one-part waterborne epoxy technology with Complex Inorganic Compounded Pigments (CICPs). CICPs are finely crushed and placed in a liquid dispersion in order to easily mix with the 1-part waterborne epoxy. The CICPs give Coat ‘N’ Cool’s waterborne epoxy coating very high reflectivity and high fade resistance. One-part waterborne epoxy technology gives Coat ‘N’ Cool’s waterborne epoxy coating excellent adhesion and durability, making it a highly effective and long-lasting reflective coating.
Coat ‘N’ Cool’s waterborne epoxy coating reflects (blocks out) solar radiation – both direct and indirect sunlight in the visible and near-visible infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV) spectrums. IR, which comprises 52% of the electromagnetic spectrum, is commonly known as the earth’s heat source. By blocking out the solar radiation, it is possible to reduce exterior temperatures of structures by as much as 100 ºF. In turn, this can translate into a reduction of interior temperatures by as much as 20 ºF. Through the use of one-part waterborne epoxies with CICPs, Coat ‘N’ Cool’s waterborne epoxy coating maintains excellent adhesion and durability on almost all cured construction surfaces.
Testing of products such as Coat’N’Cool for ENERGY STAR has two roles: 1) to yield accurate energy consumption values for products whose manufacturers are hoping to earn the label, and 2) to verify that labeled products are performing at the appropriate levels and delivering on ENERGY STAR’s energy efficiency promise to consumers. Following is a brief explanation of the steps a company must take to have its products rated for the ENERGY STAR award:
First, you must select an accredited independent testing laboratory (AITL) and a test farm (for roofing products, listings are available on the Cool Roof Rating Council website at http://coolroofs.org). Next, you prepare product samples for testing based on the AITL specifications, which for ENERGY STAR involves a total of nine samples randomly selected from two batches of your products per the AITL instructions. The entire testing process, because it is age-based, takes three years.
The next step is to complete the Test Farm Notification Form and send the product sample package to the AITL you have selected. The package will include:
a. Test results report;
b. Test Farm Notification Form;
c. Product samples;
d. Test farm contact information for use by AITL so it can forward your tested samples to the selected test farm for weathering exposure.
Once initial testing is completed by AITL, you should receive a completed Test Results Report from AITL, which will then forward the samples and Test Farm Notification Form to the test farm for next available placement date when the testing procedure commences. Exposures for the three-year testing will begin on the first day of every other month throughout the year. You must coordinate with an AITL representative to ensure that your product(s) arrive at the test farm in time for the next placement date. Finally, with the completion of the testing process, your product should be ready to receive its ENERGY STAR award from the U.S. Dept. of Energy.