EPA Launches Revision of Version 1.0 ENERGY STAR Spec for Battery Charging Systems

March 09, 2010 by Jeff Shepard

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is launching the revision of the Version 1.0 ENERGY STAR® specification for Battery Charging Systems (BCS). Through this specification development process, EPA will both assess new opportunities for increased product efficiency and the potential to address expanded product categories in the residential and commercial marketplace. The EPA is inviting participation in the development of an appropriate test procedure(s) and performance requirements for battery chargers. According to the EPA , due to the potential expansion of the BCS specification, there are many manufacturers who will be new to the ENERGY STAR specification development process.

The ENERGY STAR Version 1.0 BCS specification took effect in January 2006. It was designed to provide a complementary specification to the ENERGY STAR external power supply (EPS) requirements and to quickly deliver significant energy savings by focusing on a specific subset of consumer products with BCSs. While EPA conducted a thorough analysis of BCSs in power tools and small household appliances, the scope of products covered was intentionally not exhaustive and thus did not address many products that utilize battery chargers (e.g., wheelchairs, forklifts, and other high-wattage battery chargers). In all relevant program correspondence, the EPA states that it reiterated its long-term interest in addressing active/charge mode as well as broader product coverage and its intention to follow and support research in this area.

With this BCS specification revision, the EPA states it has four noteworthy goals:

– Expand the scope of products covered. As such, the EPA will actively solicit participation and input from stakeholders new to ENERGY STAR (such as manufacturers of large battery chargers typically used in forklifts and electric carts) and existing partners with products currently covered under other specifications (such as mobile phone manufacturers who have traditionally partnered with ENERGY STAR via the End-Use Products with ENERGY STAR EPSs program).

– Address active/charge mode, which is consistent with the direction the Department of Energy (DOE) is taking in its battery charger standards work and is addressed in the "Energy Efficiency Battery Charger System Test Procedure" adopted by the California Energy Commission.

– Work closely with DOE on the development of a coordinated Federal test procedure for battery chargers, consistent with the new EPA/DOE Partnership Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

– Coordinate with other interested international governments to harmonize the test procedure(s) and performance metric, where feasible.

Over the coming months, EPA will engage product manufacturers and other interested parties to: 1) identify and define the types of equipment to be covered by a revised ENERGY STAR BCS specification; 2) determine appropriate means of testing the energy consumption of these products; 3) collect, review, and analyze energy efficiency performance data; and 4) propose product definitions, the technical approach for this product category, and efficiency levels in a series of draft documents for stakeholder review and comment.