The Importance of ENERGY STAR
This week we are excited to bring you a blog post from Joe LaPorte, Director, Product Group at PHC Corporation of North America. Joe is one of the most knowledgeable people we know about freezers; he has been working with ENERGY STAR for over a decade on standards for laboratory units.
The International Laboratory Freezer Challenge is made possible due to the generosity of our sponsors. We are incredibly grateful to PHC for supporting the Freezer Challenge at the Gold level, and to Joe for sharing this thoughts on ENERGY STAR below:
Since Energy Star was first introduced for the laboratory grade products category in late 2017, many who purchase new ultra-low freezers have begun to rely on the ENERGY STAR data for input in their buying decisions.
The ENERGY STAR website section related to laboratory freezers and refrigerators provides detailed information about energy performance that can be expected under real world operating conditions. While the information is accurate, most purchasers, however, do not know how these overall energy consumption models are calculated.
Since end users typically operate their freezers at -80°C or -70°C (or within this range) these calculations include energy consumption at both temperatures. Furthermore, since many freezers are accessed multiple times a day, the ENERGY STAR profile at both temperatures is based on 6 door openings during an 8 hour period. A simulated product load representing typical use patterns was developed under consultation with the Department of Energy, qualified ultra-low freezer manufacturers and end users.
ENERGY STAR testing is conducted on empty freezers. Usage patterns vary from one installation to the next. This is why the ENERGY STAR evaluation is independently conducted by EPA licensed testing laboratories in an effort to assure an accurate ‘apples-to apples’ comparison of different models and freezer brands. Additionally, most end users are interested in other performance criteria such as temperature recovery after door openings and interior uniformity in the steady state, both of which contribute to the overall performance profile of an ultra-low freezer.
Thus, in addition to the ENERGY STAR testing criteria focused mostly on power consumption, the independent testing agency typically provides client manufacturers with a full data set on how ultra-low freezers published in the ENERGY STAR certification schedule performed beyond the minimal specification.
An informed decision in advance of an ultra-low temperature freezer purchasing decisions requires examination of this data provided by both ENERGY STAR and the manufacturer.