On September 5, Schneider Electric made what I consider to be a significant announcement: our Back-UPS and Smart-UPS systems have become the first uninterruptible power supplies to earn Energy Star qualification. How that came to pass is quite a little story.
UPS products were added to the Energy Star roster only about 3 months ago, the first new product category to be added to the program since it significantly changed the process for qualifying products.
In 2010, the Energy Star program was audited by the Office of Management and Budget, which found some deficiencies. At the time, Energy Star would accept a manufacturer’s own declaration regarding the energy efficiency of its products. The OMB wanted more stringent requirements, so now companies need to test their products in accredited labs and have the results certified by an accreditation body.
Fast-forward to 2012 and the addition of the UPS category. To give all UPS vendors an equal opportunity at qualifying, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, which run Energy Star, said it would take no UPS product registrations for 60 days from the time its final UPS draft was published.
In those 60 days, Schneider Electric interviewed three certification boards and ultimately chose UL (the former Underwriter’s Laboratories). We then had to coordinate our testing apparatus with UL and have them review our test procedures.
Then tests involved measuring the efficiency of our UPS products at various loads: 25, 50, 75 and 100 percent. Depending on the type of UPS, the efficiency had to be above a certain level to achieve Energy Star status. Once the tests were complete, UL had to certify the results.
Thanks to yeoman’s work by our teams in Billerica, MA and Taipei, Taiwan, we got all that done within the 60-day window. As it turns out, Schneider Electric was the only vendor to pull it off, and thus is first with Energy Star-compliant UPS products.
In the end, we got eight of our Back-UPS and three of our Smart-UPS models certified.
So what does all this mean for our customers? To achieve Energy Star status, a product must be in the top 25 percent of its category in terms of efficiency, which means the Energy Star rating generally tends to define the top quarter of the marketplace. We always tell customers that we offer the most advanced technology and provide products and services that are leading edge. For our UPS products, Energy Star qualification is proof of that. It shows we’re living up to our word.
Of course it also means our UPS customers can be assured they’re getting highly energy efficient products, which will save them money year after year.
This is hardly the end of the story, by the way. We’ve busy testing more UPSs, including our three-phase Symmetra PX 250 and PX 500 products, and expect them to soon be sporting the Energy Star logo. So stay tuned for more Energy Star news.