WASHINGTON-The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), coordinator of the U.S. standards and conformity assessment system, announced the launch of a new pilot accreditation program for certification bodies that seek recognition from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to certify products under the Energy Star Program.

Energy Star is a joint initiative of the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that promotes energy-efficient products and practices. Because the Energy Star products program has grown to encompass products in more than 60 categories and is relied upon by millions of Americans, EPA and DOE have put into place requirements for enhanced testing and verification. Under these new requirements, a product certification body can achieve EPA recognition by:

1. meeting EPA requirements as set forth in the Conditions and Criteria for Recognition of Certification Bodies for the Energy Star Program; and 2. being accredited by a third-party accreditation body to ISO/IEC Guide 65, General requirements for bodies operating product certification systems.

Furthermore, the EPA requires that third-party accreditation bodies operate in accordance with ISO/IEC 17011, Conformity assessment - General requirements for accreditation bodies accrediting conformity assessment bodies. Accreditation bodies must also be signatories to the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA) for Product Certification. ANSI is currently the only U.S. signatory to the IAF MLA for Product Certification.

The ANSI pilot program is designed to support the Energy Star Program through the independent, third-party accreditation of product certification bodies that evaluate and certify the activities of energy-efficient product manufacturers. As noted above, the pilot program will assess the applicant certification bodies against the requirements set forth in the EPA Conditions and Criteria for Recognition of Certification Bodies for the Energy Star Program; ISO/IEC Guide 65; and IAF – GD 5 – 2006, IAF Guidance on the application of ISO/IEC Guide 65.

ANSI will accept applications for the pilot program from August 27 through September 27, 2010.