On September 5, Schneider Electric made what I consider to be a significant announcement: Schneider Electric Back-UPS and Smart-UPS systems have become the first uninterruptible power supplies to earn the  Energy Star. How that came to pass is quite a story of initiative and teamwork on a global scale.

UPS products were added to the Energy Star roster on May 10, 2012, the first new product category to be added to the program since it significantly changed the process for qualifying products.

In 2010, Energy Star would accept a manufacturer’s own declaration regarding the energy efficiency of its products. The US Government Accountability Office said the requirements should be more stringent to maintain the integrity of the program, so now companies test their products in approved or accredited labs and have the results reviewed by a certification body.

Fast-forward to May 2012 and the long awaited addition of the UPS category to the Energy Star program, which is a joint effort between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. To give all UPS vendors an equal opportunity at qualifying, Energy Star made the effective date of UPS product registrations August 1, 2012 – a window just shy of 12 weeks.

Schneider Electric interviewed several certification bodies and ultimately chose UL (the former Underwriters Laboratories). We then had to review our lab’s testing apparatus and process with UL and have them review our UPS test procedures.

The Energy Star tests involved measuring the efficiency of our UPS products at various loads: 25, 50, 75 and 100 percent. And, depending on the type of UPS, the efficiency had to be above certain levels to achieve the Energy Star. Once the tests were complete, UL certified our results.

This achievement is the result of a global effort of the Schneider Electric team. Thanks to the tireless work and terrific efforts of our Back-UPS team in Taipei, Taiwan, our Smart-UPS team in Billerica, Mass. and the great support received from UL, we completed all requirements within the 12-week window. As it turns out, Schneider Electric was the only vendor to pull it off in that time frame, and is first to announce Energy Star for UPS products.

Specifically, eight of our Back-UPS and three of our Smart-UPS models earned the Energy Star.

So what does all this mean for our customers? To earn the Energy Star, a product must be in the top 25 percent of its category in terms of efficiency, which means the Energy Star generally tends to define the top quarter of the marketplace in terms of efficiency. We often tell customers that Schneider Electric offers the most advanced technology and provides products and services that are leading edge. For our UPS products, earning the Energy Star provides evidence to back up those claims.

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 been busy testing more UPS systems, and expect them to soon be sporting the Energy Star logo. So stay tuned for more great Energy Star news from Schneider Electric.