On June 30, 2010, the EPA released its Final Conditions and Criteria for Recognition of Accreditation Bodies and Final Conditions and Criteria for Recognition of Testing Laboratories documents. A2LA had no problems meeting or exceeding the EPA criteria based upon our experience and positive MRA evaluations. A2LA is now recognized by the EPA to provide Accreditation for ENERGY STARtesting laboratories that perform product testing in support of the ENERGY STARprogram and its specific product family test methods and requirements.
The criteria for testing laboratory recognition by the EPA require laboratories to provide objective evidence of compliance to ISO/IEC 17025:2005, via gaining and maintaining accreditation through an EPA recognized AB or alternately the laboratory may participate in an EPA recognized Certification Body’s supervised or witnessed manufacturer’s testing laboratory program (SMTL/WMTL). The EPA also enacted additional requirements for laboratories to comply with in an effort to maintain impartiality between testing laboratories and manufacturers, in the event that a manufacturer’s in-house laboratory gains accreditation for the purposes of ENERGY STAR product testing.
A2LA has created the R222 – Specific Requirements: EPA ENERGY STAR Accreditation Program document, highlighting the specific areas which go above and beyond the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025:2005. All applicant and currently accredited laboratories must demonstrate compliance to both ISO/IEC 17025:2005 as well as these additional requirements to be recognized by the EPA as a testing laboratory for the ENERGY STAR program.
The criteria for Accreditation Body (AB) EPA recognition rely heavily on the ability of the AB to demonstrate that they are signatories to the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) mutual recognition agreement (MRA). As a signatory to this MRA, the AB must be able to demonstrate evidence of compliance to the ISO/IEC 17011 standard, and must undergo rigorous periodic peer evaluations by other signatories to the ILAC MRA.
A2LA accredited its first testing laboratory over thirty years ago, and that laboratory continues to maintain accreditation through A2LA. This wealth of experience has positioned A2LA to be committed to the improvement of laboratory data quality, resulting in providing confidence to the data users while providing exemplary customer service to our accredited entities.
A2LA is currently accepting new applications for accreditation from laboratories who intend to test to the newly enacted EPA ENERGY STAR requirements. Further, A2LA is working with existing accredited laboratories to add compliance with these new requirements to their existing scopes of accreditation. There are resources devoted to ensure prompt attention to all interested parties’ needs. Please direct any questions on applying for accreditation to the contact listed above. Existing laboratories should direct their questions on expanding their scope (through the use of A2LA Form F108) to their current Accreditation Officer contact at A2LA.
The original requirements documents for Accreditation Bodies, as well as Testing Laboratories, can be found at the EPA’s Enhanced Testing and Verification website (http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=partners.enhanced_test_verification), or by clicking on the links for the specific document above.
A2LA is a nonprofit, non-governmental, public service, membership society, whose stated mission is “to provide comprehensive accreditation services for any conformity assessment body (CAB) that include testing and calibration laboratories, inspection bodies, proficiency testing providers, product certification bodies, and reference material producers.”
Services are available to any type of CAB, whether governmental or private. A2LA is the largest multi-discipline accreditation body in the United States.