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Standards Update 1st Quarter 2013

Created 5/3/2013 by David Cohan
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Standards Update – 1st Quarter 2013

Federal Level

After a nearly dead 4th quarter in 2012, federal standards activity made up for lost time in the first quarter of 2013. We expect a similarly high level of activity in the second quarter.

Some highlights of DOE actions, with details in the active rulemaking section following this list:

  1. Issued a Request for Information (RFI) for commercial air conditioning and heat pump system standards. This is the first phase of what will become a standards rulemaking later in the year.
  2. Issued a Framework document for residential ceiling fan standards. This stage of the rulemaking will establish scope, product classes and metrics.
  3. Issued a Proposed Rule (NOPR) and Supplemental Proposed Rule (SNOPR) for the residential clothes dryer test procedure.
  4. Issued a Framework document for Fans, Blowers and Fume Hoods standards.
  5. Issued a NOPR for furnace and boiler active mode test procedures.
  6. Issued a Preliminary Analysis for general service fluorescent lamp (GSFL) and incandescent reflector lamp (IRL) standards.
  7. Issued a Preliminary Analysis for high intensity discharge (HID) lamp standards.
  8. Issued a Final Rule for microwave oven standby and off-mode test procedures and a NOPR for active mode test procedures.
  9. Issued a Framework document for packaged terminal air conditioner and heat pump standards.
  10. Issued a Framework document for commercial and industrial pump standards.
  11. Issued a NOPR for set-top box test procedures.
  12. Issued a Supplemental NOPR for television test procedures.
  13. Issued a NOPR for a waiver process for large electric resistance water heater standards.
  14. Issued an RFI for a uniform efficiency descriptor for residential and commercial water heater efficiency.

Because of some of the activity listed above, the list of active rulemakings has grown quite a bit. Here are some details about the status and importance of the individual rulemakings:

  • Automatic Commercial Icemaker Standards (still behind schedule, waiting on a Proposed Rule, which is reportedly hung up at OMB – the Office of Management & Budget)
  • Commercial A/C & HP system standards (This process has begun with a request for information. The recently published ASHRAE standards will be examined as a starting point for some equipment classes. More stringent standards may be cost-effective for some classes.)
  • Residential Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Systems Test Procedure (still behind schedule, still waiting on a Final Rule)
  • Battery Charger Efficiency Standards (ongoing, and now substantially behind schedule.)
  • Ceiling Fans & Ceiling Fan Light Kits (This is the first rulemaking for standards that regulate the energy use of the fans. Earlier legislated standards covered only the light kits. The new rules will cover both parts of these products. Early data in the Framework document published on March 15th suggest significant potential savings from efficient motors and controls, and a wide range of efficiency in products now on the market.)
  • Residential Clothes Dryer Test Procedures (DOE published both a NOPR and an SNOPR this quarter, following a virtually unanimous call for a re-opening of this rulemaking to upgrade the test procedure to account for energy used by clothes dryers with auto-termination after the load reaches a remaining moisture level of 5 percent. There is a significant savings potential if the test procedure can be designed to expose it. NEEA’s clothes dryer field data is playing a significant role in this one.)
  • Distribution Transformer Efficiency Standards for low-voltage dry-type, and medium voltage dry-type and liquid-immersed (ongoing; the stakeholder negotiations did not produce a consensus recommendation except for low-voltage products. DOE did not meet its court-ordered requirement to publish its own decisions on new Standards by October 1st, 2012 but the Final Rule is due out early in the second quarter)
  • Large Electric Motor Efficiency Standards, 1-200 hp (ongoing, with the joint stakeholders having formally petitioned DOE to publish their proposal as the core of a Direct Final Rule by the end of the year. No word yet on a NOPR, which is now substantially overdue. The savings from this one could be very large.)
  • Fan, Blower and Fume Hood Standards (These products have never been regulated before, so the Framework document published on February 1st is important. It will establish the product classes that will be regulated and the metrics to be used for ratings, among other things. This is the next step following the stakeholder negotiations detailed in last quarter’s report.)
  • Furnace and Boiler Active Mode Test Procedures (this proceeding has started with a NOPR published on February 4th. We’re not following this one too closely, as it primarily has to do with measuring natural gas and oil use efficiency.)
  • Residential Furnace Fan Test Procedure and Efficiency Standards (ongoing, with the Preliminary Analysis for Standards and the Final Rule for the Test Procedure due early in the second quarter)
  • General Service Fluorescent Lamps (GSFLs) and Incandescent Reflector Lamps (IRLs) (ongoing, with a Preliminary Analysis for Standards published on February 28th. There are some problems with the early analysis, but we believe that most of the savings from this rulemaking will come from the IRLs, as the standards that became effective in July 2012 delivered substantial savings from GSFLs.)
  • High Intensity Discharge Lamp Test Procedure and Efficiency Standards (significantly overdue for both the Test Procedure Final Rule but the Preliminary Analysis for Standards was published on February 28th. There are some minor issues with the analysis, but this one may be back on track soon.)
  • Efficiency Standards for Certain Incandescent Reflector Lamps (ER, BR & small diameter) (significantly overdue on a Proposed Rule for the Standards for these products, which provided a loophole in earlier standards for certain R-lamps and PAR lamps. This one may have gotten caught up in Congress’ “light bulb rider,” which prohibits DOE from enforcing any provisions of the incandescent lighting standards, including those for R- and PAR lamps.)
  • Metal Halide Fixture Efficiency Standards (still significantly overdue on a Proposed Rule)
  • · Microwave Oven Test Procedures (DOE published a Final Rule on January 18th for the standby and off-mode test procedure, and Proposed Rule on February 4th for the active mode test procedure.)
  • Packaged Terminal Air Conditioning & Heat Pump Standards (DOE opened this one with a Framework document published on February 22nd. There may be some good savings potential in this one.)
  • Commercial and Industrial Pump Standards (Following stakeholder negotiations, DOE opened a rulemaking for these products with a Framework document published on February 1st. The classes of products being regulated may be limited, but there still may be significant savings potential.)
  • Commercial Refrigeration Equipment Efficiency Standards (still significantly overdue on a Proposed Rule; was to have been completed by the end of the year, but wasn’t. This is one of the important rulemakings tied up at OMB.)
  • Commercial Clothes Washer Efficiency Standards (This one is scheduled for a Preliminary Analysis publication in July of this year that will give us a sense of the savings potential.)
  • Set-top Box Test Procedures (At long last, DOE opened this one with a Proposed Rule published on January 23rd. This followed stakeholder negotiations in the middle of last year that failed to produce an agreement on a recommendation to DOE. The next step may be the beginning of a standards rulemaking and publication of a framework document that would establish product classes to be regulated and efficiency metrics. There is an industry-led test procedure process going on in parallel and the two processes are well coordinated.)
  • Television Test Procedures and Efficiency Standards (still significantly overdue on a Test Procedure Final Rule and Framework document for Efficiency Standards. However, DOE published a Supplemental NOPR on March 12th that showed us a substantially improved proposal, with only one or two remaining issues. We hope to see a Final Rule by the end of the third quarter, in time for manufacturers to test their 2014 models using the new procedure.)
  • Walk-in Cooler & Freezer Efficiency Standards (still significantly overdue on a Proposed Rule. This one was confirmed as being sequestered at OMB with a number of other proposals and rules. There is significant savings potential in this one.)
  • Standby & Off-Mode Test Procedures for Residential Water Heaters ( still significantly overdue on a Final Rule. The development of the elements of a new on-mode Test Procedure is still ongoing at ASHRAE and AHAM, with a vote expected in June from the ASHRAE SP 118.2 Committee on new test procedure draw patterns. AHAM has already delivered their proposal to DOE. The next step is for DOE to consider these proposals, and then examine the other test procedure specifications, such as setpoint, ambient temperature and inlet water temperature, and then publish a Final Rule.)
  • Residential & Commercial Water Heater Uniform Efficiency Metrics (At the end of 2012, Congress mandated that DOE conduct a rulemaking to align the efficiency metrics for residential water heaters – EF – and commercial water heaters – thermal efficiency plus standby loss. This process started with the publication of an RFI on January 11th. DOE could adopt either of these two metrics or some combination of them, or a new metric.)
  • Residential Water Heater Standards Waiver Process (In 2012, a group of utility stakeholders petitioned DOE for a waiver process to exempt certain large electric resistance storage water heaters from the new standards that are to take effect on January 1st, 2015, claiming that the waiver is needed for their demand management and energy thermal storage programs. DOE published a proposed a Proposed Rule for such a process on February 26th. NEEA is coordinating its comments with the NPCC and BPA. Because the NOPR was not acceptable to any of the stakeholders at the public meeting on March 15th, we’re expecting a Supplemental NOPR within a few months and another round of comments.)

State Level

At the state level, efficiency standards bills that NEEA crafted with efficiency advocates and state executive and legislative branch staff in Oregon and Washington were introduced in both Washington and Oregon. Standards in the Washington bill include battery chargers (some of these products will not be covered by proposed federal standards), plumbing fixtures, and certain high-wattage halogen lamps. In Oregon, the bill also has television standards.

At this writing, the bill was killed at the Senate Committee level in Washington (apparently for reasons unrelated to the content of the bill itself). The Oregon bill is still moving and doing well, having passed the Senate 19-9. If television standards are enacted in Oregon, at least one state in the Pacific Northwest will join California and British Columbia in setting an efficiency floor for these important consumer electronic products. In the longer run, this will finally capture the remaining savings associated with NEEA’s significant investments in regional television efficiency, completing the first round of market transformation for these important consumer products. Savings estimates will likely change after the new television test procedure is published and we get a better estimate of what these products use in the field. NEEA’s RBSA data will be used to validate these new test results for the region.


As you can gather from the length of this report, there is an enormous amount of standards activity going on right now. If you would like more detail on any of these rulemakings, don’t hesitate to contact us (for residential and consumer products, contact Charlie Stephens at 503 688-5457 or cstephens@neea.org, and for commercial and industrial products, contact Louis Starr at 503 688-5438 or lstarr@neea.org).

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