Manufacturer concerns expressed at NAFEM regulatory reform roundtable in D.C.

Commercial foodservice equipment and supplies manufacturers took another step to engage in the Trump Administration’s regulatory reform process when NAFEM hosted a roundtable to share members’ perspectives with government officials Tuesday, Oct. 31, in Washington, D.C.

The discussion supplemented NAFEM comments filed earlier this year about reducing burdensome regulations. These comments were provided in response to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) compliance to Executive Order (EO) 13771, “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs” and the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) compliance to EO 13777, “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda.”

Nearly 30 NAFEM members met with two lead attorneys from the DOE office of general counsel, and five staffers from the Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy to discuss the government’s regulatory reform process and review regulatory reform requests outlined by NAFEM members. These requests included:

  • Expand use of DOE’s Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee (ASRAC) organization to increase collaboration with all stakeholders;
  • Set standards for product categories and subcategories using demonstrated technologies that justify the standard;
  • Evaluate the current regulatory exemption or waiver request process to avoid project launch bottlenecks;
  • Calculate energy savings and financial impacts that have occurred before initiating any new standards development processes;
  • Reform the Compliance Certification Management System (CCMS); and
  • Address duplication between energy efficiency regulations and ENERGY STAR.

“The government representatives attending were shocked to learn more about NAFEM members’ real-world concerns, examples and recommendations about regulatory processes that would allow the agencies to address reform agenda requirements,” said Bill Sickles, P.E., product safety & compliance engineering, InterMetro, Wilkes Barre, Penn., who helped lead the discussion on behalf of NAFEM’s Technical Liaison Committee (TLC).

Sickles cited extensive discussion about the DOE exception and waiver request processes, which are common barriers to foodservice equipment compliance because devices don’t fall into neat, consumer appliance-like categories. “This is an area where reform can bring real relief to the industry and allow qualified, innovative products to enter the market faster, more efficiently.”

Members also encouraged support for the ENERGY STAR program at a time when the voluntary program, overseen jointly by the DOE and EPA through a third-party administrator, is under intense, budgetary pressure. There was strong support for ENERGY STAR approval of a pilot program that incorporates third-party energy audits, conducted in conjunction with third-party safety audits, to lower compliance costs of the voluntary program by avoiding third-party lab verification expenses. Additional points of the collaborative discussion included:

California Air Resource Board (CARB) HFC Refrigerants 
Members touched on CARB’s HFC Reduction Measures Rulemaking, including implementation timing and continued serviceability of existing equipment. DOE referenced the proposed regulatory language and process for providing comments:

DOE – Test Waiver Process
The DOE representatives referenced the April 2017 Enforcement Policy on the Application of Waivers and the Waiver Process:

SBA Regulatory Reform
SBA representative summarized the results of their nation-wide, regulatory reform roundtable discussions and the follow up sent to various agencies regarding regulatory reform. This information is available at:

“We had a good plan and a good meeting,” said Jeff Longsworth, NAFEM legal counsel. “After admitting that they expected us to more or less ‘nit-pick’ existing standards, we were very encouraged that DOE counsel left the meeting appreciating our frank and honest discussion on more fundamental issues and intend to share our suggestions with senior management of the agency.” He acknowledges the discussion is one small step in an ongoing process. “It’s one thing to get government officials to attend a meeting and another thing entirely to have them walk out thinking about regulatory improvements. I think we achieved both goals.”

NAFEM members are invited to take part in this ongoing process by contacting Charlie Souhrada, CFSP, vice president, regulatory & technical affairs, +1.312.821.0212;