December at-a-glance…energy

DOE issues Final Rule updating test waiver procedure processes

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published a final rule adopting a streamlined approach to the test procedure waiver process. The final rule requires DOE to process interim waiver requests within 45 business days. An interim waiver will remain in effect until a final waiver decision is published in the Federal Register or until DOE publishes a new or amended test procedure that addresses the issues presented in the application, whichever is earlier. DOE’s regulations continue to specify that it take either of these actions within one year of issuance of an interim waiver. The new Final Rule is effective Jan. 11, 2021.

“The updated rule represents real relief for manufacturers because it provides a path for qualified, innovative products to enter the market faster and more efficiently,” said Charlie Souhrada, CFSP, NAFEM’s vice president, regulatory & technical affairs. “We appreciate the DOE considering our members’ concerns and especially thank our members for working with NAFEM to help bring about these positive changes.”

NAFEM to provide comments to DOE on NOPR revising enforcement regulations

Before the Dec. 30 deadline, NAFEM intends to submit comments to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) to revise existing enforcement regulations for certain commercial and industrial equipment. DOE anticipates the proposed changes would provide further clarity and transparency about the agency’s enforcement process, including its sampling procedures and test-notice requirements. The NOPR outlines a process to petition DOE for reexamination of a pending determination of noncompliance and recommends the agency be permitted to consider third-party certification testing as official enforcement test data.

DOE evaluates amending ACIM energy-conservation standards

NAFEM submitted comments on a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Request for Information to help determine whether the agency should propose a “no-new-standard” determination for automatic commercial ice makers. The comments support and endorse AHRI’s findings and response to the DOE. Additionally, NAFEM reiterated earlier feedback encouraging DOE to collaborate with other agencies like the California Air Resources Board (CARB) that also are regulating refrigerants and energy-efficiency standards, so this work does not happen in silos.

DOE considers whether to amend refrigeration standards

Similar to its approach to potential new automatic commercial ice maker standards, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a Federal Register notice seeking input on whether the agency should propose a “no-new-standard” determination for refrigeration products. Under the Process Rule, DOE could issue a “no-new-standard” determination because a more-stringent standard would not result in a significant savings of energy, is not technologically feasible, is not economically justified, or any combination thereof. Comments are due Feb. 22, 2021.

New DOE portal makes it easier to find co-funding for innovation projects

Companies interested in securing co-funding for energy-efficiency projects have another resource. A new portal from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) makes it easier to identify and apply for co-funding opportunities. Watch the YouTube video to learn more about the EERE Program Information Center.

ENERGY STAR® updates

  • Register now for ENERGY STAR’s next commercial foodservice webinar Tues., Jan. 12, 1 – 2 p.m. EST. The session will provide case histories showcasing how Boulder County’s Small Business Equity Program uses
  • “How to cut utility costs in your commercial kitchen” is the topic of ENERGY STAR’s recent Ask the Experts blog. This and other blogs address tips for purchasing, promoting and selling ENERGY STAR products.