August at-a-glance … energy

Comments on second DOE Process Rule NOPR extended to Sept. 23

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has extended until Sept. 23 the deadline for comments to its second Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) to potentially further amend the 2020 Process Rule. DOE also expanded the NOPR to include a flow chart of its proposed process.

DOE has identified several aspects of the February and August 2020 Final Rules that present obstacles to meeting its obligations under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA). The proposed rulemaking would “further revise the process for coverage determination rulemakings; provide additional flexibility for DOE during the pre-NOPR stages of energy conservation standard and test procedure rulemakings, while preserving opportunities for stakeholders to provide early input in the rulemaking process; provide clarification of EPCA’s rulemaking process for ASHRAE equipment; and revise the sections on DOE’s analytical methods to reflect current rulemaking practices.” The NOPR includes a convenient table in Section I that lists proposed revisions by section.

As a reminder, DOE is revisiting the final 2020 Process Rule as part of the Jan. 20 Executive Order that instructs agencies to review recent regulations that may be inconsistent with “policies related to the protection of public health and the environment, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions and bolstering the nation’s resilience to climate change.”

NAFEM continues to advocate on behalf of members for giving the new Process Rule a fair chance to be implemented and applied to future rulemakings before contemplating further adjustments. In May, it submitted comments advancing this perspective to DOE’s first Process Rule amendment NOPR.

DOE seeks to shorten required interim waiver response time to 30 days

DOE issued a pre-publication Federal Register notice proposing to streamline its test procedure interim waiver process. Under the proposal, the Department would be required to notify an applicant for an interim waiver of the disposition of the request, in writing, within 30 business days of receipt of the application. Should DOE fail to satisfy this requirement, the request for interim waiver would be granted. An interim waiver would remain in effect until a waiver decision is published or until DOE publishes a new or amended test procedure that addresses the issues presented in the application, whichever is earlier. The current test procedure interim waiver, which took effect Jan. 11, requires the agency to notify applicants for interim waivers within 45 business days. Comments on the proposal are due 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

DOE review of WIC/WIF, CRE test procedures continues; new RFIs issued to consider energy conservation standards

The comment periods have closed for DOE’s requests for information (RFIs) to determine whether it should amend test procedures for commercial refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers and freezers (CRE) and walk-in coolers and freezers (WIC/WIF). The industry will have additional opportunities to comment once DOE issues its recommendations.

The agency also issued RFIs to evaluate potentially amending energy conservation standards for WIC/WIF and CRE. In its comments related to potential WIC/WIF changes, NAFEM stated, “There simply has not been sufficient time to develop, test and make available the types of new technologies that would significantly impact the most recent energy-efficiency standards … NAFEM requests that DOE find that no new standards are justified at this time and that initiating new WIC/WIF energy-efficiency standards will be appropriate when new technologies are proven and readily available to the industry.” Comments regarding CRE changes are due Aug. 30.

Appliance energy-savings potential identified in new study

Frontier Energy recently published its Electric Plug Load Savings of Commercial Foodservice Equipment study of the energy load and energy-reduction potential of commercial, unhooded, electric plug load foodservice equipment. Researchers estimated savings potential for nine of the 22 appliance categories assessed. The appliances with the strongest energy-saving opportunities include espresso machines, coffee brewers, conveyor toasters and holding cabinets. The team also identified several high-energy consuming categories with no energy-efficient alternatives available on the market, such as heat strips and heated wells.

DOE invests $60 million to increase manufacturing energy efficiency

Universities across the U.S. received $60 million in DOE funding to help small- and medium-sized manufacturers reduce carbon emissions, lower energy costs, and train the next generation of workers skilled in energy efficiency technologies and practices. The grants went to Arizona State University, Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, Louisiana State University, Michigan State University, Mississippi State University, University of Connecticut, University of Louisville, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, University of Washington and West Virginia University. “The selected universities will work with local manufacturers to reduce pollution, save energy and cut their electric bills,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.

DOE plans to create Clean Energy Manufacturing Institute

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) issued a request for information (RFI) to inform the creation of a new Clean Energy Manufacturing Institute focused on industrial decarbonization. EERE is looking for opportunities to decarbonize energy-intensive sectors across the economy through public-private collaboration. The new institute will focus on electrification of industrial processes and decarbonizing the metal manufacturing industry.

ENERGY STAR® updates

  • The Commercial Foodservice (CFS) Webinar Series returns in September with a spotlight on Hawaii Energy’s energy relief grants. Register for the Sept. 14, 1 – 2 pm ET webinar.
  • A new CFS blog addresses How to Reduce Refrigeration Energy Costs in Commercial Kitchens.
  • EPA released the ENERGY STAR Version 5.0 Commercial Refrigerators and Freezers Draft 1 Specification. With 46 percent of the product market ENERGY STAR certified, the program is looking for opportunities to recognize top performing products by revising the energy-efficiency levels of vertical closed solid self-contained medium temperature and vertical closed solid self-contained low temperature categories. ENERGY STAR also proposes to expand the program’s scope to include chef base self-contained medium temperature, chef bases and service over the counter, self-contained medium temperature units. ENERGY STAR will hold a stakeholder webinar to discuss the proposal September 1 from 4-5:30 ET. Those who wish to attend should register by Aug. 31. Comments are due Sept. 22.
  • ENERGY STAR is interested in establishing product performance specifications for the following categories: Demand control kitchen ventilation, pressure fryers, tilt skillets, rotisserie ovens and hand dryers. Stakeholders may support these scoping efforts by providing efficiency and performance data based on industry-supported test methods, nationwide availability and market potential growth rates of the equipment, usage patterns and product lifetimes. All data is confidential and masked. For more information, contact the program at