November ’23 at-a-glance … energy

NAFEM comments on proposed DOE CRE energy efficiency standards at public meeting

In a Nov. 7 public meeting hosted by the agency, NAFEM strongly recommended that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) not issue new energy efficiency standards for commercial refrigeration equipment (CRE) and instead require compliance with the current standards issued just six years ago. NAFEM commented that the proposed standards cannot be practically achieved and that DOE drastically underestimated the costs and overestimated the energy-efficiency benefits of the proposed rule. NAFEM will share similar concerns on behalf of the industry in written comments due Dec. 11. NAFEM, the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) and the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) previously met with DOE and the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in August to discuss the proposed standards and urged a no new standard ruling.

NAFEM submits comments on WIC/F energy efficiency standards

NAFEM submitted comments regarding DOE’s proposed energy efficiency standards for walk-in coolers and freezers. NAFEM objected to the compressed timeline, since the most recent compliance deadlines for unit coolers and low-temperature dedicated-condensing systems were issued just three years ago, in 2020. NAFEM also pointed out that some of DOE’s suggested technologies are not “new” as they are already in use and therefore cannot contribute to further energy efficiencies. Another point raised regarding product lifecycles that are estimated by DOE to last 20 years for insulated panels and doors, for this reason it is not economically feasible for manufacturers to redesign these products every three or four years. Finally, NAFEM raised safety concerns with DOE’s earlier reduction of the door perimeter heating wattage as it has caused doors to freeze shut. Overall, NAFEM requested that DOE find no new standard justifiable at this time as no new technologies are proven and readily available.

House Committee on Small Business holds hearing on DOE efficiency rules

The U.S. House Committee on Small Business is taking aim at DOE’s proposed energy efficiency standards for commercial refrigeration equipment. At a Nov. 8 hearing, Burdensome Regulations: Examining the Effects of DOE Regulations on America’s Job Creators, Committee members heard from several witnesses, including Jeff Bauman, manager of regulatory affairs at NAFEM-member Continental Refrigerator, Bensalem, Penn.

In his comments, Bauman said,” Analysis of DOE’s proposed standard levels shows extremely excessive reductions that are up to 60% lower than currently allowed. We are unable to identify any potential paths to these types of extraordinary cuts. Technology options that DOE indicates would reduce energy consumption in the near future are already in use. Other proposed technologies have so far proven to be impractical.”

According to Committee Chair Roger William (R-Texas), “The president’s energy efficiency regulations are forcing Main Street to change their operations to foot the bill for the Green New Deal. This Committee will continue its fight against burdensome regulations and strive to make life easier and more affordable for our job creators.”

Committee members sent a letter to  Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm earlier in November requesting information on how the proposed standards could impact restaurants and other small businesses.

ENERGY STAR® expansion of successful component inspection program underway

For several years, NAFEM has worked with the ENERGY STAR® program to expand on its successful component inspection program that streamlines energy-efficiency verification testing by combining it with quarterly product-safety factory auditing. The program is already in place for steam cookers, dishwashers, as well as convection, combi and gas rack ovens. NAFEM and ENERGY STAR have worked with the ASTM International F26 Committee on Food Service Equipment to identify common components that impact energy consumption in steamers, griddles, fryers, refrigerator/freezers, hot food holding cabinets and ice machines in an effort to expand the initiative to these products. Next, NAFEM will schedule a meeting with ENERGY STAR and other interested stakeholders to further explore expansion of the program.