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Changes to Energy Test Procedures for Certain AC and Heating Equipment Under Consideration

In response to statutory requirements to review its test procedures as a result of any updates of the relevant industry test procedures, the U.S. Department of Energy has launched a data collection process to consider amendments to its test procedures for commercial package air conditioning and heating equipment. The test procedure updates under consideration are those included in ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2016, specifically those involving evaporatively-cooled commercial unitary air conditioners, water-cooled commercial unitary air conditioners, and air-cooled commercial unitary air conditioners with a rated cooling capacity greater than or equal to 65,000 Btu/h and less than 760,000 Btu/h, as well as all classes of computer room air conditioners. The DOE is also considering the adoption of a new energy test procedure for dedicated outdoor air systems, which ASHRAE Standard 90.1 covered for the first time.

In response to other statutory requirements for the DOE to review its test procedures at least once every seven years, the agency is also reviewing the relevant test procedures for evaporatively-cooled commercial unitary air conditioners and water-cooled commercial unitary air conditioners with a rated cooling capacity less than 65,000 Btu/h, as well as all classes of variable refrigerant flow multi-split air conditioners and heat pumps but excluding single-phase systems with a rated cooling capacity less than 65,000 Btu/h, which are covered as consumer products.

To inform interested parties and to facilitate this process, the DOE has gathered data and identified several issues that might warrant modifications to the currently applicable federal test procedures. In overview, the issues outlined in the DOE’s request for information mainly concern (i) incorporation by reference of the most recent version of the relevant industry standard(s); (ii) efficiency metrics and calculations; (iii) clarification of test methods; (iv) and any additional topics that may inform the agency’s decisions in a future test procedure rulemaking, including methods to reduce the regulatory burden while ensuring the accuracy of the procedures. These topics (as well as others identified by commenters) may be addressed in proposed test procedure amendments included in a future notice of proposed rulemaking. The DOE welcomes written comments and data from the public by 24 August on any subject related to the test procedures for this equipment, including topics not specifically raised in the request for information.

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