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Update on Recent Department of Energy Rulemaking Activities

The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced the following regulatory actions of potential interest to Hong Kong and mainland Chinese exporters of miscellaneous refrigeration products, general service lamps and central air conditioners.

Refrigeration Products
The DOE has issued a final rule that classifies a variety of refrigeration products that include one or more compartments that maintain higher temperatures than typical refrigerator compartments, such as wine chillers and beverage coolers, as covered products under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. In addition, the DOE has amended or established certain definitions related to these products and adopted energy test procedures for certain classes of miscellaneous refrigeration products. The procedures are based on a December 2014 proposal along with additional feedback provided as part of a negotiated rulemaking effort. The test procedures follow the same general methodology as those currently in place for refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers and freezers.

While the final rule is effective 17 August, the energy test procedure changes will be mandatory for representations of energy use starting 16 January 2017.

General Service Lamps
The DOE is proposing to establish energy test procedures for certain categories of general service lamps to support the on-going energy conservation standards rulemaking for these products. Specifically, the agency would set new test procedures for determining the initial lumen output, input power, lamp efficacy, power factor and standby mode power of GSLs that are not integrated light-emitting diode lamps, compact fluorescent lamps or general service incandescent lamps. The current proposal revises certain test procedures previously proposed by the DOE by referencing Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) LM–79–08 for the testing of non-integrated LED lamps. The DOE is also proposing to clarify references to the existing lamp test methods and sampling plans for determining the represented values of integrated LED lamps, CFLs and GSILs. Input on this proposal may be submitted by 19 August.

Central Air Conditioners
The DOE has issued a final rule that adopts provisions pertaining to the enforcement of regional standards for central air conditioners, which were largely based on recommendations from a negotiated rulemaking term sheet. On 19 November 2015, the DOE issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to adopt requirements related to the enforcement of regional standards for central air conditioners, as authorised by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975. That proposed rulemaking serves as the basis for the final rule, which will aid the DOE in enforcing its energy conservation standards for central air conditioners that are regionally based.

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