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Update on Recent Department of Energy Rulemaking Activities

The Department of Energy recently announced the following regulatory actions of potential interest to Hong Kong and mainland Chinese exporters of miscellaneous refrigeration products, LED lamps, fans and blowers, commercial packaged boilers, water heating equipment and manufactured housing.

Miscellaneous Refrigeration Products
The DOE has issued a direct final rule setting forth new mandatory energy conservation standards for miscellaneous refrigeration products, including four product classes of coolers and nine product classes of combination cooler refrigeration products. The agency has determined that the new standards for these products would result in significant conservation of energy and are technologically feasible and economically justified. The DOE notes that the new standards correspond to the recommendations submitted jointly by interested persons that are fairly representative of relevant points of view. The final rule will be effective on 27 February 2017 unless the DOE receives adverse comment and determines that such input may provide a reasonable basis for withdrawal. Should that be the case, the DOE will proceed with a parallel proposal to establish mandatory energy conservation standards on subject merchandise, with input on that rulemaking due by 15 February 2017.

LED Lamps
The DOE published on 1 July a final rule adopting an energy test procedure for integrated light-emitting diode lamps to support the implementation of labelling provisions by the Federal Trade Commission as well as the on-going general service lamps rulemaking, which includes LED lamps. The DOE is now proposing to amend the LED lamps test procedure by allowing for time to failure measurements to be taken at elevated temperatures. Comments, data and information on this proposal may be submitted by 5 December.

Fans and Blowers
The DOE has completed a provisional analysis that estimates the potential economic impacts and energy savings that could result from promulgating a regulatory energy conservation standard for commercial and industrial fans and blowers. While the DOE is not proposing an energy conservation standard for these products at this time, it is nonetheless publishing this analysis so that stakeholders can review the results and the underlining assumptions and calculations that might ultimately support a proposed standard. The agency encourages stakeholders to provide any additional data or information by 1 December.

Commercial Packaged Boilers
The DOE recently issued new energy test procedures for commercial packaged boilers. The final rule incorporates by reference certain sections of the American National Standards Institute/Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute Standard 1500, ‘‘2015 Standard for Performance Rating of Commercial Space Heating Boilers.’’ In addition, the rule (i) incorporates amendments that clarify the coverage for field-constructed commercial packaged boilers and the applicability of the DOE’s test procedure and standards for this category of commercial packaged boilers, (ii) provides an optional field test for commercial packaged boilers with fuel input rate greater than 5,000,000 Btu/h, (iii) provides a conversion method to calculate thermal efficiency based on combustion efficiency testing for steam commercial packaged boilers with fuel input rate greater than 5,000,000 Btu/h, (iv) modifies the inlet water temperatures during tests of hot water commercial packaged boilers, (v) establishes limits on the ambient temperature during testing, (vi) modifies setup and instrumentation requirements to remove ambiguity, and (vii) standardises terminology and provisions for ‘‘rated input’’ and ‘‘fuel input rate.’’ The new requirements will be mandatory for representations related to energy efficiency or energy use starting on 6 November 2017.

Water Heating Equipment
The DOE has amended its energy test procedures for certain industrial and commercial water heaters, unfired hot water storage tanks and hot water supply boilers. The final rule incorporates by reference the most recent versions of relevant industry standards, modifies the existing test methods for certain classes of commercial water heating equipment, establishes new test efficiency of commercial heat pump water heaters and standby loss for instantaneous water heaters and hot water supply boilers, clarifies test set-up and settings for various classes of commercial water heating equipment, revises the certification requirements for this equipment and establishes associated definitions. The final rule changes will be mandatory for representations related to energy efficiency or energy use starting on 6 November 2017.

Manufactured Housing
The DOE is seeking input by 9 December on a proposal to establish energy test procedures for manufactured housing. This test procedure would support standards the agency is directed to establish by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The DOE is proposing to establish test procedures applicable to manufactured homes for determining compliance with the following metrics that were included in a 17 June 2016 notice of proposed rulemaking: the R-value of insulation; the U-factor of windows, skylights and doors; the solar heat gain coefficient of fenestration; U-factor alternatives to R-value requirements; the air leakage rate of air distribution systems; and mechanical ventilation fan efficacy.

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