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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 dishwashers, conventional cooking products, uninterruptible power supplies, and industrial fans and blowers.

The DOE has determined not to amend its energy conservation standards for residential dishwashers after concluding that the benefits of energy savings, positive net present value of consumer benefits, and emission reductions of more stringent standards are outweighed by the economic burden they would impose on more than half of dishwasher consumers. The DOE had proposed to tighten the standards for standard and compact residential dishwashers manufactured in or imported into the United States, noting that products achieving the proposed standard levels are already commercially available. The DOE is, however, eliminating an obsolete dishwasher test procedures that is no longer used to demonstrate compliance with existing energy conservation standards.

Cooking Products
The DOE has amended the energy test procedure for conventional electric cooking tops to incorporate by reference the relevant sections from European standard EN 60350–2:2013 “Household electric cooking appliances Part 2: Hobs-Methods for measuring performance.” The rule also includes methods for testing non-circular electric surface units, electric surface units with flexible concentric cooking zones, and full-surface induction cooking tops based on EN 60350–2:2013. In addition, the DOE has extended the test methods in EN 60350–2:2013 to measure the energy consumption of gas cooking tops by correlating test equipment diameter to burner input rate, including input rates that exceed 14,000 British thermal units per hour.

The final rule also includes methods to calculate annual energy consumption and integrated annual energy consumption for conventional cooking tops based on the water heating test method and provides updates to the sampling plan requirements. Additionally, it includes minor technical clarifications to the gas heating value correction and other grammatical changes to the regulatory text in the cooking products test procedure that do not alter the substance of the existing test methods. Finally, the rule repeals the regulatory provisions establishing the test procedure for conventional ovens under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.

These changes will be mandatory for representations of energy or power consumption of cooking products on or after 14 June 2017.

Power Supplies
The DOE has revised the battery charger test procedure established under the EPCA by adding a discrete test procedure for uninterruptible power supplies. The final rule changes
will be mandatory for representations starting on 12 June 2017.

Industrial Fans and Blowers
The DOE has extended from 1 December 2016 to 6 January 2017 the deadline for comments on a notice of data availability pertaining to the provisional analysis of energy conservation standards 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.

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