The Department of Energy’s Big Energy Efficiency Plans for Consumer and Commercial Products in 2017
Kelley Drye Client Advisory
December 20, 2016

The Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (“DOE”) has big plans for its Appliance and Equipment Standards program in 2017.  Its entries in the recently issued Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions indicate a number of energy efficiency advanced notices of proposed rulemakings, proposed rules, and final rules to be issued in 2017.  Additionally, because final energy efficiency standards outlined in rules often have an effective date that follows their issuance by a few years in order to give manufacturers lead time to develop compliant products, new standards will also come into effect for some products in 2017.  Below is a list of the expected regulatory activity in 2017 covering the energy efficiency of consumer and commercial products.

Entries in the Unified Agenda are certainly no guarantee of government action—oftentimes an agency may publish an action months after the date anticipated in the Unified Agenda, possibly even years later, or the agency can even abandon the rulemaking.  Additionally, the inauguration of President Trump and leadership of the Department of Energy by Rick Perry are likely to change the priorities and rulemaking agenda of the agency. Finally, DOE in determining whether to update energy conservation standards for products and equipment can instead decide that no update is needed.  However, companies and manufacturers should be aware of potential changes on the horizon.

Kelley Drye’s attorneys have experience counseling manufacturers on their obligations under energy efficiency standards, helping companies to self-disclose violations and resolve DOE investigations, advising manufacturers on providing information to DOE during its reviews, and drafting comments for rulemakings on behalf of industry interests.  Should you have any questions about the rulemaking activity listed below, or need assistance in handling matters with the DOE, please contact:

William M. Guerry
202-342-8858
wguerry@kelleydrye.com

Catherine M. Wilmarth
202-342-8473
cwilmarth@kelleydrye.com

Requests for Information and Analyses

  • Electric motors: DOE was set to issue a request for information in November 2016 on amending existing energy conservation standards and test procedures for small electric motors, and is also considering whether to expand these standards to motors not currently regulated. The Unified Agenda has a proposed rule scheduled for issuance in May 2018.
  • Fluorescent lamp ballasts: DOE was set to issue its preliminary analysis in November 2016 on whether it should update the energy conservation standards for fluorescent lamp ballasts.

Proposed Rules

  • Pool heaters: DOE is set to amend energy conservation standards for direct heating equipment and pool heaters, and was scheduled to issue a proposed rule in November 2016.
  • Computers and battery backup systems: DOE is considering developing an energy conservation standard for computers and battery backup systems, and is scheduled to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking in December 2016.
  • Residential clothes dryers: DOE is set to determine whether it should amend the test procedure for residential clothes dryers and is set to issue a proposed rule in December 2016.
  • General service lamps: DOE must evaluate the current energy conservation standards for general service lamps and must also review the minimum backstop requirement of 45 lumens per watt. DOE is scheduled to issue a rulemaking in January 2017, which may come in the form of a simultaneous proposed and direct final rule.
  • Circulator pumps: DOE is poised to issue energy conservation standards for some pumps, including circulator pumps, and is set to issue a proposed rule in January 2017.
  • Illuminated exit signs: DOE will evaluate the test procedures for regulated illuminated exit signs and is scheduled to issue a proposed rule in March 2017.
  • Room air conditioners: DOE will determine whether it should amend the test procedure for room air conditioners and is set to issue a proposed rule in March 2017.
  • Fluorescent lamp ballasts: DOE is reviewing whether it should amend the test procedures for fluorescent lamp ballasts, and is scheduled to issue a proposed rule in March 2017.
  • Televisions: DOE is assessing whether it should amend the test procedure for television sets, and is set to issue a proposed rule in March 2017.
  • Refrigeration products: On October 28, 2016, DOE published a proposed rule and a direct final rule setting conservation standards for miscellaneous refrigeration products, a category that includes coolers like wine chillers and combination cooler refrigeration products.  Comments are due on February 15, 2017, and unless adverse comment is received the direct final rule will take effect, with a compliance date of October 28, 2019.
  • For all consumer products and commercial and industrial equipment, DOE intends to propose changes to its energy efficiency regulations, including revising its reporting requirements so that they align with those of the Federal Trade Commission. DOE was scheduled to issue a proposed rule in November 2016.

Final Rules

  • Manufactured housing: DOE was scheduled to release energy conservation standards for manufactured housing in November 2016.
  • Electric motors: DOE is revising its certification, compliance and enforcement regulations for electric motors to conform them to the regulations applicable in the rest of the energy efficiency program.  DOE was scheduled to issue a final rule in November 2016.
  • Ceiling fans: DOE evaluated whether it is technically feasible and economically justifiable to update the energy conservation standards for ceiling fans. DOE was scheduled to issue a final action in November 2016.
  • Commercial and industrial air compressors: DOE is set to prescribe new definitions, sampling provisions, and test procedures for commercial and industrial air compressors, and was scheduled to issue a final action in November 2016.
  • Residential water heaters: DOE plans to clarify that the energy efficiency standards for residential water heaters apply to heaters that are utilized as a secondary back-up heat source in solar-thermal water heating systems. DOE was scheduled to issue a final action in November 2016.
  • Consumer and commercial water heaters: DOE is set to establish a mathematical conservation factor to translate current energy conservation standards to those determined under the recent uniform energy factor test procedure. DOE is scheduled to issue a final rule in December 2016.
  • Commercial packaged boilers: DOE evaluated whether it is technically feasible and economically justifiable to update the energy conservation standards for commercial packaged boilers. DOE is scheduled to issue a final action in December 2016.
  • Portable air conditions: DOE is poised to issue energy conservation standards for portable air conditioners, and is scheduled to issue a final rule in December 2016.
  • Commercial water heating equipment: DOE evaluated whether to propose amended energy conservation standards for commercial water heaters, hot water supply boilers, and unfired hot water storage tanks. DOE is scheduled to release a final action in December 2016.
  • Dedicated-purpose pool pumps: DOE plans to set energy conservation standards for dedicated-purpose pool pumps, and is scheduled to release a direct final rule in December 2016.
  • Central air conditioners and heat pumps: DOE is considering amending its test procedure for central air conditioners and heat pumps, and is set to issue a final action in December 2016.
  • Walk-in cooler and freezer refrigeration systems: DOE is considering amending its test procedure for walk-in cooler and freezer refrigeration systems, and is set to issue a final action in December 2016.
  • Ovens: DOE evaluated whether it is technically feasible and economically justifiable to update the energy conservation standards for “residential conventional cooking products,” namely ovens. DOE is scheduled to issue a final action in December 2016 but also mentions issuing it by March 2017.

Effective Rules

  • Packaged terminal air conditioners: Standard-sized packaged terminal air conditioners will have to comply with amended energy conservation standards starting January 1, 2017.
  • Commercial air-cooled air conditioners and heat pumps: Single package small three-phase commercial air-cooled conditioners and single package and split-system heat pumps will have to comply with amended energy conservation standards starting January 1, 2017.
  • Miscellaneous refrigeration products: DOE revised the test procedure provisions for miscellaneous refrigeration products, and the changes will be mandatory for representations of energy use starting January 17, 2017.
  • Ceiling fans: DOE has amended the test procedures for ceiling fans, and the changes will be mandatory for representations made with respect to the energy use or efficiency of ceiling fans starting January 23, 2017.
  • Metal halide lamp fixtures: Metal halide lamp fixtures must comply with new and amended energy conservation standards by February 10, 2017.
  • Compact fluorescent lamps: DOE has amended and adopted new test procedures for compact fluorescent lamps, and representations must be based on testing in accordance with these changes starting February 27, 2017.
  • Commercial refrigeration equipment: Commercial refrigeration equipment must comply with amended energy conservation standards beginning March 27, 2017.
  • General service lamps: DOE has revised its test procedures for certain categories of general service lamps, and the changes will be mandatory for product testing starting April 19, 2017.
  • Walk-in coolers and freezers: Walk-in coolers and freezers will have to comply with new performance-based energy conservation standards starting June 5, 2017.
  • Uninterruptible power supplies: DOE revised its battery charger test procedure, and the final rule changes will be mandatory for representations starting June 12, 2017.
  • Commercial water heating equipment: DOE amended its test procedures for commercial water heaters, unfired hot water storage tanks, and hot water supply boilers, and the changes will be mandatory for representations related to energy efficiency or energy use starting November 6, 2017.
  • Commercial packaged boilers: DOE has amended the test procedures for commercial packaged boilers, and the changes will be mandatory for representations related to energy efficiency or energy use starting December 4, 2017.