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TMCNet:  DOE Amends Test Procedures for Residential and Commercial Water Heaters

[July 12, 2014]

DOE Amends Test Procedures for Residential and Commercial Water Heaters

(Targeted News Service Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Targeted News Service WASHINGTON, July 11 -- The U.S. Department of Energy published the following rule in the Federal Register: Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products and Certain Commercial and Industrial Equipment: Test Procedures for Residential and Commercial Water Heaters A Rule by the Energy Department on 07/11/2014 Publication Date: Friday, July 11, 2014 Agency: Department of Energy Dates: The effective date of this rule is July 13, 2015. Compliance will be mandatory starting one year after the publication in the Federal Register of a mathematical conversion factor to convert from the existing efficiency ratings to efficiency ratings under the test procedure adopted by this final rule, or December 31, 2015, whichever is later.


Effective Date: 07/13/2015 Entry Type: Rule Action: Final rule.

Document Citation: 79 FR 40541 Page: 40541 -40588 (48 pages) CFR: 10 CFR 429 10 CFR 430 10 CFR 431 Agency/Docket Number: Docket No. EERE-2011-BT-TP-0042 RIN: 1904-AC53 Document Number: 2014-15656 Shorter URL: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-15656 Action Final Rule.

Summary On November 4, 2013, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) to amend its test procedures established under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act for residential water heaters and certain commercial water heaters, which serves as the basis for today's action. This rulemaking fulfills DOE's statutory obligation for residential and certain commercial water heaters to review its test procedure for covered products and equipment at least once every seven years. In addition, this rulemaking satisfies DOE's statutory obligation to develop a uniform efficiency descriptor for residential and commercial water heaters. The test method applies the same efficiency descriptor to all residential and certain commercial water heaters, and extends coverage to eliminate certain gaps in the current residential test procedure, updates the simulated-use-test draw pattern, and updates the outlet water temperature requirement.

DATES: The effective date of this rule is July 13, 2015. Compliance will be mandatory starting one year after the publication in the Federal Register of a mathematical conversion factor to convert from the existing efficiency ratings to efficiency ratings under the test procedure adopted by this final rule, or December 31, 2015, whichever is later.

The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in this rule is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of July 13, 2015. Other publications referenced were approved on March 23, 2009, and May 16, 2012.

ADDRESSES: The docket for this rulemaking is available for review at www.regulations.gov, including Federal Register notices, public meeting attendee lists and transcripts, comments, and other supporting documents/materials. All documents in the docket are listed in the www.regulations.gov index. However, not all documents listed in the index may be publicly available, such as information that is exempt from public disclosure.

A link to the docket on the www.regulations.gov Web page can be found at: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=EERE-2011-BT-TP-0042. The www.regulations.gov Web page contains simple instructions on how to access all documents, including public comments, in the docket.

For further information on how to review the docket, contact Ms. Brenda Edwards at (202) 586-2945 or by email: Brenda.Edwards@ee.doe.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Ashley Armstrong, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Building Technologies Office, EE-5B, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121. Telephone: (202) 586-6590. Email: Ashley.Armstrong@ee.doe.gov.

Mr. Eric Stas, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the General Counsel, GC-71, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121. Telephone: (202) 586-9507. Email: Eric.Stas@hq.doe.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This final rule incorporates by reference the following industry standards into subpart B of 10 CFR part 430: ASTM D2156-09, ("ASTM D2156"), Standard Test Method for Smoke Density in Flue Gases from Burning Distillate Fuels.

Copies of ASTM D2156-09 can be obtained from the American Society for Testing and Materials International, 100 Barr Harbor Drive, P.O. Box C700, West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2959, or go to http://www.astm.org.

I. Authority and Background Title III, Part B [1] of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 ("EPCA" or "the Act"), 94 (42 U.S.C. 6291-6309, as codified) sets forth a variety of provisions designed to improve energy efficiency and established the Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products Other Than Automobiles.2 These include residential water heaters, one subject of this rulemaking. (42 U.S.C. 6292(a)(4)) Title III, Part C [3] of EPCA, 94 (42 U.S.C. 6311-6317, as codified), added by 95, Title IV, Sec. 441(a), established the Energy Conservation Program for Certain Industrial Equipment, which includes the commercial water-heating equipment that is another subject of this rulemaking. (42 U.S.C. 6311(1)(K)) Under EPCA, energy conservation programs generally consist of four parts: (1) Testing; (2) labeling; (3) establishing Federal energy conservation standards; and (4) certification and enforcement procedures. The testing requirements consist of test procedures that manufacturers of covered products and equipment must use as the basis for certifying to DOE that their products and equipment comply with the applicable energy conservation standards adopted pursuant to EPCA and for making other representations about the efficiency of those products. (42 U.S.C. 6293(c); 42 U.S.C. 6295(s); 42 U.S.C. 6314) Similarly, DOE must use these test requirements to determine whether the products comply with any relevant standards promulgated under EPCA. (42 U.S.C. 6295(s)) Under 42 U.S.C. 6293, EPCA sets forth the criteria and procedures that DOE must follow when prescribing or amending test procedures for residential water heaters. EPCA provides, in relevant part, that any test procedures prescribed or amended under this section must be reasonably designed to produce test results which measure energy efficiency, energy use, or estimated annual operating cost of a covered product during a representative average use cycle or period of use, and must not be unduly burdensome to conduct. (42 U.S.C. 6293(b)(3)) In addition, if DOE determines that a test procedure amendment is warranted, it must publish proposed test procedures and offer the public an opportunity to present oral and written comments on them. (42 U.S.C. 6293(b)(2)) For commercial water heaters, EPCA requires that if the test procedure referenced in the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standard 90.1, "Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings," is updated, DOE must amend its test procedure to be consistent with the updated test procedure unless DOE determines by rule published in the Federal Register and supported by clear and convincing evidence that the amended test procedure is not reasonably designed to produce test results which reflect the energy efficiency, energy use, or estimated operating costs of that type of ASHRAE equipment during a representative average use cycle. In addition, DOE must determine that the amended test procedure is not unduly burdensome to conduct. (42 U.S.C. 6314(a)(2) and (4)) In any rulemaking to amend a test procedure, DOE must determine to what extent, if any, the proposed test procedure would alter the product's measured energy efficiency. (42 U.S.C. 6293(e)(1)) If DOE determines that the amended test procedure would alter the measured efficiency of a covered product, DOE must amend the applicable energy conservation standard accordingly. (42 U.S.C. 6293(e)(2)) Further, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007) amended EPCA to require that DOE must review test procedures for all covered products at least once every seven years and either amend test procedures (if the Secretary determines that amended test procedures would more accurately or fully comply with the requirements of 42 U.S.C. 6293(b)(3) for residential products or 42 U.S.C. 6314(a)(2)-(3) for commercial equipment) or publish notice in the Federal Register of any determination not to amend a test procedure. (42 U.S.C. 6293(b)(1)(A); 42 U.S.C. 6314(a)(1)(A)) Under this requirement, DOE must review the test procedures for residential water heaters not later than December 19, 2014 (seven years after the enactment of EISA 2007), and DOE must review the test procedures for commercial water heaters not later than May 16, 2019 (seven years after the last final rule for commercial water heater test procedures [4] ). The final rule resulting from this rulemaking will satisfy the requirement to review the test procedures for residential and certain commercial water heaters every seven years.

DOE's test procedure for residential water heaters is found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 10 CFR 430.23(e) and 10 CFR part 430, subpart B, appendix E. The test procedure includes provisions for determining the energy efficiency (energy factor (EF)), as well as the annual energy consumption of these products. DOE's test procedure for commercial water heaters is found at 10 CFR 431.106. That test procedure incorporates by reference American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z21.10.3, Gas Water Heaters--Volume III, Storage Water Heaters With Input Ratings Above 75,000 Btu Per Hour, Circulating and Instantaneous, and provides a method for determining the thermal efficiency and standby loss of this equipment.

In addition to the test procedure review provision discussed above, EISA 2007 also amended EPCA to require DOE to amend its test procedures for all covered consumer products to include measurement of standby mode and off mode energy consumption. (42 U.S.C. 6295(gg)(2)(A)) Consequently, DOE recently completed a rulemaking to consider amending its test procedure for residential water heaters to include provisions for measuring the standby mode and off mode energy consumption of those products. Pursuant to the requirements of EPCA, DOE published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) in the Federal Register on August 30, 2010, for three different residential heating products (water heaters, pool heaters, and direct heating equipment) related to standby mode and off mode energy consumption, but the NOPR proposed no amendments to the DOE test procedure for residential water heaters because DOE tentatively concluded that standby mode and off mode energy consumption was already accounted for in the existing DOE test method. [5] 75 FR 52892, 52895. Subsequently, DOE published a final rule in the Federal Register on December 17, 2012, which affirmed its conclusion that no changes were needed to the existing test procedure for residential water heaters. 77 FR 74559, 74561-62. However, that rulemaking was limited to consideration of test procedure amendments to address the above-referenced standby mode and off mode requirements; it did not address other issues regarding DOE's existing test procedure for residential water heaters. DOE addresses these issues in this final rule.

On October 12, 2011, DOE published in the Federal Register a request for information (RFI) that identified and requested comment on a number of issues regarding the test procedures for residential water heaters. 76 FR 63211. DOE accepted comments and information on the RFI until November 28, 2011. Key issues discussed in the RFI include the scope, draw patterns, and test conditions for residential water heaters. The RFI began the process of fulfilling DOE's obligation to periodically review its test procedures under 42 U.S.C. 6293(b)(1)(A) by initiating a rulemaking to examine all aspects of the DOE test procedure.

On December 18, 2012, the American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act (AEMTCA), Public Law 112-210, was signed into law. In relevant part, it amended EPCA to require that DOE publish a final rule establishing a uniform efficiency descriptor and accompanying test methods for covered residential water heaters and commercial water-heating equipment within one year of the enactment of AEMTCA. (42 U.S.C. 6295(e)(5)(B)) The final rule must replace the current energy factor, thermal efficiency, and standby loss metrics with a uniform efficiency descriptor. (42 U.S.C. 6295(e)(5)(C)) AEMTCA requires that, beginning one year after the date of publication of DOE's final rule establishing the uniform descriptor, the efficiency standards for covered water heaters must be denominated according to the uniform efficiency descriptor established in the final rule (42 U.S.C. 6295(e)(5)(D)), and that DOE must develop a mathematical factor for converting the measurement of efficiency for covered water heaters from the test procedures and metrics currently in effect to the new uniform energy descriptor. (42 U.S.C. 6295(e)(5)(E)(i)-(ii)) After the effective date of the final rule, covered water heaters shall be considered to comply with the final rule and with any revised labeling requirements established by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to carry out the final rule, if the covered water heater was manufactured prior to the effective date of the final rule and complies with the efficiency standards and labeling requirements in effect prior to the final rule. (42 U.S.C. 6295(e)(5)(K)) AEMTCA also requires that the uniform efficiency descriptor and accompanying test method apply, to the maximum extent practicable, to all water-heating technologies currently in use and to future water-heating technologies. (42 U.S.C. 6295(e)(5)(H)) AEMTCA allows DOE to provide an exclusion from the uniform efficiency descriptor for specific categories of otherwise covered water heaters that do not have residential uses, that can be clearly described, and that are effectively rated using the current thermal efficiency and standby loss descriptors. (42 U.S.C. 6295(e)(5)(F)) AEMTCA outlines DOE's various options for establishing a new uniform efficiency descriptor for water heaters, including: (1) A revised version of the energy factor descriptor currently in use; (2) the thermal efficiency and standby loss descriptors currently in use; (3) a revised version of the thermal efficiency and standby loss descriptors; (4) a hybrid of descriptors; or (5) a new approach. (42 U.S.C. 6295(e)(5)(G)) Lastly, AEMTCA requires that DOE invite stakeholders to participate in the rulemaking process, and that DOE contract with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), as necessary, to conduct testing and simulation of alternative descriptors identified for consideration. (42 U.S.C. 6295(e)(5)(I)-(J)) On January 11, 2013, DOE published in the Federal Register an RFI (hereinafter the "January 2013 RFI") that requested comment on its interpretation of the requirements for developing a uniform efficiency descriptor in AEMTCA. DOE also sought comment on how to implement those requirements. 78 FR 2340. DOE accepted comments and information on the RFI until February 11, 2013.

On November 4, 2013, DOE published a NOPR in the Federal Register (hereinafter the "November 2013 NOPR") regarding the test procedure for residential and certain commercial water heaters. DOE accepted comments and information on the NOPR until January 21, 2014. The November 2013 NOPR proposed to modify the current test procedures for residential water heaters and certain commercial water heaters to be more representative of conditions encountered in the field (including modifications to both the test conditions and the draw patterns) and to expand the scope of the test procedure to apply to certain commercial water heaters and certain residential water heaters that are not covered by the current test procedure. The proposal also included a number of other improvements identified by commenters in response to both the October 2011 RFI and the January 2013 RFI. On December 6, 2013, DOE held a public meeting to discuss the test procedure proposals outlined in the November 2013 NOPR. The feedback received from stakeholders was taken into consideration and is discussed further in section III of this final rule.

II. Summary of the Final Rule Through this final rule, DOE amends its test procedure for residential water heaters and certain commercial water heaters. The amendments will modify the test procedure to be more representative of conditions encountered in the field (including modifications to the test conditions and the draw patterns) and expand the scope of the test procedure to apply to certain commercial water heaters and certain residential water heaters that are not covered by the current test procedure. The following paragraphs summarize these changes.

DOE also modifies the test procedure for water heaters to establish a uniform descriptor that can be applied to: (1) All residential water heaters (including certain residential water heaters that are covered products under EPCA's definition of "water heater" at 42 U.S.C. 6291(27), but that are not covered under the current test procedure); and (2) to certain commercial water heaters that have residential applications. These modifications include the establishment of test procedure provisions that are applicable to water heaters with storage volumes between 2 gallons (7.6 L) and 20 gallons (76 L), and the creation of a definition for "electric instantaneous water heater." In addition, DOE establishes a new equipment class of commercial water heaters and corresponding definition for "residential-duty commercial water heater." DOE will require water heaters that are classified as "residential-duty commercial" to be tested using the test procedure for the uniform efficiency descriptor established in this final rule.

In addition, DOE establishes the use of multiple draw patterns for testing water heaters, with certain draw patterns prescribed as a function of equipment capacity. Further, DOE establishes updates to the water heater draw pattern to be more reflective of actual field usage based on recent field test data. Lastly, DOE modifies the outlet water temperature requirement to better reflect conditions encountered in typical field installations.

[*Federal RegisterVJ 2014-07-11] For more information about Targeted News Service products and services, please contact: Myron Struck, editor, Targeted News Service LLC, Springfield, Va., 703/304-1897; editor@targetednews.com; http://targetednews.com.

TNS 22VistaJ-1407011 gv-1168248 (c) 2014 Targeted News Service

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