Regulatory

AHRI’s new structure also impacts the regulatory committees. Changes will be discussed at the Leadership Council meetings and during sector-specific Regulatory Working Group meetings at Spring Meeting. The goal is to establish a structure to allow for more strategic engagement with regulatory agencies; enhance the industry commenting process; and leverage the experience and expertise of members with highly regulated products. We appreciate feedback and flexibility during the charter-writing and committee establishment process.

Federally, we expect several rulemakings to progress or conclude during 2019. From the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Procedures, Interpretations, and Policies for Consideration of New or Revised Energy Conservation Standards for Consumer Products (a.k.a. Process Rule) is progressing. AHRI and association partners submitted robust comments largely supporting the Process Rule, with several supportive suggestions for enhanced implementation. In another interesting rulemaking with broad policy implications, DOE is seeking information on possible improvements to test procedures to better capture average use cycles or periods of use, while minimizing regulatory test burdens. As expected, there have been several product-specific requests for information issued regarding test procedures since the fall, including for automatic commercial ice makers & ice storage bins; direct heating equipment; and three-phase commercial air-cooled air conditioners and heat pumps, less than 65,000 Btu/h. Since the fall, DOE also issued a notice of proposed rule for Direct Heating Equipment Energy Conservation Standard, considering the possibility of a “no standard” standard, noting that the 2016 rulemaking cycle resulted in the issuance of a final determination to not amend standards for vented or unvented home heating equipment. Still waters run deep with the ongoing negotiations of the Variable Refrigerant Flow Working Group of the Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee (ASRAC). Industry has been engaged with other stakeholders in an in-depth review of the test procedure for this equipment. It is expected that a second extension request will be submitted in order to complete the test procedure and energy conservation standard term sheets by year-end. We expect to see notice of proposed rules for test procedures issued for commercial refrigeration equipment; walk-in coolers and walk-in freezers; commercial water heaters unfired storage tanks; and computer room air conditioners. DOE’s Spring Regulatory Agenda is expected to be released mid-May.

Industry work continues in support of AHRI’s petition to promulgate a single energy efficiency metric incorporating three existing test procedures: AFUE, FER, and stand-by. The Furnace AFUE2 Working Group will meet to review current edits to the draft test procedure and test plan in conjunction with Spring Meeting.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is also examining larger policy issues, with a recently proposed reorganization of sections of the code regarding product labeling. AHRI took the opportunity to support one Commissioner statement that the rule should have been reviewed for reducing regulatory burden and suggest some opportunities in that vein.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been delayed in issuing expected rulemakings responding to partial court vacatures for the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program. We do expect rules to be issued later this year.

In California, the Air Resources Board (CARB), continues to move forward rapidly with rulemakings to achieve steep reductions in short-lived climate pollutant (SLCP) emissions for station air-conditioning and commercial refrigeration equipment. AHRI has worked closely with CARB staff to provide industry economic data and technical resources to ensure a safe transition to new refrigerants. Stakeholder meetings are expected to be held this summer, with draft regulatory language to be issued this fall.

The AHRI Safe Refrigerant Transition Task Force was recently established by the AHRI Board to evaluate the supply chain to enable the safe and reliable use of low GWP refrigerants (e.g. mildly flammable) as states establish refrigerant reduction regulations. Over 50 members and stakeholders attended the inaugural meeting, held April 25, 2019, and elected David Calabrese, Daikin Industries, as chair. The structure will include an OEM Steering team, an Advisory Panel, the Task Force, and under the Task Force a number of working groups, each aiming at addressing a different part of the supply chain. A meeting summary and the call for volunteers will be held at Spring Meeting so working groups get started addressing specific issues. The next full task force meetings will focus on available testing and data related to the use of A2L refrigerants.

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has already begun the pre-rulemaking process for the 2022 edition of California's Building Energy Efficiency Standards, Title 24. CEC is also gearing up to establish minimum efficiency standards for commercial and industrial fans (CIFB) into California’s Appliance Efficiency Standards, Title 20. Draft regulatory text and stakeholder meetings for the CIFB rulemaking are expected this summer.

AHRI has been working with Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) to implement Directory updates to comply with requirements in force or soon to be in force as part of Amendment 14. NRCan has also issued draft regulatory text to Amendments 15 and 16. We expect those two amendments to be finalized later this year, and Amendment 17 is set to commence in 2019, with impacts to central air conditioners and heat pumps; electric water heaters (including Heat Pump water heaters); gas-fired storage water heaters; and pool pumps. AHRI members should remain vigilant in providing feedback to regulators regarding the importance of harmonization with DOE standards.