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AHRI Update: August 2012

AHRI's newsletter brings you timely, concise policy information. You will receive the latest analysis on topics that most affect the HVACR, gas space heating, and water heating industries, as well as up-to-date information on current AHRI initiatives, standards development activities, certification program changes, and much more. If you are not receiving the newsletter, subscribe today.


August 30, 2012

Final Reminder: 2012 Annual Sales Volume Report Due Friday
On July 11, AHRI asked all members to submit their 2012 Annual Sales Volume Report, which is used to calculate membership dues and certification licensing fees for 2013. In previous years, AHRI would forward the reporting form (Excel file) and request the completed forms be returned to AHRI within 30 days. Last year, AHRI launched a new secure electronic system for AHRI members and certification participants to report annual sales volumes, and an email was sent to the company designated sales volume reporting representatives last month. The Annual Sales Volume Report is due Friday, August 31. If you have any questions regarding AHRI Membership sales reporting, contact Stephanie Murphy. For help with AHRI Certification sales reporting, contact Cheron L. Scott.

AHRI Staff Presents Water Heater Webcast
AHRI’s chief technical advisor Frank Stanonik and certification manager Marc Neufcourt presented a webcast, Water Heaters for Commercial System Applications, on August 29. The webcast was hosted by Maintenance Solutions, and was joined by nearly 250 facility and property managers, project managers, and engineers. The presentation included information on commercial water heater technologies, and application and installation options, as well as details on AHRI’s water heater certification program. View the presentation here. Contact: Marc Neufcourt.

Comment Period Extended for Safer Consumer Product Regulations
On August 20, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) extended the 45-day public comment period for its proposed Safer Consumer Product regulations, which was published in the California Regulatory Notice Register (Z-2012-0717-04) on July 27, 2012. This action was taken in response to numerous requests to extend the comment period due to the length and complexity of the rulemaking. The public comment period will now close at 5 p.m. PT on October 11, 2012, and comments can be emailed to gcregs@dtsc.ca.gov. The public hearing will proceed as initially scheduled on September 10, 2012, and will also be accessible via webcast here. DTSC also will accept comments about the proposed regulations during the public hearing. Members can direct any inquiries on the rulemaking to Krysia Von Burg. Contact: Aniruddh Roy.

Update on DOE Certification Warning Notice Issue
In recent weeks, a number of AHRI members have received Warning Notices from the Department of Energy (DOE) requesting corrections to certification reports, primarily for missing information such as basic model numbers and brand names of discontinued products.  AHRI is working with those members to resubmit the reports to DOE’s system. AHRI has learned that lawyers from DOE’s enforcement department are reviewing line by line the more than 3,700 certification reports of hundreds of thousands of products submitted by AHRI on behalf of its members. It is advised that members check the accuracy of all product model numbers and brand names in the AHRI Directory of Certified Product Performance, paying special attention to discontinued models. AHRI will continue to monitor and provide guidance should further action become necessary. Contact: Bill Tritsis.

New Certification Participant
AHRI is pleased to welcome the following new participant to our certification program (program in italics):
  • DDR Americas – Residential Boilers (RBLR)
Contact: Sunil Nanjundaram.

Comments Requested for ASHRAE Standard 202P
ASHRAE has published a public review draft of Standard 202P, Commissioning Process for Buildings and Systems, and invites public comments. The purpose of the proposed standard is to identify the minimum acceptable commissioning process for buildings and systems. Input will be accepted until October 1, 2012, and instructions for contributing are online here. Contact: Michael Woodford.

ASHRAE Call for Members
ASHRAE has announced a Call for Members for the SPC 116, Methods of Testing for Rating Seasonal Efficiency of Unitary Air-Conditioners and Heat Pumps Committee. Persons interested in serving on this ASHRAE committee may obtain the necessary membership forms here. ASHRAE Standard 116 provides test methods and calculation procedures for determining the capacities, SEER, and HSPF for unitary air conditioning and heat pump equipment. Contact: Michael Woodford.

European Union Study for Compressor Regulation Suggests Exclusion of Heating and Cooling Compressors
Through the Energy-related Products Directive, also known as Ecodesign, the European Commission’s consultant just published its Inception Report for Lot 31 – Compressors. In the report, the consultant, VHK, suggests that compressors for heating and cooling applications should be excluded from the scope of the regulation. The report states in section 6.1.2.4, “As regards applications it is suggested to exclude from the scope of the study compressor (packages) that are designed or intended for use in vapour compression cycles used for generation of heat or cold.”
 
It is important to note that the European Commission will base its draft regulation on the final report from VHK. The process for the regulation is in the initial phase, and the initial report from VHK to the Commission will not likely be completed before 2014. AHRI will continue to follow to confirm that compressors for cooling and heating applications are not included in the draft regulation. Contact: Shelley Pursell.

AHRI Attends HRAI Annual Meeting and Conference
The 44th Annual Meeting and Conference of the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) was held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, from August 22-25. AHRI staff actively participated in the Refrigeration, Controls, and Heating & Air Conditioning product section meetings of the HRAI Manufacturers Division. Issues discussed at the meetings included Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) regulations, dry R-22 condensing units, and standards activities related to the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).

HRAI reported that new regulations for residential boilers were published in the Canada Gazette Part II. Effective September 1, 2012, the amended regulation will impose prescriptive design requirements in addition to increased minimum energy efficiency standards for residential, gas, oil, and electric boilers with an input rate of less than 300,000 Btu/h, similar to the requirements that are already in place in the U.S. It was reported that the importation of dry R-22 condensing units into Canada was continuing although at a lower volume than last year. HRAI staff also discussed activities at CSA and announced that the technical committee on heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (C401) decided to move forward with the development of a compressor standard despite HRAI and AHRI’s strong opposition. During the product section meetings, AHRI staff reported on U.S. regulatory activities, including the on-going rulemaking on residential furnace fans where the test procedures and the energy efficiency metric proposed by the U.S. Department of Energy are significantly different from the proposed NRCan requirements. Contact: Karim Amrane.


August 23, 2012


AHRI Staff Visit Pennsylvania-based Member Companies
On August 14, AHRI staff members Rupal Choksi, Helen Davis, Henry Hwong, Sean Lynch, Anuj Mistry, Richie Mohan, Justin Prosser, Chris Reddersen, and Umair Surani visited two York, Pa.-based member companies. Jon Paulos from GEA PHE Systems North America provided a company overview and tour of the manufacturing facility, and engaged in a discussion regarding the activities of the Liquid-to-Liquid Heat Exchanger certification program. Later, Craig Campbell, Ben Heyser, and Chris Paraskevakos from Johnson Controls, Inc., gave AHRI staff an overview presentation and tour of their testing facilities, and held a discussion about the activities of the Air-Cooled and Water-Cooled Chillers certification programs. Both visits were opportunities for staff to learn more about the operations and issues that impact AHRI’s members, and how AHRI can best serve their needs. Contact: Rupal Choksi.

AHRI Welcomes New Member
AHRI is pleased to welcome R&D Fixtures as a new member in the Commercial Refrigerator Manufacturers product section. Contact: Freshta Rosario.

Rees Scholarship Foundation Awards 100th Scholarship
The Rees Scholarship Foundation, through its Review Committee, recently awarded $20,000 in scholarships to 12 deserving students, reaching the important milestone of 100 scholarships awarded since its inception in 2003. This achievement highlights both the importance of AHRI members’ contributions and their dedication to supporting a program that will have an impact on the industry for years to come.

The Rees Scholarship Foundation is dedicated to assisting with the education, recruitment, and competency of future HVACR and water heating technicians. By awarding scholarships to the brightest students enrolled in an accredited technical school or college, the Foundation helps the most talented candidates enter the HVACR and water heating industry, and supports AHRI members by enhancing industry expertise.
To learn more about the Rees Scholarship Foundation and possibly support this important program, please visit www.reesscholarship.org. Contact: Marc Neufcourt.

National Association of Manufacturers Business Climate Survey
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is conducting a survey to study how manufacturers perceive the current business climate, and invites manufacturers to contribute. The survey is brief, and will be accessible here until Friday, August 31. Results will appear both online and in IndustryWeek by early September, and help to provide insight into the mindset of those closest to these important business issues. Contact: Sean Lynch.

AHRI Mourns Passing of John McAndrews
AHRI regretfully informs members of the recent passing of John McAndrews, Senior Engineer from Aspen Manufacturing who worked with AHRI as the representative from his company for seven years. John worked closely with AHRI staff as a member of the USE Engineering Committee. His contributions to our industry and our organization will be greatly missed. Contact: Bill Tritsis.

Study Shows Manufacturers Impacted by Federal Regulatory Increases
On August 21, the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI), along with the National Association of Manufactures (NAM), released a new report from NERA Economic Consulting, Macroeconomic Impacts of Federal Regulation of the Manufacturing Sector. This report finds that U.S. manufacturers are significantly impacted by the escalation in the volume and cost of compliance with federal regulations. Key findings are:
  • Since 1998, the cost of major regulations increased by an annualized rate of 7.6 percent, which has far exceeded manufacturing sector growth of 0.4 percent and overall economic growth measured by GDP of 2.2 percent.
  • Major regulation could reduce manufacturing output by up to 6 percent over the next decade.
  • In 2012, major regulation could reduce total value of shipments by up to $500 billion and reduce exports by up to 17 percent.
  • For the HVACR and water heating sector, major regulation could reduce manufacturing output by up to 5 percent over the next decade; and in 2012 major regulation could reduce total value of shipments by up to $8 billion and reduce exports by up to 16 percent.
While regulation plays an important role in promoting health and safety, this study demonstrates the need to change our regulatory system to be better coordinated and streamlined to minimize the cost and impact on manufacturing. A copy of the report is available here. Contact: Amanda Donohue.

California Agency Proposes New Regulations for Recycling Thermostats Containing Mercury
The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has released proposed regulations that establish performance goals for the collection and recycling of used thermostats containing mercury. A 2006 state law banned the sale of new mercury-added thermostats and the disposal of those thermostats in solid waste landfills. A 2008 law, the Mercury Thermostat Collection Act, requires the former producers of mercury-added thermostats to establish a collection and recycling program for waste thermostats.

Under the proposed regulations, manufacturers would be required to collect and recycle over 65,000 mercury-containing thermostats in 2013, or 30 percent of the estimated total number of mercury thermostats becoming waste. Each year, for the following five years, recycling goals would increase until 2017, when the goal would be a 75 percent collection and recycling rate, or in excess of 147,000 mercury thermostats.

The proposed regulations would require manufacturers who formerly sold mercury thermostats to meet these recycling goals either through participation in the Thermostat Recycling Corporation or an independently sponsored program.

DTSC will hold a public hearing on the proposed regulations at 9 a.m. on October 2, 2012, in the Byron Sher Auditorium, Cal/EPA Building, 2nd Floor, 1001 “I” Street, Sacramento. At the hearing, statements or arguments relevant to this proposal, orally or in writing, will be accepted. Written comments must be submitted to DTSC no later than 5 p.m. on October 2, 2012. Contact: Phillip Wallace.

DOE Changes Model Used to Estimate Full Fuel Cycle Factors
On August 17 the Department of Energy (DOE) issued a “Notice of Policy Amendment” regarding its use of full fuel cycle (FFC) analysis in future rulemakings for efficiency standards for covered products and equipment, indicating it will use the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS) developed by DOE’s Energy Information Administration (EIA). When announcing its policy change to include FFC analysis in future rulemakings in 2010, DOE initially indicated that it would use the Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation (GREET) model to make these FFC estimates. At that time it was noted that the GREET model is not specifically designed to estimate FFC factors for the energy use of covered products and equipment.

The notice points out that DOE has not used the GREET model to estimate FFC energy and emission impacts in any past or current rulemakings. Since this is a policy change, DOE invites comments at any time while also noting that opportunities for commenting on the use of the NEMS model will occur as that model is implemented in future rulemakings. Contact: Frank Stanonik.

AHRI Files Joint Intervenor's Brief
On August 10, AHRI and several environmental groups filed a joint Intervenor’s Brief with the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, on the lawsuit filed by the American Public Gas Association (APGA), HARDI, and ACCA, which is challenging DOE’s Direct Final Rule on air conditioner, furnace and heat pump standards.

The brief countered the assertions made by APGA that DOE went beyond its authority in establishing these standards through a Direct Final Rule, and that DOE established incorrect furnace standards. In particular, AHRI’s brief stated that DOE acted appropriately when it promulgated the Direct Final Rule because it was supported by organizations that were representative of most points of view. In addition, AHRI argued that DOE reasonably determined that establishing a 90 percent AFUE regional furnace standard was consistent with the law and therefore should not be overturned. The litigation is expected to continue through the fall, with a decision expected in early 2013. Contact: David Calabrese.

New Certification Participants
AHRI is pleased to welcome the following new participant to our certification program (program in italics):
  • Steel and Pipes, Inc. – Unitary Small Air-Conditioner Equipment (includes Mix-Match Coils) (USAC)
Contact: Sunil Nanjundaram.

AHRI Audits Intertek Testing Lab
A contingent of AHRI staff traveled to Cortland, N.Y., during the week of August 13 to conduct the annual audit of the Intertek-Cortland testing lab that handles more than 80 percent of AHRI’s certification testing. A variety of technical and industry-wide topics were discussed, including reviews of best practices for certification testing, AHRI’s continued partnership with Intertek, and how testing progress and results can most effectively be communicated between Intertek and AHRI. In addition, AHRI and Intertek staff attended a number of breakout sessions designed to review existing processes and certification program requirements in an effort to identify necessary improvements. Contact: Bill Tritsis.

Standards Engineering Society Meets in New Orleans
AHRI standards staff participated in the 61st Annual Conference of the Standards Engineering Society (SES), held earlier this week in New Orleans, Louisiana. The conference was themed "Building the Future Through Standards,” and offered seven sessions covering the spectrum of private industry, government agencies, and standard developing organizations (SDOs) among U.S., Canadian, and international interests.

SES has established a certification program for standards professionals designed to recognize persons who have demonstrated a high degree of professional competence in the field of standards and standardization. There are two levels of SES certification, both of which recognize a person’s experience, expertise, and contributions:
  • associate status, where individuals demonstrate a fundamental knowledge of standards and application; and
  • standards certification, where individuals demonstrate a thorough, more sophisticated knowledge of the principals, techniques, and effects of standardization.
AHRI members who are interested in obtaining SES professional certification for their standards employees can learn more about the program by visiting the certification portion of the SES website, or by contacting Michael Woodford, SES Certification Committee Chairman, for further information.

Office of Foreign Assets Control Issues Guidance on International Standards Development
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recently asked the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for interpretive guidance regarding whether participation in standards development activities with international organizations, such as ISO and IEC, creates exposure for ANSI members under U.S. trade laws when such activities include participants from countries, such as Iran, that are subject to U.S. trade sanctions.

OFAC issued its guidance last week, stating specifically that participation in international standards development activities does not violate OFAC's sanctions regulations. According to OFAC, these standards development activities either fall within the "informational materials" exemption to the sanctions regulations, or are authorized under a general license that allows for collaboration on the creation and enhancement of written publications, such as international standards. As a result, continued participation in such standards development is permissible in light of OFAC's guidance and its regulations. Contact: Michael Woodford.

ASHRAE Invites Public Comments on Proposed Addenda to Standard 90.1
A number of addenda have been proposed to ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2010 and are now available for review and comment from the public. Individuals interested in submitting comments must do so by September 16, and can find instructions on how to do so here.

Addendum ac – The modifications to the standard intend to clarify when the airspace R-values can be used.

Addendum bg – This addendum updates the exception related to storm windows under envelope alterations.

Addendum bh – This addendum modifies the lighting power density tables.

Addendum bi – This addendum harmonizes the minimum energy efficiencies of 3-phase air-cooled commercial air conditioners and heat pumps less than 65,000 Btu/h with the efficiencies adopted by DOE for residential central air conditioners.

Addendum bj – This addendum re-establishes the product class for small duct high velocity air conditioners and heat pumps. The minimum energy efficiency levels proposed are 11 SEER for air conditioners and 11 SEER/6.8 HSPF for heat pumps which are identical to the efficiencies established by DOE for single-phase residential SDHV products.

Addendum bk – This proposal amends the minimum energy efficiency requirements for standard-size packaged terminal air conditioners and raises the minimum EER to the same level as the packaged terminal heat pumps. This new minimum efficiency will become effective on January 1, 2015.

Addendum bl – This addendum includes a methodology for removing the fan energy from packaged equipment efficiency ratings. This methodology is consistent with that currently in use by other codes and guidelines such as the State of California, Title 24. The inclusion of this methodology is necessary for maintaining consistent baseline building packaged equipment efficiency ratings between all users.

Addendum bn – The addendum expands the sub-metering requirements to cover all fuels.

Addendum bo – This addendum modifies service water heating efficiency requirements in Standard 90.1 for electric water heaters, heat pump pool heaters, and oil storage water heaters.

Addendum bp – This addendum adds minimum efficiencies for evaporative condensers used in ammonia based refrigeration systems, and updates references to cooling tower references published by the Cooling Tower Institute.

Addendum bq – This proposal adds mechanical and lighting efficiency requirements for refrigerator freezer display cases.

Addendum br – This addendum updates the motor definitions in Chapter 3 and the motor efficiency tables in Chapter 10 to make sure that end-users and code officials have the most updated information. In addition, the efficiency requirements for motors that were produced before December 19, 2010, have been removed, since they are no longer allowed to be manufactured in or imported into the United States.

Addendum bt – This proposed addendum revises the requirements for the use of exhaust air energy recovery.

Addendum bu – This addendum adds an exception to using waterside economizers.

Addendum bv – This revision of the top-lighting requirements reduces the space area threshold.

Addendum bw – This revision to the building/fenestration orientation requirements provides more specific requirements for east and west facing fenestration.

Addendum bx – The purpose of this proposal is to remove confusion about how the exceptions to the occupancy sensor requirement work.

Contact: Michael Woodford.

AHRI Monitors Canadian Regulatory Activities
On July 26, AHRI staff attended a meeting of the U.S. Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC), which covered the RCC’s Joint Action Plan to address increased regulatory cooperation between Canada and the United States. AHRI has been following the RCC’s activities and raised industry concerns about diverging HVACR standards.

President Obama and Prime Minister Harper initiated the RCC in February 2011 to ensure that the vital economic partnership that joins the two countries continues to be a cornerstone of economic competitiveness and security. After creating the initial Joint Action Plan, the initiative progressed into its current bilateral working groups led by senior officials from regulatory agencies. These groups are working to develop plans with concrete objectives, deliverables, and milestones for tangible progress within the RCC’s two-year mandate.

While the Joint Action Plan has 29 initiatives, the HVACR industry is not addressed. AHRI intends to file comments about the industry’s concerns over diverging standards and request inclusion in the next round of the Action Plan. In the July 26 meeting, officials confirmed that there are not yet plans on when to start considerations for a second Action Plan. AHRI will continue to follow the RCC’s activities. Contact: Shelley Pursell.



August 16, 2012

2012 Annual Sales Volume Report Due August 31
On July 11, AHRI asked all members to submit their 2012 Annual Sales Volume Report, which is used to calculate membership dues and certification licensing fees for 2013. In previous years, AHRI would forward the reporting form (Excel file) and request the completed forms be returned to AHRI within 30 days. Last year, AHRI launched a new secure electronic system for AHRI members and certification participants to report annual sales volumes, and an email was sent to the company designated sales volume reporting representatives last month. The Annual Sales Volume Report is due August 31. If you have any questions regarding AHRI Membership sales reporting, contact Stephanie Murphy. For help with AHRI Certification sales reporting, contact Cheron L. Scott.

ASHRAE/NIST Refrigerants Conference
ASHRAE and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will host a two-day refrigerants conference, Moving Toward Sustainability, October 29-30, at the NIST Green Auditorium in Gaithersburg, Md. The conference will provide the latest information on low global warming potential (GWP) alternative refrigerants, including time schedules, transition requirements, and performance considerations. Policymakers, manufacturers, researchers, and government officials are invited to attend and learn the latest about low GWP refrigerants. Registration information is available here. Note that no registration is available on-site. Contact: Karim Amrane.

AHRI Welcomes New Member
AHRI is pleased to welcome Applied Comfort Products as a new member in the Applied Packaged Systems product section. Contact: Freshta Rosario.

New Certification Engineer Joins AHRI
Helen Davis joined AHRI this week as our newest certification engineer. Helen will manage the Air-to-Air Energy Recovery Ventilation Equipment  (ERV) and Chemicals and Refrigerant Reclaimers (CRR) product sections, as well as the certification programs for Refrigerant Testing Laboratories, Refrigerant Recovery/Recycling Equipment, Non Condensable Gas Purge Equipment, and Reclaimed Refrigerants. Helen holds a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering and Engineering Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Prior to joining AHRI, she worked as an American Society of Civil Engineers/American Association for the Advancement of Science (ASCE/AAAS) Congressional Fellow for Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI). Contact: Sunil Nanjundaram.

AHRI Mourns Passing of Former President Gurdon Munger
AHRI regretfully informs the membership of the recent passing of former ARI President Gurdon R. (Monk) Munger. He was the third president of ARI, serving from 1974-1981, and came to ARI from the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) where he was General Manager.

Mr. Munger was active in both ARI and ASHRAE (and its predecessor, ASRE).  He served as technical secretary of ASRE from 1952 to 1955, working closely with the General Technical Committee and with the editorial board of the Refrigerating Data Books. He has served on the Publications Committee, TC 1.7, Operation and Maintenance Management, and TC 6.4, In Space Convection Heating. While a student at California Polytechnic Institute, he served as president of the Air Conditioning Club and was instrumental in obtaining accreditation of the institution from ASRE. He was elevated to the grade of Fellow in 1979 and received a Distinguished Service Award in 1970.

His tenure as president covered a period where ARI was first impacted by major government regulations and initiatives. As a result of the mid-late 70s energy crisis, ARI members were first faced with minimum efficiency standards for equipment from DOE and from the states.  This period included EPA efforts to regulate CFC refrigerants to protect the ozone layer; at the time, the EPA was also actively considering sound noise labeling requirements for appliances.  ARI formed the Government Affairs Committee to address these and many other issues of that period.  He also led ARI at a time of growth of standards development and certification program expansion and outreach with new public relations initiatives and promotion/communications efforts. Contact: Amanda Donohue.

AHRI Video Update: Director of Congressional Affairs Guido Zucconi on August Recess Developments
AHRI's Guido Zucconi shares his thoughts on what the political world holds as we progress through August Recess and begin the fall's legislative session. He also provides insights into how members can make the most of this opportunity to host facility visits for their representatives in Congress. Look for more video updates from AHRI on its YouTube Channel, at AHRIcommunications. Contact: Sean Lynch.

SCAQMD Releases Draft 2012 Air Quality Management Plan
The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) of California recently released its draft 2012 Air Quality Management Plan (AQMP) and is seeking public comment on the draft by August 31, 2012. Comments or questions can be e-mailed to  2012aqmpcomments@aqmd.gov. Once adopted by the SCAQMD’s Governing Board, as well as state and federal environmental agencies, the document becomes the legally enforceable plan for meeting the federal 24-hour PM2.5 (fine particulate) standard by 2014. Appendix IV-A of the draft AQMP lists SCAQMD’s proposed control measures for stationary sources, which also includes a control measure that proposes to establish a NOx emission limit for natural gas-fired commercial fan-type central furnaces with input rates greater than or equal to 175,000 Btu/h and less than or equal to 2,000,000 Btu/h. The NOx emissions of such furnaces are currently unregulated by SCAQMD. Pages 63 and 64 of Appendix IV-A provide the necessary background on the proposed control measure for gas-fired furnaces. The measure seeks NOx emission reductions of 0.18 tons per day by 2023 and ultimately a reduction of at least 0.6 tons per day. This measure will be implemented in two phases, beginning with a technical assessment to be completed by 2014 and Phase II rule development by 2016. The implementation period will begin by 2018. The full draft of the 2012 AQMP document can be accessed here. Contact: Aniruddh Roy.


AHRI Holds Smart or Connected Equipment Ad Hoc Committee Workshop
A workshop of AHRI’s Smart or Connected Equipment Ad Hoc Committee was held at AHRI headquarters in Arlington, Va., on August 7. Since its inception in late 2011, the committee has:

  • Developed an ad hoc committee scope and definition for smart systems.
  • Participated in discussions on how the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), the U.S. Green Building Council, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), ASHRAE, and the ClimateTalk Alliance are approaching issues related to the smart grid and smart system technologies.
  • Reviewed smart system issues that may potentially be common to AHRI and other trade associations.
During the meeting, members of the ad hoc committee acknowledged the need to develop a white paper that communicates AHRI’s position on smart systems. Once drafted, the white paper would be distributed to all affected AHRI product sections for review and comment. The final draft would then be shared with regulatory agencies to communicate the industry’s position on smart systems, and presented during interactions with various industry trade associations, national laboratories, and research institutes. Demand response, smart controllers, and communications technologies were some of the major topics that were discussed at this workshop. Contact: Aniruddh Roy.

ASHRAE Region III Chapters Regional Conference Held in Baltimore
Several AHRI members and staff participated in ASHRAE’s Region III Chapters Regional Conference (CRC), held August 10-12in Baltimore.  These conferences provide the opportunity for chapter leaders to conduct ASHRAE society business and to share ideas for effective chapter operations. ASHRAE’s Region III is comprised of the twelve chapters located in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia.  The ASHRAE president’s theme for the year, “Broadening ASHRAE’s Horizons,” was presented.  The 2012 ASHRAE President is Tom Watson, chief engineer at AHRI member company Daikin McQuay. Contact:  Michael Woodford.

ASHRAE Requests Comments on Standard 55-2010
ASHRAE has invited comments for the Public Review Draft of Addendum g to ASHRAE Standard 55-2010, Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy.  This proposed addendum clarifies the normative requirements for determining metabolic rates for representative occupants and moves these normative requirements to the body of the Standard. Public Review Drafts are available here. Contact: Michael Woodford.

Call for Members: ASHRAE Standards Committee
ASHRAE announced a call for members for the SPC 124-2007R, Methods of Testing for Rating Combination Space-Heating and Water-Heating Appliances standards committee.  Those interested in serving on this committee are asked to indicate their interest and obtain the necessary membership forms here. Contact: Michael Woodford.


August 9, 2012


AHRI Joins Air Conditioning Debate on NPR
AHRI President and CEO Stephen Yurek was featured on NPR’s Diane Rehm show this week to discuss the environmental impact and benefits of air conditioning. Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development (pictured right with Stephen Yurek and Diane Rehm); Stan Cox, senior scientist at the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas; and Elisabeth Rosenthal, international environment reporter for The New York Times, also participated on the panel.

Yurek articulated industry’s positions regarding a broad range of topics from energy efficiency to refrigerant choice, and AHRI appreciated the opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to environmental stewardship. For those who missed the live broadcast, it is available for streaming here. Contact: Monica Cardenas.
 

AHRI Staff Developments
AHRI announces the promotion of Jon Lemmond from a certification engineer to his new role as a regulatory engineer. In his new role, he will review federal and state regulations, conduct technical analysis of proposed rules, and develop industry comments on behalf of members. Jon holds a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland at College Park, and Master of Science and Master of Engineering degrees from the University of California at Berkeley. Prior to joining AHRI in 2010, Jon worked as a Mechanical Engineer and Project Manager for the United States Naval Facilities Engineering Command. Contact: Karim Amrane.
 

Workforce Development Tools Available
AHRI recently developed a short advocacy DVD to encourage middle- and high school students to make plans to join the rapidly expanding HVACR and water heating workforce. The DVD is available for free online here. The video features interviews with industry insiders who testify to the innumerable satisfying and lucrative opportunities within the HVACR field. AHRI members can also request a copy of the DVD by contacting Kristin Fleming.
 

AHRI Hosts Capitol Hill Awareness Event
Over 200 hill staffers had a chance to meet the individuals who keep their homes warm and their energy bills cool this week at the annual HVACR Industry Awareness Congressional Reception. Attendees included members and representatives from AHRI, the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), Heating, Airconditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI), North American Technician Excellence (NATE), and the Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling Contractors National Association (PHCC), as well as a wide range of Capitol Hill staff. The reception offered a chance to discuss relevant legislative and regulatory issues in a relaxed environment. One highlight of the reception was the fantastic 250 lb cake, which traveled hundreds of miles that day from Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, N.J.and featured a delicious diorama of how HVACR products make their way from manufacturing facilities into homes and businesses across the country. Contact: Cade Clark
 

25C Extension Survives Senate Committee Hearing
The Senate Committee on Finance held a lengthy hearing on August 2 regarding a package of tax provisions that either expired or are about to expire. Negotiated and introduced by Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Republican Orrin Hatch (UT), the package included a retroactive reinstatement of 25C, the non-business energy tax credit, for the period January 1, 2012, through December 31, 2013. The incentive levels for HVAC and water heating products would remain the same as when the credit expired: $50 for each advanced main air circulating fan; $150 for each qualified natural gas, propane, or oil furnace or hot water boiler; and $300 for each item of qualified energy efficient building property. Among the initial 115 amendments submitted were some that proposed the removal of this credit from the package, but after an amendment on removing a credit for high efficiency appliances failed on a bi-partisan vote, it became obvious that incentives for more efficient products would remain in the legislation, at least for now. The full committee overwhelmingly approved the final package, but its likelihood of success in the full Senate is unclear. This could become part of a post-election package of fiscal measures addressed by both chambers during the “Lame Duck” session. AHRI will continue to monitor its progress. Contact: Guido Zucconi
 

AHRI Comments on Modified ENERGY STAR Water Heaters Specification
On August 3, 2012, AHRI submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on modifications refining the Draft 3 Version 2.0 specifications for the ENERGY STAR Program for residential water heaters. These refinements included modifications to the definition and corresponding criteria for gas hybrid water heaters, and added a definition for EPAct Covered Residential Gas Water Heaters with the corresponding criteria. The AHRI comments noted that the gas hybrid water heater definition is still confusing, and suggested that EPA defer the finalization of criteria for these products until such time that the Department of Energy has finalized revisions to its efficiency test procedures to cover those products. AHRI also suggested that EPA advance the schedule of the development of ENERGY STAR criteria for commercial water heaters to coincide with the finalization of the revised residential water heater specification. EPA still intends to finalize the Version 2 specifications so that they can become effective in February 2013. Contact: Frank Stanonik.
 

DOE Modifies Certification Template for Residential Boilers
On August 1, 2012, a revised template for boiler certification reports was posted on the Department of Energy’s (DOE) website to address the revised residential boiler efficiency standards effective beginning September 1, 2012. The revised template, identified as Residential Furnaces v.4.3, adds a column with the heading: “Have the Applicable Design Requirements been Incorporated?” Furthermore, information is provided on the template noting that this new column applies to only gas, oil, and electric hot water boilers and gas steam boilers. The revised residential boiler efficiency standards include both increased minimum AFUE requirements and prescriptive design requirements for some types of boilers. The revised template reflects DOE’s decision to require only a declaration that the model(s) complies with those design requirements for the certification report.

Any new residential boiler model must be certified to DOE using the revised template, including the declaration that it meets the design requirements, before it is distributed in commerce. Although all residential boilers manufactured on or after September 1, 2012 are required to meet the revised efficiency standards, existing certified residential boiler models do not have to be recertified to DOE until the next annual certification date. The next annual certification date for residential boilers is May 1, 2013. Contact: Frank Stanonik.
 

AHRI Submits Comments on FTC’s Proposed Appliance Labeling Rule
On June 6, 2012, in response to the publication of the direct final rule establishing regional minimum energy conservation standards for residential furnaces, central air conditioners and heat pumps, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a proposed rule in the Federal Register on new labeling requirements for residential central air conditioners, heat pumps and furnaces. The Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) directs the FTC to determine the appropriate method(s) for disclosing information to consumers, distributors, and installers, and authorizes the Commission to modify the EnergyGuide label or develop other disclosures. EPCA also calls on the FTC to complete a rulemaking within 15 months from the publication of the final rule establishing regional standards. AHRI staff worked with the engineering committees of the affected product sections and the Unitary Regulatory Committee to develop an industry position on the proposed rule. AHRI, August 6, 2012, submitted comments can be accessed here. In the comments, AHRI recommended that the FTC:
  • Continue to recognize the existing reporting mechanism through voluntary industry certification programs such as AHRI.
  • Allow manufacturers that participate in AHRI’s certification programs the option of adding a reference in the EnergyGuide label to the AHRI directory of certified product performance.
  • Not make Quick Response (QR) codes mandatory for manufacturers since there may not be enough space to add QR codes on EnergyGuide labels. In addition, the codes may end up confusing consumers, particularly when recognizing that not all consumers will have the capability to access such codes.
  • Not impose additional disclosure burdens on manufacturers. Instead, recognize the fulfillment of the current appliance labeling requirements and the release of regional standards information by manufacturers will provide consumers with the necessary disclosure. 
  • Not limit the range of input capacities in the oil-fired furnace label and make the multiple input capacity and efficiency label format optional for oil-fired boiler manufacturers.
  • Allow manufacturers to apply the new EnergyGuide labels when the final appliance labeling rule takes effect.
  • Maintain the basic colors (Yellow and Black) that are used in the current appliance labeling rule.
Contact: Aniruddh Roy.
 

AHRI Participates in ISHRAE/RAMA Chiller Standards Meeting
AHRI Senior Vice President Henry Hwong and Senior Technical Advisor for Performance Testing Christopher Stone traveled to India last week to attend a meeting hosted by the Indian Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ISHRAE) and the Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Manufacturers Association (RAMA) on the development of a chiller rating and testing standard for India.

At the invitation of ISHRAE and RAMA, Stone serves as a member of the advisory committee and as a liaison between AHRI members and the stakeholders in India. The meeting was chaired by former ISHRAE president Ashish Rakheja, with participation from manufacturers and various industry leaders and experts. There is an aggressive schedule for development of the rating and testing standard, with a tentative goal of completing a draft by the end of 2012. The next meeting of the core committee is scheduled for September 7th at Goa, India.

In addition to the standards meeting, AHRI staff met with numerous members and certification program participants in India to discuss their needs and how to best serve them in the future. Meetings also were held with UL staff and SP Garnaik of the Indian Bureau of Energy Efficiency to discuss their plans for energy efficiency labeling requirements for chillers and other HVACR products. Contact: Henry Hwong.
 

October 11 – World Standards Day
This year, the U.S. Celebration of World Standards Day – Standards Increase Efficiency – will recognize the crucial role of standards, codes, and conformance activities in driving more efficient processes, services, systems, and built environments worldwide. Leaders of business, industry, academia, and government will gather in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, October 11, for a celebration of the role standards play in increasing efficiency for a more productive, safe, and sustainable world. The event will kick off with a reception and exhibition at The Fairmont Washington.

The evening’s festivities will include the presentation of the 2012 Ronald H. Brown Standards Leadership Award, which was named after the late U.S. Secretary of Commerce and honors an individual who has dedicated him/herself to the promotion of standardization as a key tool in the elimination of global trade barriers. The winners of the 2012 World Standards Day Paper Competition will also be announced. For more information or to register, please visit the event website. Advance registration is required. Contact: Michael Woodford.
 

New Certification Participants
AHRI is pleased to welcome the following new participants to our certification program (program in italics):

  • Smith Cast Iron Boilers – Residential Boilers (RBLR)
  • Hydrotherm, Division of Mestek, Inc. – Residential Boilers (RBLR)
  • F.W. Webb – Residential Boilers (RBLR)


Contact: Sunil Nanjundaram.
 


August 2, 2012


Register Today for AHRI’s Annual Meeting
The AHRI Board of Directors and staff look forward to welcoming members to the 2012 Annual Meeting, to be held November 11-13, at the legendary La Quinta Resort & Club, in Palm Springs, California. With its unique architecture, grounds, and breathtaking views of the Santa Rosa Mountains, this resort in the Coachella Valley is the perfect place to reconnect with colleagues and learn about the most important issues facing our industry. Register before October 1 and save $50. Click here for more information and to register. Contact: Brittany Buchanan.
 

AHRI Submits Comments on DOE's NOPR on Test Procedures for Residential Furnace Fans
On May 15, 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) on test procedures for residential furnace fans. The NOPR proposes adoption of a Furnace Efficiency Rating (FER) – a new metric to measure the energy efficiency of a residential furnace fan. It also proposes a scope of applicability that is broad enough to cover single-phase, electrically powered devices that circulate air through duct work in HVAC systems with heating input capacities less than 225,000 Btu per hour, cooling capacities less than 65,000 Btu per hour, and airflow capacities less than 3,000 cfm. The NOPR states that furnace fans include, but are not limited to, the air distribution fans used in weatherized and non-weatherized gas, oil, and electric furnaces, as well as modular blowers and hydronic air handlers.

AHRI staff worked with the engineering committees of the impacted product sections to develop a cohesive industry position on the proposed test procedures.  AHRI also attended the DOE’s June 15 public meeting about the NOPR and subsequently submitted comments on July 30.  In the comments, available here, AHRI stated that the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) authorizes DOE to include only the following products in a furnace fan rulemaking:
  • forced air weatherized and non-weatherized central furnaces using single-phase electric current or DC and with a heat input rate less than 225,000 Btu/h, and
  • electrical furnaces (as defined in 10 CFR Part 430.2).

AHRI noted that the electrical consumption of fans associated with residential HVAC products, (such as split systems, packaged central air conditioners, and heat pump air handlers) is already addressed in descriptors like SEER and HSPF; these products are currently regulated, and including them in the residential furnace fans rulemaking would cause these systems to be regulated twice. The comments also urged DOE to exclude products such as modular blowers, small-duct, high-velocity systems, through-the-wall systems, and hydronic air handlers from the scope of the furnace fans rulemaking because those products were never included in the legislation that directed DOE to develop this regulation.

AHRI suggested some modifications to the proposed FER metric to reduce the cumulative testing and reporting burden on the industry, outlined the differences between the ANSI/AMCA 210-07 I ANSI/ASHRAE 51-07 and the ANSI/ASHRAE 37-2005 standards, and addressed the ten issues on which DOE sought comments from stakeholders. Contact: Aniruddh Roy.
 

California Proposes New Chemical Safety Rule
On July 27, 2012, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) issued a new rulemaking proposal to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) for review and public comment. DTSC has proposed that chapter 55 be added to division 4.5 of Title 22, California Code of Regulations. The proposed text in chapter 55 can be accessed here and pertains to identification and prioritization of chemicals of concern in consumer products, evaluation of their alternatives, and regulatory responses for selected alternatives. The written comment period with respect to the DTSC proposal ends at 5:00 p.m. PT on September 11, 2012. DTSC will hold a public hearing on the proposed regulations at 10:00 a.m. on September 10, in Sacramento, Calif. Details on the public hearing notice can be accessed here. Click here to view a one-page summary of DTSC’s proposed regulations. In the past, AHRI submitted comments to the DTSC requesting that the list of chemicals of concern and the priority product lists be made available immediately. AHRI further questioned DTSC’s decision to define hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), nitrogen oxides, and nitrous oxide (NOx) as air contaminants. A copy of the comments is available here.

Since AHRI’s comments have not yet been addressed by DTSC, AHRI staff will continue to seek answers on behalf of the industry by resubmitting its comments during the latest written comment period. Contact: Aniruddh Roy.
 

AHRI Requests Extension for Gas Furnace Manufacturers
In a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, AHRI requested an 18-month extension of the May 1, 2013, effective date of amended federal minimum efficiency standards for residential non-weatherized gas furnaces. The proposed extension -- to November 1, 2014 -- would give manufacturers adequate time to prepare for compliance with regional furnace standards and related standards enforcement and product labeling requirements, AHRI said. AHRI also noted that manufacturers must ensure that any changes in the furnace minimum standards coincide with the start of the 2014-2015 heating season. Finally, AHRI requested that the Department of Energy grant the extension as soon as possible, to prevent manufacturers and distributors from beginning the costly endeavor of repositioning product offerings before the 2012-2013 heating season, which would likely result in stranded inventory. Contact: Karim Amrane.
 

Energy Tax Provisions Included in Senate Tax Extenders Deal
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) announced a tentative deal to extend several expired and expiring tax provisions. A hearing is scheduled for today, August 2, at 10:00 am. The package includes a retroactive extension of the 25C nonbusiness energy property credit, which is designed to provide incentives to homeowners to upgrade their HVAC and water heating products. The credit would be effective January 1, 2012, through December 31, 2013. The incentive amounts would return to the levels that existed when these credits expired at the end of 2011. The package also reinstates and extends the 45L tax credit, which is related to energy efficient new home construction. The 45L credit also would be retroactive to January 1, 2012, and would expire on December 31, 2013. The package is not expected to come up for a full Senate vote until after the August break. AHRI will continue to monitor these proceedings and will update members as the Committee continues its work. Contact: Guido Zucconi.
 

Comments Due August 26 for Addenda to ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 161
ASHRAE has invited comments to the following Public Review Drafts, which can be accessed on ASHRAE’S Standards, Research & Technology page here.

2nd Public Review of Addendum c to ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 161-2007, Air Quality within Commercial Aircraft. This proposed addendum provides requirements and information about flame retardants to minimize exposure.

2nd Public Review of Addendum f to ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 161-2007, Air Quality within Commercial Aircraft. This proposed addendum is intended to reflect the fact that at least one new aircraft design does not use bleed air for cabin ventilation and pressurization and that this approach or similar ones offer a way to reduce or eliminate the potential for bleed air contamination from lubricating oil or hydraulic fluid.

2nd Public Review of Addendum d to ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 161-2007, Air Quality within Commercial Aircraft. This proposed addendum adds requirements and information about refrigerants to the standard.

Contact:  Michael Woodford.
 

AHRI Video Update: President and CEO Stephen Yurek
on Recent Montreal Protocol Meeting
AHRI’s President and CEO Stephen Yurek shares details on his recent trip to the 32nd Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG 32) of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol. In addition, he discusses the Side Event hosted by the International Council of Air-Conditioning, Refrigeration, and Heating Manufacturers’ Associations (ICARHMA) and the European Partnership for Energy and the Environment (EPEE). Watch the video here.

Look for more video updates from AHRI on its YouTube Channel, at AHRIcommunications. Contact: Sean Lynch.