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AHRI Update: December 2011

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.

Please click on each article below for more information.


THE WEEK OF DECEMBER 19, 2011

AHRI to Host VRF Panel at AHR Expo

The International Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration (AHR) Expo will be held January 23-25, 2012, in Chicago, Ill., and will include a presentation from AHRI on its latest certification program, Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) Multi-Split Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Equipment.

A panel of VRF manufacturers, including Paul Doppel of Mitsubishi, Chris Bellshaw  of Daikin, and Malcolm Persaud of Panasonic, will discuss the history and development of VRF products, the impact AHRI’s certification program will have on the market, and related energy efficiency opportunities. A Q&A session will follow the panel presentation. Attend this session on Monday, January 23, 2012, from 1:30-3:00 pm (note updated time), at McCormick Place, Room S101b. Admission is included with visitor registration for the AHR Expo.

The AHR Expo is jointly sponsored by AHRI, ASHRAE, and the International Exposition Company (IEC). Learn more about the Expo here. Contact: Francis Dietz.

EPA Adds Three Hydrocarbon Refrigerants as Acceptable Alternatives

Under the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently published a final rule listing three hydrocarbons as acceptable substitutes, subject to use conditions, for chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)-12 and hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-22 in household and retail food refrigerators and freezers.  The acceptable alternatives are isobutane (R-600a) and R-441A for use in household refrigerators and freezers, and propane (R-290) for use in retail food refrigerators and freezers (stand-alone units only).  However, each substitute is subject to the following use conditions:
  • Use in new equipment only and specifically designed for the alternatives;
  • Use in equipment meeting UL Standard 250 for household refrigerators, and UL Standard 471 for retail food refrigerators;
  • A refrigerant charge not exceeding 57 grams (2 ounces) for household refrigerators/freezers and 150 grams (5.3 ounces) for retail food refrigerators/freezers;
  • Permanent safety markings on the equipment;
  • Service ports marked in red Pantone Matching System (PMS) #185; and
  • Service aperture fittings that are different from fittings used in equipment or containers that use non-flammable refrigerants.
In addition, EPA is listing propane (R-290) as an acceptable substitute to R-502 in retail food refrigerators and freezers.  The final rule will become effective on February 21, 2012.  Contact: Karim Amrane.

Cooling Standards Subcommittee Update

AHRI’s Cooling Standards Subcommittee (CSS) convened for a web conference on December 13-14, 2011, and reviewed revisions to the following AHRI standards and interpretations:
  • Revisions to AHRI Standard 110 – 2002, Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigerating Equipment Nameplate Voltages
  • Reaffirmed ANSI/AHRI/ASHRAE ISO Standard 13256-1, Water-Source Heat Pumps - Testing and Rating for Performance - Part 1: Water-to-Air and Brine-to-Air Heat Pumps and ANSI/AHRI/ASHRAE ISO Standard 13256-2, Water-Source Heat Pumps - Testing and Rating for Performance - Part 2: Water-to-Water and Brine-to-Water Heat Pumps
  • Revisions to AHRI Standards 490-2003, Performance Rating of Remote Mechanical Draft Evaporatively Cooled Refrigerant Condensers
  • Revisions to AHRI Guideline V-2003, Calculating the Efficiency of Energy Recovery Ventilation and its Effect on Efficiency and Sizing of Building HVAC Systems
  • Interpretation 4 of AHRI Standard 1200 (I-P)-2010 AND AHRI Standard 1201 (SI)-2010, Performance Rating of Commercial Refrigerated Display Merchandisers and Storage Cabinets
  • Proposed AHRI Standards 1210P (I-P) & 1211P (SI), Performance Rating of Variable Frequency Drives
  • Revisions to AHRI Standard 280-2008, Requirements for the Qualification of Reveberation Rooms in the 63 Hz Octave Band
  • Revisions to AHRI Standard 260 – 2001, Sound Rating of Ducted Air-Moving and Conditioning Equipment
The Subcommittee approved the following standards pending follow-up ballot votes.  These standards will appear on the AHRI website as 2011 versions:
  • ANSI/AHRI/ASHRAE ISO Standard 13256-1:2011, Water-Source Heat Pumps - Testing and Rating for Performance - Part 1: Water-to-Air and Brine-to-Air Heat Pumps
  • ANSI/AHRI/ASHRAE ISO Sandard 13256-2:2011, Water-Source Heat Pumps - Testing and Rating for Performance - Part 2: Water-to-Water and Brine-to-Water Heat Pumps
  • AHRI Standards 490 (I-P)-2011 & 491 (SI)-2011, Performance Rating of Remote Mechanical Draft Evaporatively Cooled Refrigerant Condensers
  • AHRI Guideline V (I-P)-2011 & V(SI)-2011, Calculating the Efficiency of Energy Recovery Ventilation and its Effect on Efficiency and Sizing of Building HVAC Systems
  • Interpretation 4 of AHRI Standard 1200 (I-P)-2010 AND AHRI Standard 1201 (SI)-2010, Performance Rating of Commercial Refrigerated Display Merchandisers and Storage Cabinets
  • AHRI Standards 1210 (I-P)-2011 & 1211 (SI)-2011, Performance Rating of Variable Frequency Drives
  • AHRI Standard 280-2011, Requirements for the Qualification of Reveberation Rooms in the 63 Hz Octave Band
  • AHRI Standard 260-2011, Sound Rating of Ducted Air-Moving and Conditioning Equipment
As with all AHRI Standards, they are free to download. Contact: Michael Woodford.

U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar Visits Carrier to View New High-Efficiency Furnace Line

Just months after launching his 2011 Practical Energy Plan, U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Indiana) visited the Carrier manufacturing facility in Indianapolis to view its new high-efficiency furnace line. Sen. Lugar spoke with a small group of employees about the economic and environmental benefits of energy efficiency and his “Practical Energy Plan,” which encourages states to adopt long-term frameworks to improve energy savings in new homes and buildings. Contact: Monica Cardenas.


THE WEEK OF DECEMBER 12, 2011

AHR Expo: AHRI to Present on VRF Market, Certification Program

The International Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration (AHR) Expo will be held January 23-25, 2012, in Chicago, Ill., and will include a presentation from AHRI on its latest certification program, Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) Multi-Split Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Equipment.

A panel of three VRF manufacturers will discuss the impact AHRI’s certification program will have on this growing U.S. market. A Q&A session will follow the panel presentation. Attend this session on Monday, January 23, 2012, from 2:00-3:00 pm, at McCormick Place, Room S101b. Admission is included with visitor registration for the AHR Expo.

The AHR Expo is jointly sponsored by AHRI, ASHRAE, and the International Exposition Company (IEC). Learn more about the Expo here. Contact: Francis Dietz.

AHRI Promotes Expertise in the HVACR and Water Heating Industry

At its meeting on November 13, 2011, the AHRI Board of Directors approved a recommendation from the Rees Board to change contributions to the Rees Scholarship Foundation from an opt-in to an opt-out approach. This change will help AHRI meet its goal of promoting expertise within the HVACR and water heating industry, and help to attract and retain the best and brightest students. The Rees Scholarship Foundation is a charitable organization that awards scholarships to students pursuing a career in the HVACR and water heating industry.  To make a tax-deductible contribution, please fill out the Rees Donation Form and return it to mneufcourt@ahrinet.org.

Watch for AHRI Dues Invoices

Dues invoices for 2012 AHRI membership were sent via email on Tuesday, December 13.  The due date for payment is January 31, 2012.  Contact: Stephanie Murphy.

Durban Climate Talks End

The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, ended December 11 with an agreement that included provisions that were left unfinished at last year’s Cancun conference.  These included: (1) rules for a new climate fund for poorer nations (Green Climate Fund); (2) the structure of an international network of technology centers; (3) an agreement to preserve forests; and (4) parameters for a system meant to increase the transparency of countries’ emissions reduction actions.

The final provision was the most heavily debated piece and lays the groundwork for a future agreement in which all major emitters – including developed and developing countries – are legally bound by the same reduction targets, regardless of GDP.  This is a significant shift from the current Kyoto Protocol paradigm in which developing countries are not required to reduce emissions. In addition, the European Union committed to establish new emission reduction targets for a second phase of the Kyoto Protocol, starting in 2013.

Negotiators in Durban agreed to scope and finalize the text of a new climate change treaty by 2015 with a 2020 effective date – the details of which will be hard fought.  A number of stumbling blocks remain, including: (1) equity and consensus around country emission cuts targets; (2) a source of funding to assist developing countries deal with the effects of climate change; and (3) the form of any legally binding commitment. The current consensus language, “an agreed outcome with legal force,” is vague and could be disputed.  Moreover, the outcome of the 2012 U.S. presidential election could further shift U.S. priorities on climate change. While the Durban climate talks were a victory for those seeking a framework for a legally binding climate treaty, the details remain largely undecided. Contact: David Calabrese

Standards Policy Committee Discusses ISO Subcommittee Participation, International Priorities
AHRI’s Standards Policy Committee (SPC) convened for a web conference
meeting on December 13, 2011, and acted on several issues. AHRI has
served as secretariat to three ISO subcommittees (SC) under Technical
Committee (TC) 86, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning:
  • SC3, Testing and rating of factory-made refrigeration systems;SC6, Testing and rating of air conditioners and heat pumps; andSC7, Testing and rating of commercial refrigerated display cabinets.
  • Staff initiated discussion with relevant product sections during AHRI's
  • recent Annual Meeting.  Except for ISO/TC 86/SC6 activities, which has
  • several projects of interest underway, members did not express interest
  • in pursuing ISO TC 86 international standardization projects.  The
  • Committee agreed to continue to serve as secretariat for now,
  • particularly since SC6 is of interest, and to monitor AHRI’s role in the
  • near future for the other low level SCs.  The Committee reconfirmed
  • AHRI's commitment to the continued global acceptance of AHRI standards.
Staff made a presentation on 2012 AHRI international priorities, and the Committee developed some comments for the International Committee, including: influencing minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) and market surveillance programs abroad; continuing AHRI’s involvement with EPEE on F-gas, eco-design labeling, and market surveillance issues; monitoring key foreign developments, informing members, and indicating actions needed; and advocating rational discussions of refrigerant policy.

The SPC also received and accepted reports from the Technical Committee on Sound; the CSS Laboratory Liaison Committee; and the Committee on Electrical Standardization.  Contact: Michael Woodford.


THE WEEK OF DECEMBER 5, 2011

CP&P Committee Approves Operations Manuals for All Certification Programs

The Certification Program & Policies (CP&P) Committee met on December 1 to review the product-specific Operations Manuals (OMs) for all certification programs. The OMs were approved by the members of the relevant product sections at AHRI’s Annual Meeting in November, and were presented to the CP&P Committee for final approval. All sections with certification programs revised their OMs to comply with the new requirements outlined in the certification white paper.

All OMs were approved by the Committee, several with modifications. A revised General Operations Manual was also approved by the Committee, and its changes reflect the principles and guidelines of the white paper that are common to all certification programs. Revisions to the General Operations Manual also address organizational changes intended to better explain the program rules and to enable the participants to quickly find information on topics of interest. The product-specific OMs and the General Operations Manual will be in effect starting with 2012 certification testing. Contact: Bill Tritsis.

AHRI Welcomes Cade Clark

The AHRI Policy Department is pleased to announce its newest member, Cade Clark. Cade will serve as Assistant Vice President of Government Affairs and will be responsible for overseeing the government and congressional affairs staff, and managing the association’s government affairs department.  Cade comes to AHRI from the National Association of Water Companies, where he has over ten years of experience managing the organization’s federal and state advocacy efforts. Contact: Dave Calabrese.

More Than 2,000 Exhibitors Expected at 2012 AHR Expo

The International Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration (AHR) Expo will be held January 23-25, 2012, in Chicago, Ill. More than 2,000 exhibiting companies are expected, from more than 30 countries around the world. Don’t miss your opportunity to be part of what will be the largest AHR Expo ever held. The AHR Expo is jointly sponsored by ASHRAE, AHRI, and the International Exposition Company (IEC). Learn more about the Expo here. Contact: Francis Dietz.

AHRI Pushes for Passage of Energy Legislation

As the 112th Congress concludes its first session, it has focused on tying up loose ends.  In addition to finalizing spending bills, energy legislation is also on the table.  AHRI is continuing to advocate for passage of its top legislative priority – INCAAA – however, due to its complexity and the breadth of its provisions, it appears unlikely that it will be able to pass before the end of the year.  Instead, AHRI and its Hill allies are putting together a more focused bill that would include several elements of INCAAA, including (1) minimum energy efficiency standards for certain commercial refrigeration products (Service over the Counter Products); (2) changes to the DOE water heater test procedure; and (3) the building code provisions contained in AHRI’s regional standards consensus agreement.  The hope is that such a bill could be considered by the House and Senate under expedited procedures in the next few weeks.  AHRI will update members as this legislation progresses. Contact: Dave Calabrese.

Urge Your Representative to Support a 25C Extension

As the calendar year draws to a close, as many as 60 different tax provisions are set to expire. Included in these are the Nonbusiness Energy Property tax credits, also known as 25C tax credits. These provide homeowners with a credit of up to 10 percent on their tax liability for energy efficiency improvements made to their primary residences. AHRI, along with its allies and other national organizations, has been urging Congress to extend the expiration date and increase the amount reimbursed to taxpayers.

Representatives Peter Welch (D-VT) and David McKinley (R-WV) are circulating a letter among their Congressional colleagues to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) supporting the continuation of the 25C credits before the conclusion of 2011. AHRI urges members to contact their Congressional representatives to ask for their signature on the letter, available here. AHRI wants to send a message to the Speaker and Minority Leader that the 25C credits have the strong support of their fellow Congressmen and the people and businesses they represent in Congress. Contact: Guido Zucconi.

AHRI Participates in British Columbia Workshop on Recycling Regulations

On December 1, 2011, the British Columbia Ministry of Environment held a public workshop on its recycling regulations.  Effective July 1, 2012, the province of British Columbia will require manufacturers of air conditioning, heating, water heating and refrigeration products doing business in the province to take Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for the life cycle management of their products. This EPR includes collection and recycling at the end of the product’s useful life.  

In collaboration with our sister association in Canada, the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI), a general industry stewardship plan was developed to respond to the regulation. This plan has been filed with the British Columbia Ministry of Environment and was reviewed at the workshop. Initial feedback from the Ministry has been positive, and based on the comments received, a revised plan will be submitted by the end of the year.  Contact: Aniruddh Roy.

DOE Publishes Request for Information on Means to Reduce Regulatory Burden

On December 5, 2011, the Department of Energy (DOE) published a Federal Register notice requesting input from stakeholders on ways the Agency’s regulatory program could become more effective and less burdensome on industry while still achieving its objectives.

Specifically, the notice seeks comments and information from interested parties to assist DOE in reviewing its existing regulations to determine if any should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed.  AHRI will submit comments before the January 4, 2012, deadline.  Contact: Frank Stanonik.

NRCan Modifies Proposed Efficiency Requirements

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) has issued an update on Amendment 13 to the Energy Efficiency Regulations, which covers revisions initially proposed between April and October 2010. The update does include modifications to the proposals covering air handlers, commercial boilers, commercial refrigerators, and residential and commercial water heaters. Amendment 13 will be published officially in the Canada Gazette, Part I, later this month, with a 75-day comment period. Contact: Frank Stanonik.

AHRI Comments on Revised ENERGY STAR Water Heater Specification

On December 2, 2011, AHRI submitted comments on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Draft 2, Version 2.0 ENERGY STAR Program Requirements Product Specification for Residential Water Heaters. Because Draft 2 incorporated many of the recommendations made in earlier AHRI comments, the December 2 comments addressed other modifications made in Draft 2 and recommended a test procedure for measuring the standby loss of point of use, electric storage water heaters. Contact: Frank Stanonik.

California Energy Commission Announces Intent to Disallow Zoning Compliance Credit; Ban Bypasses in Residential Systems

The California Energy Commission (CEC) recently notified AHRI of its intent to disallow the current Title 24 performance compliance credit for residential zone control equipment, and to disallow installation of supply-to-return bypasses in any residential HVAC systems subject to the Title 24 regulations.

AHRI and its Zone Control System Technology Section had provided the CEC with extensive documentation related to reduced residential energy use resulting from zone control systems.  In a letter to AHRI dated December 2, 2011, the CEC rejected the documentation, and claimed instead that the use of supply-to-return bypasses in zone systems actually reduces air conditioner and furnace efficiency.  The agency also stated its understanding that “there are currently no fully variable speed air conditioners [i.e. those with a minimum airflow rate of 350 CFM per ton of cooling capacity] being sold in California’s residential HVAC market,” a claim zone control manufacturers dispute. AHRI will continue to work with the CEC to mitigate any adverse effects of these decisions. Contact: Aniruddh Roy.

Comments Requested on Revised ASHRAE Standard 147-2002

Constructive comments are invited on the 3rd Public Review of BSR/ASHRAE Standard 147-2002R, Reducing the Release of Halogenated Refrigerants from Air-Conditioning Equipment and Systems. This revision of Standard 147 updates the 2002 edition by: expanding the number of equipment types and systems covered; providing significant requirements for field-erected systems; adding more sections on leak checking; adding requirements for systems with larger charges; addressing the shipping and handling of containers for refrigerants; and making many formerly recommended practices mandatory.
 
Public Review Drafts can be accessed by visiting ASHRAE’s Standards and Actions and Public Review Drafts.  To obtain a paper copy of any Public Review Draft, contact: ASHRAE, Inc. Attn: Standards Public Review, 1791 Tullie Circle, NE, Atlanta, GA 30329-2305, or email standards.section@ashrae.org. Comments are due by January 16, 2012. Contact: Mike Woodford.


THE WEEK OF NOVEMBER 28, 2011

Plan Ahead for AHRI’s 2012 Events

AHRI has a full calendar of meetings and events planned for next year. Be sure to mark your calendars for the following events in 2012:
  • AHR Expo, January 23-25, Chicago, IL
  • AHRI Public Policy Symposium, March 20-21, Park Hyatt Hotel, Washington, D.C.
  • AHRI Executive Committee Meetings, March 20, Park Hyatt Hotel, Washington, DC; and October 16, AHRI HQ
  • AHRI Spring Meeting, May 9-11, Crystal Gateway Marriott, Arlington, VA (Board meets May 9)
  • AHRI Annual Meeting, November 11-13, La Quinta Resort and Spa, La Quinta, CA (Board meets November 11)
Visit AHRI’s Meetings & Events page for further details. Contact: Brittany Buchanan.

Register for the AHR Expo

The International Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration (AHR) Expo will be held January 23-25, 2012, in Chicago, Ill. More than 2,000 exhibiting companies are expected, from more than 30 countries around the world. Don’t miss your opportunity to be part of what will be the largest AHR Expo ever held.

The AHR Expo is jointly sponsored by ASHRAE, AHRI, and the International Exposition Company (IEC). Learn more about the Expo here. Contact: Francis Dietz.

New AHRI Member

AHRI is pleased to welcome new member company Karl Dungs, Inc,. of Blaine, Minn., which is participating in the Controls Section.

Contact: Emma Keiswetter.

AHRI Comments on DOE RFI on Efficiency Test Procedures

On November 28, 2011, AHRI submitted comments responding to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) request for  information regarding the current efficiency test procedures for residential water heaters, direct heating equipment, and pool heaters.

The comments supported the development of a modified simulated use test procedure for water heaters, the inclusion of a procedure to test condensing direct heating equipment, and reaffirmed AHRI’s objection to the integrated thermal efficiency metric proposed for pool heaters. Contact: Frank Stanonik.

AHRI Files Comments on Off-Mode Test Procedures for Residential Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps

On November 23, 2011, AHRI submitted comments on the Department of Energy (DOE) supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking amending the off-mode test procedures for residential central air conditioners and heat pumps.  In its comments, AHRI noted that the amended test procedures are a significant improvement over the previous version, published in April 2011.  

Other comments submitted by AHRI include recommendations to:  (1) extend the off-mode power consumption methodology developed for multiple compressor systems to modulated compressors; (2) limit testing of split systems to the outdoor condensing unit only; and (3) conduct the off-mode test before the steady test ‘B’ and after the steady state ‘A.’ Finally, the comments suggest changes to the off-mode test procedure at 57oF, and pointed out several typographical errors in the document. Contact: Karim Amrane.

New Certification Participants
AHRI is pleased to welcome the following new participants to its certification program (program in italics):
  • Niles Steel Tank Company – Indirect-Fired Water Heaters (IWH)
  • Thermal Hydronic Supply – Residential Boilers (RBLR)
Contact: Sunil Nanjundaram.

AHRI Cooling Standards Subcommittee Approves Four Standards

AHRI’s Cooling Standards Subcommittee (CSS) convened by web conference on November 29, 2011, and reviewed revisions to four AHRI standards. Pending follow-up letter ballot votes of absentee members, the CSS approved the following for publication:
AHRI Standard 550/590 (I-P) – 2011, Performance Rating of Water-Chilling and Heat Pump Water-Heating Packages Using the Vapor Compression Cycle
AHRI Standard 551/591 (SI) – 2011, Performance Rating of Water-Chilling and Heat Pump Water-Heating Packages Using the Vapor Compression Cycle
AHRI Standard 1320 (I-P)-2011, Performance Rating of Commercial Refrigerated Display Merchandisers and Storage Cabinets for Use with Secondary Refrigerants
AHRI Standard 1321 (SI)-2011, Performance Rating Of Commercial Refrigerated Display Merchandisers and Storage Cabinets for Use with Secondary Refrigerants

They will be available shortly for free download from the AHRI website. Contact: Michael Woodford.

Comments Requested on BSR/ASHRAE Standard 209
Constructive comments are invited on the Title, Purpose, and Scope (TPS) for the newly approved project, BSR/ASHRAE Standard 209, Energy Simulation Aided Design for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings. The purpose of the project is to define minimum requirements for providing energy design assistance using building energy simulation and analysis.
 
This standard applies to new buildings or major renovations of, or additions to, existing buildings utilizing energy simulation during the design process. This standard does not apply to single-family houses, multi-family structures of three stories or fewer above grade, manufactured houses (mobile homes), and modular homes.
 
Titles, Purposes, and Scopes for public comment can be accessed by going to ASHRAE’s Standards and Actions and Online Comment Database home page. All activity for reviewing and commenting on public review drafts can be accomplished completely within this site. Comments are due by December 25, 2011.  Contact: Michael Woodford.