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AHRI Update: November 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 NOVEMBER 21, 2011
AHRI’s Annual Meeting Attracts More Than 500 Attendees

AHRI’s Annual Meeting was held in Bonita Springs, Florida, November 12-15. More than 500 people attended the meeting, which included plenty of networking opportunities, product section meetings, and a lively Q&A with Ashley Armstrong from the Department of Energy.

AHRI members are invited to view information and presentations from the Annual Meeting on the Members Only website (simply click the blue headline on the home page). Materials available include:
  • Cooling Session, ASHRAE Standard 15
  • Cooling Session, ASHRAE Standard 34
  • Cooling Session, European Partnership for Energy and the Environment
  • Heating Session, CSA
  • Heating Session, HRAI
  • Jason Dorsey, Gen Y Guy, speech summary
  • Joint Industry Session, featuring Ashley Armstrong, Department of Energy
  • Major Issues Highlights
  • Need to Know Presentation
  • Rees Scholarship Foundation donation form
Contribute to the Rees Scholarship Foundation Today!
The Rees Scholarship Foundation is nearing the end of its 2011 fundraising campaign. Please make your tax-deductible donation today. If you would like to identify another contact at your company for the Rees Scholarship, please contact Monica Cardenas.

New Leadership Announced
AHRI’s new Chairman, Ajita Rajendra, President & COO of A.O. Smith, addressed the membership during the Annual Meeting. He emphasized the need for AHRI to work with industry partners to pass key legislation on Capitol Hill, and called on members to work together to make AHRI’s certification program even more credible in the United States and across the globe.

Morrison Carter, President and CEO of Beckett Gas, Inc., will serve as Immediate Past Chairman. Harry Holmes, President of Morrison Products, was named Vice Chairman; and Chris Drew, Vice President, Burnham Holdings, Inc., was named Treasurer. Click here to view the entire Board of Directors.

Operations Manuals Update
During last week’s Annual Meeting, 37 certification program Operations Manuals (OMs) were approved by the members of product sections with certification programs. The success was a result of a remarkable effort by the compliance committee members who worked to implement the requirements and guidelines outlined in the certification white paper.

The OMs will next be presented to the Certification Programs and Policy (CP&P) Committee for final approval. The CP&P Committee will also review the General Operations Manual, which was revised by AHRI staff to reflect the new requirements outlined in the white paper that are common to all certification programs. The General Operations Manual rewrite also includes organizational changes intended to better explain the program rules and to enable the participants to quickly find information on topics of interest. 
Contact: Bill Tritsis.

AHRI Presents Industry Awards
AHRI presented awards to deserving individuals both within and outside of the association.

The following members were presented with the Richard C. Schulze Awards for distinguished service to AHRI and the industry’s goals and objectives:
Charles Adams, Director of Government Affairs, A.O. Smith Water Products Co.;
Keith Coursin, President, Desert-Aire, Inc.;
Ruth Ann Davis, Vice President of Sales, Williams Furnace Co.; and
Kyle Gilley, Vice President of Government Affairs, Lennox International.

In addition, Steven Nadel, Executive Director, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, was presented the AHRI Public Service Award for significant contributions to the HVACR and water heating industry. Richard J. “Dick” Schul, Group Vice President, Emerson Climate Technologies, received the AHRI Distinguished Service Award, AHRI’s highest award for leaders in the industry who have made significant contributions throughout their careers. He is pictured above with Immediate Past Chairman Morrison Carter, President and CEO of Beckett Gas, Inc. (left) and AHRI President & CEO Steve Yurek (right).

Contact: Monica Cardenas.

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 sponsored by ASHRAE, HRAI, and AHRI. Learn more about the Expo here.

Contact: Francis Dietz.

Industry News from HRAI

The Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute (HRAI) of Canada recently published the November issue of HRAI Link.

Click over to HRAI for information on Amendment 13 from Natural Resources Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency, HRAI’s new advertising campaign, and proposed changes to the British Columbia Building Code.

Contact: Monica Cardenas.

AHRI Datacom Cooling Products Section

At its meeting on November 13, 2011, AHRI’s Board of Directors unanimously approved the formation of a Datacom Cooling Products Section.  This section will cover products that are designed for the primary purpose of providing cooling for data centers.  

The section will be working to develop a rating and testing standard, to be followed by an industry certification program.  The need for an industry standard and certification program is growing as these products become more prominent and more focus is placed on their energy efficiency.  

Contact: Henry Hwong.

EnergyGuide Label Rulemaking

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) released an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking seeking input from stakeholders on new labeling requirements and other disclosures needed to help consumers and installers determine if a product conforms with the regional standards.  

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 requires the FTC to complete a rulemaking within 15 months from the publication of the final rule establishing regional standards.   The Agency is seeking general comments on the label content, its location and format, on whether separate disclosures should be developed, and if these new disclosures will benefit consumers.  FTC has scheduled a public meeting on December 16, 2011, at the Department of Energy headquarters and will accept comments until January 10, 2012.  

AHRI will work with the Furnace, Unitary Small Equipment, and Ductless Equipment product sections to develop industry comments.  For more information, please consult the FTC website.  

Contact: Karim Amrane.

ENERGY STAR's Most Efficient: Proposed 2012 Recognition Criteria

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided to extend its “Most Efficient of ENERGY STAR” pilot program through the 2012 calendar year. A summary of the 2012 program can be accessed here. The proposed 2012 criteria apply to the following products:
Although boilers were considered for inclusion in the 2011 program, the EPA could not complete its program analysis prior to the stakeholder review period. The 2012 criteria require boilers to have a minimum AFUE of 95 percent and be ENERGY STAR qualified consistent with applicable ENERGY STAR partner commitments and the requirements set forth in the ENERGY STAR Program Requirements Product Specification Version 2.1. Product performance must be certified by an EPA-recognized certification body such as AHRI.

In the case of central air conditioners, heat pumps, and furnaces, the proposed 2012 criteria largely include the same requirements as those listed in the 2011 criteria. Although the performance levels remain unchanged, EPA’s 2012 proposal replaces “diagnostics” with the “system status” characteristic. System status is a characteristic that allows units to transmit any fault codes that indicate a need for technician service to at least one system controller model that is available for sale. With this information, the control device is able to advise homeowners to call their service personnel.

The EPA will host a conference call on November 30, 2011, from 12-2pm EST to discuss the proposed criteria with interested parties. To participate, please reply to mostefficient@energystar.gov by November 28, 2011. The Agency will distribute conference call details to all confirmed participants. Additional comments from industry on the proposed criteria will be accepted until Thursday, December 15, 2011. The comments can be submitted to mostefficient@energystar.gov.

Contact: Aniruddh Roy.

DOE Final Rule - Energy Conservation Standards for Direct Heating Equipment

On Friday, November 18, 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published in the Federal Register its final rule for energy conservation standards for direct heating equipment.  The full text of the final rule can be accessed here.

The final rule amends the definitions pertaining to direct heating equipment. Specifically, the definition of “vented hearth heater” has been amended to clarify the scope of the current exclusion for those vented hearth heaters that are primarily decorative hearth products. The amendment to the existing exclusion shifts the focus from a maximum input capacity limitation (i.e.., 9,000 Btu/h) to a number of other factors, including a pilot light or other continuously-burning ignition source.

Contact: Aniruddh Roy.

Australia Passes Carbon Tax

On November 8, 2011, the Australian upper house (Senate) passed the Clean Energy Bill, which will now become law. Australia will be the second major economy, preceded by the European Union, to pass carbon-limiting legislation. The resulting law would impose a carbon tax on 500 of the country’s alleged biggest polluters starting July 1, 2012, and would progress to an emissions trading scheme in July 2015.

The carbon tax will affect the HVACR industry in two ways: First, the new tax will encourage greater energy efficiency as electricity prices will continue to rise. Second, the bill includes a carbon equivalence levy for HFCs.

While HFCs have been exempted from the emissions trading scheme, they will incur a carbon equivalence levy managed under existing legislation, the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act. The levy will be implemented July 1, 2012, and will apply to both bulk refrigerant imports and imports of charged equipment. The levy for HCFs will be based on the GWP values determined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its 2001 study. Levies will be adjusted annually to reflect the prevailing carbon price.

An analysis by the Australian Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration Equipment Manufacturers Association (AREMA) projects that the carbon equivalence levy would typically add US $30/kg for R134a and US $75/kg for R404A at the point of importation. The estimated annual costs to the industry in the first year are expected to be in the vicinity of US $275 million.

This is important for all manufacturers, even those not doing business in Australia, as this trend for a HFC levy could be replicated in other countries or states.

To view the entire Clean Energy Bill, click here. (Pages 28 and 105 include information on refrigerants)

Contact: Shelley Pursell.



THE WEEK OF NOVEMBER 7, 2011
AHRI Prepares to Host 2011 Annual Meeting; Near-record Attendance Expected

More than 550 people are registered to attend AHRI’s Annual Meeting in Bonita Springs, Florida, beginning this Saturday, November 12.

More than 30 section meetings will be conducted over the four-day meeting, allowing AHRI members to actively participate in discussions related to their products. In addition, AHRI will provide vital updates on industry initiatives, certification programs, and legislative and regulatory changes.

Amid all of the business, there will still be plenty of time for  networking and fun, including two golf tournaments, a tennis tournament, sightseeing tours, and the annual Chairman’s Reception and Dinner-Dance.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Contact: Carol Loughney.

AHRI President and CEO Meets with ACCA Board of Directors

AHRI President and CEO Steve Yurek attended a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Air-Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) last month.  In his remarks and the discussion that followed, Yurek covered issues that impact both associations, including the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Direct Final Rule setting regional standards for residential furnaces, heat pumps, and central air conditioners.  Yurek assured his audience that the manufacturers are eager to work with them and with HARDI on an industry enforcement plan to present to DOE for the new standards.  DOE is required by law to begin an enforcement rulemaking within 90 days of publishing the Direct Final Rule in the Federal Register, which occurred October 31.  The rule must be completed by January 31, 2013, and DOE has already invited enforcement ideas from the industry.  

Yurek also expressed his desire for a closer working relationship with ACCA, noting the history of cooperation and partnership among ACCA, ARI, GAMA, and AHRI.

Contact: Francis Dietz.

New AHRI Members

AHRI is pleased to welcome two new members.
  • SNTech, Inc., of Phoenix, Arizona, is participating in the Blowers, Fans, and Motors Section.
  • dPoint Technologies, Inc., of Vancouver, BC, Canada, is participating in the Energy Recovery Ventilation Equipment Section.
Contact: Emma Keiswetter.

DOE Begins Verification Testing

The Department of Energy (DOE) began targeted verification testing of ENERGY STAR and other residential and commercial products. The tests will evaluate how models comply with ENERGY STAR specifications and Federal energy conservation standards.

Independent laboratories such as Intertek and CSA have been used to test residential and commercial products.

Contact: Bill Tritsis.

ANSI Standards Now Available

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has approved seven AHRI standards and two addenda to AHRI Standards.  All of the standards and addenda were approved in October and November 2011 and all have become American National Standards.  

The following is a list of the AHRI standards and addenda with their new designations that were approved and are available on the AHRI website, ANSI website, and others:

  • Addendum 1 to ANSI/AHRI Standard 210/240-2008, Performance Rating of Unitary Air Conditioning & Air-Source Heat Pump Equipment
  • Addendum 2 to ANSI/AHRI Standard 340/360-2007, Performance Rating of Commercial and Industrial Unitary Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Equipment
  • ANSI/AHRI Standard 530-2011, Rating of Sound and Vibration for Refrigerant Compressors
  • ANSI/AHRI Standard 880 (I-P)-2011, Performance Rating of Air Terminals
  • ANSI/AHRI Standard 881 (SI)-2011, Performance Rating of Air Terminals
  • ANSI/AHRI Standard 1060 (I-P)-2011, Performance Rating of Air-to-Air Heat Exchangers for Energy Recovery Ventilation Equipment
  • ANSI/AHRI Standard 1061 (SI)-2011, Performance Rating of Air-to-Air Heat Exchangers for Energy Recovery Ventilation Equipment
  • ANSI/AHRI Standard 1160 (I-P)-2009, Performance Rating of Heat Pump Pool Heaters
  • ANSI/AHRI Standard 1161 (SI)-2011, Performance Rating of Heat Pump Pool Heaters

Contact: Danny Abbate.

U.S. Senate Offices Request AHRI’s Assistance on Building Code Legislation

On November 2, AHRI, ASHRAE, and several member companies held a meeting with senior staff from the offices of Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) to discuss S. 1000, their legislation that would provide the Department of Energy (DOE) with authority to establish residential and commercial building codes outside of the ASHRAE and the International Code Council (ICC) consensus processes.  

This legislation, which has been under consideration in the Senate for several months, includes a variety of provisions that support energy efficiency; however, AHRI members have expressed concern that it would unnecessarily insert DOE into the consensus-based building code process. Under the bill’s provisions, DOE would establish aggregate energy savings targets that ASHRAE and ICC would have to meet in their code-writing activities.  If their codes did not meet those levels, DOE would seize the code and develop its own national codes for state adoption. AHRI and ASHRAE are concerned that this provision would destroy the well-functioning consensus-based building code process that has resulted in, for example, successive ASHRAE 90.1 codes that have included significant building energy savings.  

As a result of these meetings, AHRI was asked to lead negotiations with environmental advocate groups to try to find common ground and a path forward with this legislation.

Contact: Dave Calabrese.

A Change in How California Regulates

Senate Bill 617, signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in October, will change the way California adopts new major regulations beginning November 1, 2013. According to SB 617, major regulations are defined as those having an economic impact on California businesses and/or individuals greater than $50 million.

The law revises various provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) and requires each state agency to prepare a standardized regulatory impact analysis with respect to the adoption, amendment, or repeal of a major regulation proposed on or after November 1, 2013.  Agencies are required to prepare a report to the California Department of Finance justifying the following potential impacts:
a) The creation or elimination of jobs within the state;
b) The creation of new businesses or the elimination of existing businesses within the state;
c) The competitive advantages or disadvantages for businesses currently doing business in California;
d) The increase or decrease of investment in the state; and
e) The creation of favorable or unfavorable market conditions for a specific product.

Contact: Phillip Wallace.