AHRI Update: September 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.

September 27, 2012

Senate Passes AHRI-supported Regulatory Relief Measures Prior to Election Break
Shortly before adjourning for its election recess, the Senate passed H.R. 4850, legislation that contains long-sought regulatory relief measures for manufacturers of water heaters, small-duct high-velocity equipment, and service-over-the-counter commercial refrigerators, as well as technical corrections to the existing U.S. Code. The bill, which was originally passed by the House and then amended and passed by the Senate, will be sent back to the House for its re-consideration during the “lame duck” session expected to occur following the election.

AHRI staff worked diligently with Senators to remove or revise language that could have made passage more problematic. As a result of these efforts, the bill was made more palatable to those Senators who had originally raised objections to the bill on grounds that it increased federal regulatory power. The AHRI-requested changes may also have reduced the number of objections that might have occurred to the bill in the Republican-led House. 

AHRI’s Policy Brief includes further details about the legislation. AHRI, its members, and other stakeholders are grateful to the Senators for their hard work in passing these vital regulatory relief measures for our industry. While Congress is in recess, AHRI staff will work with Congressional staff to pave the way for a House vote when lawmakers return. Contact:Cade Clark.

Mercedes-Benz Drops Plans to Switch to Refrigerant R1234yf; Will Stick with R134a
In a move likely to reverberate throughout both the automotive and the HVACR industries, Mercedes-Benz announced this week that “real-life test scenarios” conducted with automobiles using the refrigerant R1234yf turned up safety issues the company finds incompatible with its safety standards. Mercedes-Benz officials said the refrigerant will not be used in its products. Instead, the company will continue to use what it termed “the proven and safe R134a refrigerant in its vehicles.”

In the “real-life” test, the automaker dynamically dispersed the refrigerant at high pressure near to hot components of the test vehicle’s exhaust system – a test that would correspond to a serious head-on collision in which the refrigerant line was severed. The company said the test found that refrigerant “can indeed prove to be flammable in a hot engine compartment,” even though it is difficult to ignite in laboratory test conditions. Contact: Karim Amrane.

AHRI Participates in Washington State Building Code Discussions
On September 21, AHRI staff participated in a public hearing of the Washington State Building Code Council in Olympia, Washington. The Council is considering amendments to the 2012 Washington State Energy Code, including provisions that concern energy efficiency or energy use of HVAC equipment and water heaters covered by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA). AHRI is working with the Council to ensure that any revisions to the Code comply with EPCA’s federal preemption provisions. Contact: Dave Calabrese.

AHRI Submits Comments on BPI Draft Standard on Residential Quality Assurance
On September 17, AHRI submitted comments on the Building Performance Institute’s (BPI) draft standard for Residential Building Quality Assurance Related to Post Installation Field Inspection (BPI 6300-S). This draft standard is intended to provide requirements for quality inspections of residential buildings and to include protocols for third-party inspectors to confirm that home performance upgrade measures have been installed properly. AHRI’s comments noted that many sections of the draft standard digressed from the purpose of the document and addressed matters that were within the jurisdiction of local code officials. The comments also noted a number of issues with the protocols for inspecting combustion equipment in the draft standard. Contact: Frank Stanonik.

AHRI Staff Visit Marvair
AHRI staff members Rupert Alfiler and Frank Stanonik recently visited AIRXCEL, Inc.’s Marvair Division, in Cordele, Georgia. Marvair’s Director of Engineering Thompson Matambo led a tour of Cordele, after which Marvair President Paul Mechler and the engineering department met with AHRI staff to discuss certification activities and Department of Energy regulatory issues. Later, Marvair and AHRI staff participated in a web conference meeting of the Single Packaged Vertical Units (SPVU) Engineering Committee, chaired by Marvair Director of Engineering Bill Johnson. Contact: Rupert Alfiler.

NATE Board of Trustees Meets in Arlington
The NATE Board of Trustees met September 13 in Arlington, Virginia. Chairman Don Frendberg presided over the meeting, during which members of AHRI’s staff provided updates on government relations activities, NATE’s marketing agency shared an overview of initiatives for 2012 and beyond, and Director of Certification Denny Smith provided the latest information on NATE’s certification program. Read more about the Board of Trustees meeting here.

Joel Owen, Technical Committee Chairman, reported on the activities of the committee, which met in August in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Technical Committee is responsible for all exam and certification policies and procedures.

NATE was founded in 1997 as the nation’s largest industry-endorsed, non-profit certification organization for heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration technicians. NATE tests technicians while others train. Testing validates the technician’s knowledge and a training program’s instruction. NATE-approved testing organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada offer NATE tests. Candidates can earn installation and/or service certification in nine specialty areas. Contact: Denny Smith. Above: NATE Board of Trustees in Arlington, Va.

ASHRAE/NIST Refrigerants Conference Announced
ASHRAE and the National Institute of Standards & Technology are hosting a conference to address the need for alternative refrigerants with low GWP on October 29 -30 in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The conference will include keynote presentations from James Calm, engineering consultant, and Dr. Steve Montzka of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. Registration for the conference is open, and can be accessed on ASHRAE’s website here. Please note that registration closes October 18. Contact: Sean Lynch.

United States Hosts Major Meeting of International Standardization Experts
Last week, the 2012 General Assembly of the International Organization for Standardization(ISO) was held in San Diego, Calif. The event featured more than 600 delegates and guests from ISO's 163 member countries. 

Events included an Open Session that focused on innovation and sustainability and featured keynote speakers Denise Naguib, senior director of sustainability for Marriott International, and innovation consultant Phil McKinney. The Open Session was an opportunity for stakeholders from around the world to discuss the current issues related to how standards might assist sustainable development. Please click here for more information on the 2012 ISO General Assembly. Contact: Michael Woodford.

Technical Committee on Sound Call for Members
The AHRI Technical Committee on Sound (TCoS) is actively seeking additional participation from AHRI member companies. This committee develops and maintains AHRI sound rating and test method standards for HVACR equipment. It also works with ASHRAE, the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), ISO, and other standards-writing bodies that develop acoustical standards affecting HVACR equipment. The TCoS develops AHRI positions on regulatory and legislative issues related to acoustics.

Individuals from the following member companies currently participate: Aaon; Carrier; Emerson; Ingersoll Rand (Trane); Johnson Controls; Rheem; Price; Tecumseh; and Temtrol. If you are interested in participating or require more information, please contactDanny Abbate.

Datacom Cooling Product Section Meets
The Datacom Cooling Product Section, which consists of APC, Parker, and Emerson Climate Technologies, met on September 20. Ron Spangler of Emerson was appointed interim product section chair, and John H. Bean, Jr., of APC, as deputy interim product section chair, effective until the official Product Section Officer elections. The section discussed governance issues and the introduction of AHRI draft Standards 1360P and 1361P, Performance Rating of Computer and Data Processing Room Unitary Air Conditioners. The Datacom Engineering Committee is scheduled to meet in mid-October to begin work on these standards. Contact: Richie Mohan.

Advisory Panels for National Fuel Gas Code Meet to Review Proposals
The Piping, Venting, and Equipment Advisory Panels of the National Fuel Gas Code (NFGC) Committee met on September 18-20 to review the proposals that had been submitted for possible inclusion in the 2015 edition of the National Fuel Gas Code (Z223/NFPA54). The actions on each proposal recommended by the panels will be considered by the National Fuel Gas Code Committee at its meeting on October 16-18. One of the significant panel recommendations was to reject a proposal to require listing of all plastic piping used for venting. The Piping Panel also agreed to defer the consideration of all proposals regarding the coverage of Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (CSST) systems to the NFGC Committee. Contact: Frank Stanonik.

U.S. Technical Advisory Groups Prepare for Working Group Meetings
In preparation for upcoming ISO Working Group meetings scheduled for October 22-25 at AHRI headquarters in Arlington, Va., a meeting of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to ISO/TC 161 was held on September 12-13, at UL in Northbrook, Ill. The TAG considered proposed revisions to several international standards that were circulated for comment earlier in the year. These included the standards for automatic gas and oil valves, manual gas valves, thermoelectric flame supervision devices and a new proposed standard for gas quick connectors (GQC) that are intended strictly for use inside the appliance for the connection of gas piping and controls. The TAG is also working with international members on how to best address and/or eliminate regional requirements that stand in the way of global harmonization of the standards. 

U.S. National Committee TAG to IEC/TC 72 also met at UL, on September 11, to prepare for the IEC Working Group meetings scheduled for October 15-19, in Padua, Italy. The TAG considered a number of proposed revisions to the IEC 60730 series of standards that included pressure and temperature sensing controls, as well as electric door locks and actuators. The TAG also developed a U.S. position on several outstanding issues that needed to be resolved prior to the publication of the fifth edition of IEC 60730-1, Automatic electrical controls, Part 1: General requirements. Contact: Dave Delaquila.

Yurek Discusses U.S. Energy Efficiency Achievements at Beijing Symposium
This week in Beijing, AHRI President and CEO Stephen Yurek outlined the many accomplishments of the U.S. HVACR and water heating industry with regard to energy efficiency programs, practices, and innovation. Yurek’s address was delivered during a symposium in the Chinese capital, sponsored by the China Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Association (CRAA). More than 200 people attended the event to learn about the experiences of other nations regarding energy efficiency and energy saving technologies as the Chinese government works to meet its energy targets at a time of continued economic growth.

Stating that industry’s energy efficiency efforts are based on a desire for predictability, Yurek outlined a three-pronged industry strategy of anticipation, innovation, and participation. He lauded the industry’s energy efficiency achievements, noting that the minimum efficiency of residential HVAC and water heating products has more than doubled since 1980. The industry’s achievements are borne out in U.S. government statistics that show energy use per dollar of gross domestic product in the United States has fallen every year since 1982 and that per capita energy use in homes has also dropped since 1980. Yurek noted that this occurred even as the population and housing sizes have increased, and the use of electricity-using technology in each home has increased exponentially. Contact: Francis Dietz.

October 18 Seminar on EU Regulations, Buildings, and HVAC Equipment
REHVA, the Federation of European Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning Associations, an AHRI global partner, will hold a workshop on October 18 in Brussels on EU regulations for buildings and HVAC equipment. The program, hotel information, and registration material are available here. Contact: Jim Walters.

September 20, 2012

AHRI Member Company Presents Rees Scholarship Foundation Check
Keith Coursin, president of AHRI member company Desert Aire, presented a $2,000 Clifford H. “Ted” Rees, Jr., Scholarship Foundation check to James Jagler, a student at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Desert Aire, a supporter of the Rees Scholarship Foundation, presented the check at its facility in Germantown, Wisconsin. 

The Rees Scholarship Foundation recently awarded its 100th scholarship, and will give $20,000 in new scholarships this year. The Foundation was established in 2003 and has since awarded nearly $200,000 in scholarship funds to support students pursuing careers in the HVACR and water heating industry. For additional information on the foundation please visit its website. Contact: Marc Neufcourt

General Statistics Committee Meets at AHRI Headquarters
AHRI’s General Statistics Committee met on September 17 at AHRI Headquarters to discuss a number of issues, including ongoing efforts to increase data reporting accuracy and timeliness. The Committee voted to send quarterly report cards on data submittal performance to the CEO of each reporting company, and recommended eliminating reports that are no longer used by the relevant sections. The Applied and Unitary Statistical Subcommittees also met to discuss specific product definitions, review changes to existing reports, and discuss consistency in reporting. The next web-meeting of the General Statistics Committee is scheduled for June 13, 2013. Contact: Henry Hwong.

AHRI to Host Luncheon for AHRI Memberd during AHR Expo - Mexico
On September 26, AHRI will host a luncheon for its members participating in the AHR Expo – Mexico, in Monterrey. AHRI members will hear an assessment of the Mexican economic and political landscape from experts at the U.S. Departments of Commerce and State, followed by a discussion on future AHRI member activities and coordination in Mexico.

AHRI is a co-sponsor of the AHR Expo – Mexico, and will exhibit at booth 535. AHRI Members are encouraged to attend the luncheon and to visit the AHRI booth. The luncheon invitation and details can be found here. Contact: Shelley Pursell.

World Bank Celebrates Montreal Protocol Anniversary
AHRI participated in the 25th Anniversary celebration of the Montreal Protocol, hosted by the World Bank on September 19. The event included a technology fair, featuring exhibitors who have contributed technological advancements that have helped reach the goals set by the Montreal Protocol. A roundtable luncheon included discussion on progress made over the last 25 years, and on steps moving forward. AHRI President & CEO Stephen Yurek participated in the roundtable discussion, and AHRI exhibited at the technology fair and shared information on AHRI’s research programs, including the Low-GWP Alternative Refrigerants Evaluation Program. Contact: Monica Cardenas.

AHRI Voices Support for Carbon Monoxide Detector Legislation
AHRI released a statement this week in support of S. 3343, the Nicholas and Zachary Burt Memorial Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act, sponsored by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME). The bill would establish a federal performance standard for residential carbon monoxide detectors and encourage states to require the installation of detectors in all homes. AHRI encourages Congress to act before adjournment on this legislation, which has been referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Contact: Cade Clark.

AHRI Government Affairs Committee Meets
The AHRI Government Affairs Committee met to review advocacy efforts and set legislative priorities for the remaining days of the 112th Congress. The all-day meeting delved into details of a variety of legislation affecting HVAC, refrigeration and water heating manufacturers. Since actual Congressional working days are limited by the November elections, AHRI remains focused primarily on regulatory relief portions of INCAAA (S.398), strengthening AHRI’s testing and certification programs as a useful tool for the Department of Energy, and improving and extending federal efficiency incentives. The Committee meets again in early 2013 to provide AHRI with further direction on how to navigate Capitol Hill’s new political make-up. Contact: Cade Clark.

Rep. Myrick Raises Concerns to DOE Regarding Workforce Guidelines
Representative Sue Myrick (R-NC), a member of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, expressed serious reservations with the Department of Energy’s (DOE) development of federal Workforce Guidelines in a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu last week. 

“The release of the final version of the Workforce Guidelines is imminent, yet many organizations are still concerned that adverse comments filed in May will be ignored or unresolved,” Myrick wrote. Myrick requested that the Department of Energy delay release of the guidelines until she and other members of Congress have had more time to review them. 

AHRI and NATE have been among many stakeholders advocating for significant changes to the document, including the removal of specific standards related to the installation of HVAC equipment. Please click here to view the letter from Congresswoman Myrick to Secretary Chu. Contact: Phillip Wallace or Dave Calabrese.

Congressional Session Rapidly Drawing to a Close
Congress returned to Washington last week following its summer recess, but is set to adjourn again shortly to campaign. The brief return leaves only about six legislative working days before the election. The House of Representatives hit the ground running, quickly passing funding legislation known as a Continuing Resolution to keep the federal government operational for an additional six months following the October 1 start of the new fiscal year. The Senate continues to debate and hold procedural votes on the Continuing Resolution, which is delaying Senators’ departure from Washington. Both chambers are expected to conclude their business before next Wednesday’s Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. Plenty of important legislation, including mandatory budget cuts (also known as sequestration) and tax provisions (both expired and expiring) will remain untouched. These are likely to be addressed in a post-election legislative session, commonly known as a “lame duck” session, before the final adjournment of the 112th Congress. Contact: Guido Zucconi.

Important EPA Certification Developments
EPA has notified AHRI that as of October 1, 2012, AHRI must cease certification to the Version 3.0 ENERGY STAR® Furnaces specification and may only certify furnaces to the Version 4.0 specification. Information on products certified to Version 4.0 shall be submitted using the new XML-based web service that was recently introduced by EPA. Administrative modifications to existing certifications to the Version 3.0 specification may continue until February 1, 2013. Therefore, AHRI certification program participants who wish to qualify units for V3.0 are encouraged to submit the remaining qualifications as soon as possible, so that AHRI will have adequate time to review and upload the submissions to the EPA website before the deadline. 

The new Furnace Specification V4.0 requirements are:

In addition, EPA has notified AHRI that as of October 1, 2012, AHRI must cease certification to the Version 1.1 ENERGY STAR® Commercial Ice Machines specification and may only certify commercial ice machines to the Version 2.0 specification. Information on products certified to Version 2.0 shall be submitted using the new XML-based web service that was recently introduced by EPA. Administrative modifications to existing certifications to the Version 1.1 specification may continue until February 1, 2013. Contact: Bill Tritsis.

AHRI Hosts Technical Committee on Sound
The Technical Committee on Sound (TCoS) and its subcommittees met September 17-20 at AHRI Headquarters in Arlington, Va., to discuss recent developments and to continue the advancement of several AHRI sound standards. 
A new subcommittee developed its charter and began work on an update to the following standards:
  • AHRI Standard 270-2008, Sound Rating of Outdoor Unitary Equipment;
  • AHRI Standard 300-2008, Sound Rating and Sound Transmission Loss of Packaged Terminal Equipment; and
  • AHRI Standard 350-2008, Sound Rating of Non-Ducted Indoor Air Conditioning Equipment.
The AHRI Standard 1280 Subcommittee continued to review and develop proposed AHRI Standard 1280P, Sound Power Rating of Water-Cooled Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Equipment, which is nearing completion. Work started on the revision of ANSI/AHRI Standard 250-2008, Performance and Calibration of Reference Sound Sources. The Committee heard a progress report on the bias and uncertainty project being conducted by the University of Nebraska for AHRI’s use in completing Proposed AHRI Standard 1150P, Declaration and Verification of Noise Emission Values of HVAC Machinery and Equipment Using Published Sound Rating Values.

Finally, the Committee reconciled several issues regarding AHRI Standard 260-2011, Sound Rating of Ducted Air Moving and Conditioning Equipment that were raised by the Cooling Standards Subcommittee. Contact: Danny Abbate

ASHRAE Issues Call for Comments on Public Review Draft Standards
Public commentary is invited for several ASHRAE Public Review Drafts. Public Review Drafts can be accessed on ASHRAE’s Standards, Research & Technology/ Public Review Drafts web page. Comments are due by October 14, 2012.

Public Review of ASHRAE Addenda to ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 34-2010, Designation and Safety Classification of Refrigerants
  • Addendum ac - adds new zeotropic refrigerant R-444A.
  • Addendum ad - deletes the use of the potential formation of CF4 in Heat of Combustion calculations.
  • Addendum ae - changes the flammability safety classification from Class 2 to Class 1 for R30.
  • Addendum af – changes the RCL values for R402A, R415A, R415B, R418A, and R419A.
Public Review Draft of ASHRAE Addenda to ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2010, Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality
  • Addendum b - changes are being proposed that are intended to clarify what water treatment chemicals may be used.
  • Addendum j – adds requirements to the IAQ Procedure for determining minimum ventilation rates.
  • Addendum m - adds the National Standards for Total System Balance issued by the Associated Air Balance Council (AABC) as an equivalent method of balancing.
  • Addendum n – increases the filter requirements from MERV 6 to MERV 8.
Public Review of ASHRAE Addenda to ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 62.2-2010, Ventilation and Acceptable Indoor Air Quality in Low-Rise Residential
  • Addendum u – simplifies compliance with the intermittent ventilation requirements of Section 4.5.
  • Addendum v – clarifies the intent on how to calculate the building height.
  • Addendum w – provides additional performance-based combustion safety testing options that allow for the range of house characteristics to be accounted for regarding combustion safety.   
Public Review of ASHRAE Addenda to ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170-2008, Ventilation of Health Care Facilities
  • Addendum k – clarifies the requirement that “all” room air be exhausted directly to the outdoors and provides limitations as to the reuse of exhaust air for energy recovery.
  • Addendum n - clarifies the requirements for the calculation of outside air quantities for air handling systems and provides designers with two alternative calculation pathways thus providing more flexibility.   
  • Addendum v - provides clarification concerning design relative humidity requirements for spaces whose function is recovery and reduces the lower design humidity limit from 30% to 20% RH to match that of those spaces noted in Addendum d to ASHRAE Standard 170-2008.
Public Review of ASHRAE Addendum h to ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 55-2010, Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human OccupancyProposed Addendum h clarifies the normative requirements for determining clothing insulation for representative occupants and moves these normative requirements to the body of the Standard.   

Public Review of ASHRAE Standard 147-2002R, Reducing the Release of Halogenated Refrigerants from Air-Conditioning Equipment and Systems

This is a revision of the current published ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 147-2002. In response to comments received on the third public review draft, the ASHRAE committee has made some substantive changes to the draft that resulted in this public review.  

Public Review of Addenda to ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1-2011, Standard for the Design of High-Performance Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings
  • Addendum h - clarifies the requirements for a continuous air barrier in the standard as well as the requirements for air tightness commissioning.
  • Addendum i - modifies the climate zones to which the heat island Section (Roofs) applies.
  • Addendum j - clarifies shading provided by vegetation for the site hardscape and walls for heat island mitigation.
  • Addendum k - updates the Section Variable-Speed Fan Control for Commercial Kitchen Hoods.
  • Addendum l - recommends the inclusion of Table C-17 which contains the minimum efficiencies of transformers for buildings that are following path B of Section Minimum Equipment Efficiencies.
  • Addendum m - adds lighting quality requirements, recognizing that following good lighting practices is part of creating a high-performance building where occupants will be productive, comfortable, safe, and healthy.
  • Addendum o - adds a new mandatory provision to Section 9 establishing maximum mercury content levels for certain types of electric lamps.
  • Addendum p - removes the “Acceptance Testing” provision (Section, Building Acceptance Testing).
  • Addendum q - ensures and clarifies that systems that require commissioning also include commissioning of the associated control systems.
  • Addendum s - clarifies the requirements for outdoor airflow monitoring in Section 8 (Indoor Environmental Quality), along with operational requirements for such monitoring in Section 10 (Construction and Plans for Operation).
Contact: Michael Woodford.

New Certification Participants
AHRI is pleased to welcome the following new participants to our certification program (program in italics):
  • Aermec SpA – Water Chilling Packages Using the Vapor Compression Cycle (Air-Cooled) (ACCL)
  • Arctic Cool Chillers Limited – Water Chilling Packages Using the Vapor Compression Cycle (ACCL)
Contact: Sunil Nanjundaram.

AHRI International Committee Reviews MEPS, Harmonized Verification Programs
AHRI’s International Committee, chaired by Roger Richmond-Smith of Smardt Chiller Group, Inc., met at AHRI on September 13, 2012. The Committee reviewed the growth of Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for HVACR equipment. The Committee agreed that this is a global concern for industry, necessitating further regulatory outreach and education to demonstrate that the value of a MEPS program is undermined if not supported by equipment performance verification. Later, discussion turned to the need for harmonized verification programs and the value provided to governments and industry of accessing industry expertise and programs to establish these programs. Members received and discussed reports from the committee’s nine Regional Working Groups. The committee will meet again at AHRI on December 11, 2012. Contact: Jim Walters.

UAE Workshop to Focus on Refrigerants in High Ambient Temperature Environments
AHRI is joining with ASHRAE (Falcon Chapter), UNEP, and the U.A.E’s office of standards and metrology (ESMA) to sponsor a workshop on refrigerants in Dubai, UAE, October 16-17, 2012. The workshop, entitled “Alternative Refrigerants for Air Conditioning Industry in High-Ambient Temperature Countries: The Way Forward,” will emphasize post-HCFC refrigerant choice in a region that has very high ambient temperatures. This is the second in a series of symposia on refrigerants sponsored by UNEP. Topics of discussion will include: progress on alternative refrigerants since the last symposium; how to motivate technological developments in the field; existing research; and strategies for encouraging policy makers to develop regional approaches to the issue.

The exact time is yet to be determined, but the venue will be the Atlas Hotel in Dubai. AHRI will provide additional information as it is received.

For more details on the program and to indicate attendance, contact Ayman Eltalouny. Falcon Chapter Contacts are Dr. Ahmed Alaa Eldin and Rami Al-khalil. Contact: Jim Walters.

September 13, 2012

AHRI Responds to Misleading NY Times Report on R-22 Smuggling
AHRI responded to a recent New York Times article on smuggling, primarily from China, of hydrochlorofluorocarbon refrigerants, typically referred to as R-22 or HCFC-22. Rather than focusing on ways law enforcement might combat illegal importation of this refrigerant, the article blamed air conditioner manufacturers. AHRI argued that manufacturers have developed refrigerant-using equipment that is more than twice as efficient as those meeting the federal minimum standard that existed in 2005, and made equipment available that uses non-ozone depleting refrigerants more than a decade before the January 2010 phase out of R-22. AHRI also noted that the EPA rules governing the latest major step in the Montreal Protocol phase out of R-22 did not contain a complete ban on the manufacturing of new equipment using this refrigerant, and allowed for continued production as long as it was not charged with R-22 until installed in the field, a provision that AHRI and its members immediately petitioned EPA to remove. Read AHRI’s release here. Contact: Francis Dietz.

AHRI Staff Visit Ohio-based Testing Facility
AHRI staff visited a CSA facility located in Cleveland, Ohio, on September 11, to discuss testing capabilities of their gas appliance laboratory. AHRI staff, including President and CEO Steve Yurek, Senior Vice President Henry Hwong, and Vice President Bill Tritsis, received a tour of CSA’s laboratory that demonstrated the facility’s testing scope and capabilities, which will be discussed with AHRI members at the upcoming Annual Meeting in November. This CSA laboratory has a long history testing gas appliances, dating back to its affiliation with the American Gas Association. Contact: Henry Hwong.

AHRI Staff Visit Member Companies in Tennessee
AHRI staff visited member companies in the Nashville and Memphis areas of Tennessee last week to meet with staff, tour manufacturing facilities, and discuss issues of concern to the members. Vice President of Public Affairs Francis Dietz, Assistant Vice President of Government Affairs Cade Clark, and Government Affairs Manager Phillip Wallace visited with staff at Trane, Carrier, Thomas & Betts, and Coilmaster. AHRI staff gave briefings on association activities and received briefings on member company facilities and history and were given plant tours where possible. 
AHRI staff visit member companies on a regular basis to increase interaction and to learn more about the members, what and how they manufacture, and what issues they might have that their association and its staff can help them address. If you would like AHRI staff to visit your facility, contactAmanda Donohue, Executive Assistant to the President & CEO. Contact: Francis Dietz.

AHRI Releases Low-GWP Alternative Refrigerants Evaluation Program Interim Report
AHRI released the interim report of its Low Global Warming Potential (GWP) Alternative Refrigerants Evaluation Program (Low-GWP AREP). The report provides an update on the current status of the program, and illustrates the estimated GWP values and safety classifications of the potential replacements for R-22, R-134a, R-404A and R-410A. The program includes compressor calorimeter tests, system drop-in tests, and soft optimized system tests. Tests are ongoing and are expected to be completed by the end of 2012, and a report will be released publicly in 2013.

AHRI launched the industry-wide cooperative research program to identify and evaluate promising alternative refrigerants for major product categories, including air conditioners, heat pumps, chillers, water heaters, ice makers, refrigeration equipment, and transport air conditioning and refrigeration equipment. AHRI is grateful to industry supporters -- including 18 experts who provide technical guidance, 21 international and domestic universities and laboratories, and six chemical producers -- who have contributed expertise and resources to the program using their own resources, at their own expense. The report is available onlinehere. Contact: Xudong Wang.

EPA Webinar on ENERGY STAR Specifications for Commercial Water Heaters
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently hosted a webinar to discuss the draft ENERGY STAR specifications for commercial water heaters that were issued on August 28, 2012. The scope of the proposed program is limited to commercial gas storage, gas instantaneous, and heat pump water heaters. During the webinar, EPA explained that the proposed qualification thermal efficiency criteria of at least 94 percent for gas-fired models was selected because the EPA found that the majority of condensing commercial gas water heaters sold are currently at this level of thermal efficiency. Furthermore, DOE recently outlined plans to develop an efficiency test procedure for commercial heat pump water heaters on an accelerated schedule specifically for the ENERGY STAR program. Comments on these EPA draft specifications must be submitted by September 21, 2012. Contact: Frank Stanonik.

AHRI Responds to DOE Request for Information on Regulatory Burden
AHRI submitted comments last week in response to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Request for Information (RFI) issued on August 8, 2012. The RFI reflects DOE’s periodic review processes for existing regulations to determine if any should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed. 

AHRI’s comments primarily addressed DOE’s May 2012 Retrospective Review Plan Report, which was developed as a result of comments submitted on DOE RFI notices issued in 2011. In particular, AHRI noted that the extension of the compliance dates for certain commercial products does very little to reduce the testing burden on manufacturers without the corresponding finalization of a workable AEDM regulation. AHRI also expressed concern that the Retrospective Review Plan Report does not appear to address our comments regarding the redundancy of the certification reporting requirements for products covered by an AHRI performance certification program. Information on this DOE activity and other submitted comments can be accessed through the Federal Rulemaking Portal. Contact:Frank Stanonik.

AHRI Submits Comments on Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Furnace Fans
On July 10, 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a notice of public meeting and availability of a preliminary technical support document on energy conservation standards for residential furnace fans. AHRI attended DOE’s public meeting on July 27, and subsequently submitted comments on September 10. In the comments, AHRI maintained that DOE should consider the first section of AHRI’s July 30, 2012, letter when determining the energy conservation standards for residential furnace fans. The letter states that the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) authorizes DOE to include only the following products for the rulemaking on furnace fans: 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). The letter also explained why residential HVAC products such as split systems; packaged central air conditioners and heat pumps; modular blowers, small-duct, high-velocity systems; through-the-wall systems; and hydronic air handlers should be excluded from the scope of the furnace fan rulemaking. 

AHRI also commented on DOE’s markup, life-cycle cost, and preliminary manufacturer impact analyses, trial standard levels, monetization of carbon dioxide emission reductions, the cumulative regulatory burden posed on the industry by this rulemaking, and the various issues on which DOE sought comments from stakeholders. Furthermore, AHRI stated that:
  • DOE should account for an echo effect in its projections of base case shipments;
  • DOE overestimated its projections with respect to the furnace fan market share in 2018;
  • The baseline efficiencies specified by DOE are too low and suggested alternative values for non-weatherized condensing and non-condensing gas furnaces; and
  • DOE underestimated some of the incremental manufacturer production costs for furnace fans used in gas furnaces and hydronic air handlers.
The full text of the comments can be found here. Contact: Aniruddh Roy.

BPI Standard Now Open for Public Comment
The Building Performance Institute’s (BPI) new Standard for Residential Building Quality Assurance Related to Post-Installation Field Inspections (BPI-6300-S-201x), also known as the QA Field Inspection Standard, is available for public comment through September 17. It was developed by BPI's Standards Technical Committee (STC) and provides requirements for quality inspections of residential buildings. This standard is intended to include protocols that provide clear guidance for third-party inspectors to confirm that home performance upgrades are installed in accordance with the work scope and applicable standards. Contact: Frank Stanonik or Phillip Wallace.

Certification Program Continues Implementation of White Paper Recommendations
Since the development of the AHRI Certification Program White Paper by the Certification Programs & Policy and Executive Committees in 2011, AHRI staff has worked to improve and streamline the certification process for participants. 

Significant changes were made to the 2012 editions of the General Operations Manual and to every product-specific operations manual. These changes allow for greater efficiency in all AHRI Certification Programs and raising the quality of each test conducted by AHRI. For new applicants, stringent qualification requirements will confirm that they can accurately rate the performance of products using the relevant standard and method of test. To ensure accurate testing, engineering committees have established lab subcommittees to manage testing lab qualification, and additional changes will assure participants of proper setup and quality testing procedures. 

Meanwhile, in preparation for the 2013 testing year and beyond, AHRI staff is working with participants and the test laboratories to achieve a good distribution of testing volume at each of its laboratories to ensure a fully loaded test schedule and prompt completion of all certification tests. 

AHRI has made significant progress in implementing these changes, including establishing more effective channels of communication among AHRI, certification participants, and testing facilities. In 2011, AHRI issued 456 OEM licenses and 163 PBM licenses, well above the previous years’ licenses, and there is a waiting list of more than 100 applicants undergoing evaluation for entry to the program. The changes outlined in the White Paper will allow AHRI to provide a more efficient process for its growing number of certification program participants, while maintaining a standard of excellence. Contact: Sunil Nanjundaram.

AHRI Video Update: Manager of Standards Danny Abbate on Standards Development Process
AHRI’s Danny Abbate educates viewerson the standards development and committee approval processes in this edition of the AHRI Video Update. Furthermore, he gives a concise yet thorough explanation of the different standard approval bodies, and outlines standards that are currently in development. Look for more video updates from AHRI on its YouTube Channel, at AHRIcommunications. Contact: Sean Lynch

Cooling Standards Subcommittee Reviews Three AHRI Standards
AHRI’s Cooling Standards Subcommittee (CSS) met on September 11 to review several AHRI standard revisions. During the meeting, the subcommittee identified several issues to be resolved by the applicable engineering committees:
  • Revisions to AHRI Standard 810-2007, Performance Rating of Automatic Commercial Ice-Makers;
  • AHRI Standard 260 (I-P)-2012, Sound Rating of Ducted Air Moving and Conditioning Equipment; and
  • Addendum 1 to AHRI Standards 550/590 (I-P)-2011 and 551/591 (SI)-2011, Performance Rating of Water-Chilling and Heat Pump Water-Heating Packages Using the Vapor Compression Cycle.
The CSS will meet on October 4 and 31 to approve these revised standards for publication after appropriate updates are made by the engineering committees. All of AHRI’s standards and guidelines are free to download on the AHRI website. Contact: Michael Woodford.

September 6, 2012

New Deputy General Counsel Joins AHRI
Amy Shepherd joined AHRI as our new Deputy General Counsel. Amy will serve AHRI members in a variety of capacities centered on legal issues, including contract review and corporate filing. She holds her undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of California Davis, and her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. She also is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP). Prior to joining AHRI, she was the Associate General Counsel at Strayer University, where she worked on federal regulatory issues and general corporate matters. Contact: Dave Calabrese.

AHRI Submits Comments on SCAQMD's Draft Air Quality Management Plan
The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) of California released its draft 2012 Air Quality Management Plan (AQMP) in July 2012. 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. AQMP’s draft proposes control measures 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. 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.

In comments, AHRI recommended that SCAQMD change the potential NOx reduction levels in the draft AQMP to the phrase “To be determined,” as those levels were not sufficiently validated in the analysis. AHRI pointed out that the estimates of the current daily NOx emissions from commercial space heating equipment and the potential reductions in the proposed control measure should have been based on inventory within the district and not national estimates that were developed by the U.S. Department of Energy. Furthermore, our comments mentioned that the AQMP analysis should also account for the energy savings that will be achieved through the implementation of California Energy Commission’s Title 24 regulations. Finally, AHRI recommended that the proposed adoption schedule for this control measure should be modified such that adequate time is given to manufacturers to shift their focus from meeting the NOx regulations for furnaces less than 175,000 Btu/h to furnaces greater than or equal to 175,000 Btu/h and less than 2,000,000 Btu/h. AHRI will continue to monitor this issue as it progresses, and alert members appropriately should action become necessary. Contact: Aniruddh Roy.

EPA Starts Work on ENERGY STAR Program for Commercial Water Heaters
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a letter announcing the development of an ENERGY STAR Program for commercial water heaters and corresponding draft specifications. Although the scope of the proposed program is commercial gas storage, gas instantaneous, and heat pump water heaters, the draft specifications include criteria only for gas-fired water heaters at this time.  EPA intends to finalize this specification by the end of the year and to implement the program for commercial gas water heaters immediately upon the program being finalized.

EPA is hosting a stakeholder webinar on September 10, from 1-3 p.m., to discuss the Draft 1 specification and address initial comments and questions. Comments on this draft ENERGY STAR commercial water heater specification should be submitted to by September 21, 2012. Contact: Frank Stanonik.

Call for Comments on Public Review ASHRAE Draft Standards
ASHRAE seeks commentary on the following Draft Standards published to their website for public review. Those interested in contributing must do so by October 15, 2012.
  • Public Review of ASHRAE Standard 24-2009R, Methods of Testing for Rating Liquid Coolers. This standard prescribes methods of testing for rating liquid coolers.
  • Public Review of ASHRAE Standard 41.1-1986R, Standard Method for Temperature Measurement. This revision of Standard 41.1-1986 represents a significant update compared to the previous version that was published in 1986 and reaffirmed in 2006.
  • Public Review of BSR/ASHRAE Standard 113-2009R, Method of Testing for Room Air Diffusion. This standard specifies equipment and procedures for measuring air speed and air temperature in occupied zones of building spaces.
  • Public Review of ASHRAE Standard 137-2009R, Methods of Testing for Efficiency of Space- Conditioning/Water-Heating Appliances that Include a Desuperheater Water Heater. This standard provides test methods and calculation procedures for establishing the efficiencies of space conditioning/water-heating appliances having refrigerant-to-water desuperheaters.
  • Public Review of ASHRAE Standard 138-2009R, Method of Testing for Rating Ceiling Panels for Sensible Heating and Cooling. This standard establishes uniform methods of laboratory testing for rating steady-state thermal performance of ceiling panels used in indoor spaces for sensible heating or sensible cooling, or both.
  • Public Review of ASHRAE Standard 149-2000 (RA 2009), Laboratory Methods of Testing Fans Used to Exhaust Smoke in Smoke Management Systems. This standard establishes uniform methods of laboratory testing and test documentation for fans used to exhaust smoke in smoke management systems.
  • Advisory Public Review of ASHRAE Standard 184P, Method of Test for Field Performance of Liquid-Chilling Systems. The purpose of this standard is to prescribe methods of field performance testing for liquid-chilling systems.
Contact:  Michael Woodford.

New Certification Participant
AHRI is pleased to welcome the following new participant to our certification program (program in italics):
  • Century Corporation - Water Chilling Packages Using the Vapor Compression Cycle (Water Cooled) (WCCL)
Contact: Sunil Nanjundaram.