June 10, 2021
Clifford H. "Ted" Rees, Jr. Scholarship Foundation, a 501(c)(3)
charitable foundation of AHRI, recently announced scholarship awards totaling
$75,000 to 36 students, including two military veterans, studying to become
technicians in the HVACR and water heating industry.
On January 18, the U.S. Court
of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in favor of AHRI,
American Public Gas Association (APGA), and Spire, Inc. in our appeal of the
Department of Energy’s (DOE) Commercial Package Boiler Final Rule. The Court
found that DOE failed to adequately explain how the final rule met the clear
and convincing evidentiary standard.
In January 2020, DOE
published a final rule that set efficiency standards for commercial package
boilers more stringent than those in ASHRAE Standard 90.1. AHRI, APGA, and
Spire filed a petition for review of the final rule, claiming that DOE failed
to use the clear and convincing evidentiary standard when it issued standards
more stringent than ASHRAE.
In the decision, the Court
held that DOE's conclusion that the rule was supported by clear and convincing
evidence was arbitrary and capricious; specifically, that the agency failed to
fix or adequately address multiple problems with its economic justification for
the rule that were raised on the record. The Court found that DOE failed to
address problems with (1) DOE’s random assignment of boilers to buildings in
the Department's cost model; (2) the use of predicted average energy prices to
estimate fuel costs; and (3) flawed DOE assumptions about burner operating
hours identified by AHRI's expert. The Court did find that DOE's reliance on
listing data as a proxy for shipment data was reasonable.
Initially, AHRI, APGA, and
Spire asked the Court to remand and vacate the final rule. Although it did not
vacate the rule, the Court took an unusual and possible unprecedented step with
regard to a remedy, ordering that the final rule will be vacated unless DOE
acts within 90 days to fix it. If DOE feels it requires more than 90 days, it
has 10 days from the ruling to ask the Court for additional time.
AHRI will continue monitoring
to see how the Department will respond to the Court’s ruling. Contact: Marie Carpizo.
and state legislative activity impacting the HVACR and water heating industry
continues, both virtually and in-person. AHRI’s Call-to-Action center helps AHRI members make their
voices heard on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures across the country. Be
sure to take advantage of this convenient way to effect real change on
pertinent industry issues. Contact: Samantha
The AHR Expo is excited to
welcome you back to the show floor in less than two weeks! Our numbers remain
strong, with more than 1,650 exhibitors (including 300+ international companies) ready to go.
We understand there are concerns regarding the status of the show given the
recent COVID-19 developments. AHRI, ASHRAE, and the show organizers want to
assure you that the AHR Expo will take place as scheduled, January 31 - February
2, at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
We all are dedicated to producing a successful event, with safety top of mind during the experience. We are confident in the policies in place, including required masking, increased ventilation in the convention hall, and a GBAC Star Accreditation safety rating. Please view our most updated health and safety guidelines here, and make plans to join with your industry colleagues to view the latest innovative technologies available in the HVACR and water heating space. Contact: Francis Dietz.
Forced-Circulation Air-Cooling and Air-Heating Coils Standards Technical
Committee (ACHC STC) held its last meeting on January 12. The STC members are
currently updating the Standard 410 text and its figures, which are being
redrawn to improve future updates. The STC also approved maintaining the
standard as a joint I-P/SI unit. The committee continues to meet bi-weekly to
implement the standard. The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 26.
To join the STC, please reach out to Sarp Hamamcioglu.
On December 18, 2021, the
Department of Energy (DOE) published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) in
the Federal Register: Energy Conservation Program: Test Procedure for
Circulator Pumps. DOE will
hold a webinar on Wednesday, February 2, from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EST.
Upcoming meeting information will be posted here.
Written comments and information
will be accepted no later than February 18. Comments may be submitted using the
Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov or by email to: CirculatorPumps2016TP0033@ee.doe.gov. Include docket number docket number
EERE–2016–BT–TP–0033 in the subject line of the message. Any
member comments or feedback must be provided to AHRI no later than February 1.
DOE has proposed definitions,
a test procedure, sampling and rating requirements, and enforcement provisions
for circulator pumps which have not previously been subject to DOE test
procedures or energy conservation standards. These test procedure methods
reference relevant industry standards for measuring the circulator energy index
for circulator pumps. The proposed definitions and test procedures are based on
the recommendations of the Circulator Pump Working Group.
On December 10, 2021, the Department of Energy
(DOE) published a notice of proposed rulemaking and a request for comment on Energy Conservation Program: Test Procedure for Variant Refrigerant Flow Multi-Split Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps. Written comments and information
will be accepted through February 8.
Comments may be
submitted using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov or submitted by email to: VRFMultisplitACHP2021TP0019@ee.doe.gov. Include docket
number EERE-2021-BT-TP-0019 in the subject line of the message.
is publishing an analysis of the energy saving potential of amended industry
consensus standards for certain classes of variable refrigerant flow
multi-split air conditioners and heat pumps (VRFs), which are a type of
commercial and industrial equipment. The Energy Policy and Conservation Act, as
amended, requires DOE to evaluate and assess whether updates are needed to its
energy conservation standards. The department is statutorily required to review
its standards for this equipment at least once every six years and publish
either a notice of proposed rulemaking to propose new standards for VRFs or a
notice of determination that the existing standards do not need to be amended.
Contact: Laura Petrillo-Groh.
On January 14, the Department of Energy (DOE) published a notice
of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) in the Federal Register to amend its test procedures for single package vertical air
conditioners and single package vertical heat pumps. DOE will hold a webinar on Wednesday, February 9, from
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST, with registration information to
follow. Upcoming meeting information will be posted here. The
Single Package Vertical Unit DOE Task Force will meet to discuss this NOPR.
Stakeholder comments and
feedback will be accepted until March 15. Comments may be submitted using the
Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov or by email to: SPVACandHeatPumps2017TP0020@ee.doe.gov. Include docket number EERE–2017–BT–TP–0020 in the
subject line of the message.
DOE proposes to amend its
test procedures for single package vertical air conditioners and single package
vertical heat pumps to incorporate the most recent version of the relevant
industry test standard, AHRI 390-2021, and to amend certain provisions for
representations for the subject equipment. DOE also proposes definitions for
“single-phase single package vertical air conditioners with cooling capacity
less than 65,000 Btu/h” and “single-phase single package vertical heat pumps
with cooling capacity less than 65,000 Btu/h.” The proposed definitions would
explicitly define this equipment as subsets of the broader single package
vertical air conditioner and single package vertical heat pump equipment
categories, and further distinguish such equipment from two certain residential
central air conditioners and heat pumps. DOE seeks comment from interested
parties on this proposal.
On December 23, 2021, the
Department of Energy (DOE) published a supplemental notice of proposed
rulemaking (SNOPR) notification of final interpretive rule in the Federal
Register: Energy Conservation Program: Test Procedure for Direct
Expansion-Dedicated Outdoor Air Systems
(DX-DOAS). The AHRI DOAS Regulatory Working Group has met to discuss this SNOPR.
Written comments and
information will be accepted through January 24. Comments may be
submitted using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov or by email to: CommACHeatingEquipCat2017TP0018@ee.doe.gov. Include docket number EERE–2017–BT–TP–0020 in the
subject line of the message.
The SNOPR establishes an
updated test-procedure for DX-DOAS based on stakeholder feedback received in
response to the July 7, 2021, NOPR. DOE will revise its proposals regarding the
terminology used to describe equipment and provide additional direction for
testing equipment with special components. The department initially determined
that commercial package air conditioning and heating equipment includes unitary
DOAS. These types of equipment have not previously been addressed in DOE
rulemakings and are not currently subject to federal test procedures or energy
On December 14, 2021, the
Department of Energy (DOE) published a final rule in the Federal Register on
the Test Procedure Interim Waiver Process. This rule is effective Monday, February 14.
On August 20, 2021, DOE published a
notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) and request for comment regarding its test
procedure interim waiver process. DOE revised the process to address alternate
test procedures that are inconsistent with the purpose and requirements of the
Energy Policy and Conservation Act, and that otherwise appear not to effectuate
the statute properly. AHRI submitted comments supporting the active approval of
interim waivers within 120-days.
In the final rule, DOE
amended 10 CFR 430.27 and 10 CFR 431.401 by:
Effective December 29, 2021,
the Department of Energy (DOE) published the final interpretive rule in the Federal Register stating in the context
of associated venting of residential furnaces, commercial water heaters, and
similarly-situated products or equipment, the heat exchanger technology used to
supply heated air or hot water is not a performance-related ‘‘feature’’ that
provides a distinct consumer utility under the Energy Policy and Conservation
Act (EPCA), as amended. Therefore, rulemakings will impact both vented
and non-vented products. DOE initiated a re-review of the January 2020 Final
Interpretative Rule in response to E.O 13990 on August 27, 2021, by publishing
a proposed interpretive rule.
AHRI submitted comments requesting
DOE to maintain the 2020 interpretation citing the rulemaking for ventless
clothes dryers as precedent that venting provides utility in support of a
requirement for established separate product classes. AHRI also commented that
consumers will struggle to replace appliances if condensing-only appliance
standards are set, noting that requiring new venting for condensing
technologies would be inhibited by safety and building codes. In addition, AHRI
suggested that separate product classes for condensing and non-condensing
products/equipment would not deter technical development or slow the adoption
of condensing technologies.
DOE stated that installation
costs are addressed, including the costs of difficult installations. DOE
commented that the final interpretation reinstates its historical
interpretation and is based solely on EPCA, review of public comments received,
and the analysis presented in this document. It is not based on political considerations
or a policy to promote electrification.
DOE concluded that
differences in cost or complexity of installation between different methods of
venting do not make any method of venting a performance-feature for certain
covered equipment. Relatedly, DOE has concluded that the possibility of installing
an appliance employing a particular method of venting may be less costly or
less complex than installing a product employing a different method of venting.
On December 29,
2021, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a notice of Consideration
of Negotiated Rulemaking for Petitions Granted or Partially Granted Under
Subsection (i) of the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act of 2020. The EPA
notice indicates agreement with AIM Act petitioners, including AHRI, that the
negotiated rulemaking process is not necessary for this process. Instead, the
agency intends to promulgate AIM Act petition rules under the traditional
notice and comment period to better serve the public interest.
informs the public of EPA’s consideration of the negotiated rulemaking
procedure provided under the Negotiated Rulemaking Act of 1990. It also
includes the agency's decision to not use these procedures for a rulemaking
under subsection (i) of the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act of 2020
that will address 10 petitions that were granted and one petition that was
partially granted by the agency under this subsection on October 7, 2021.
Petitions referenced in this notice were granted by the
Administrator via letters signed on October 7, 2021; thus, EPA is required by
statute to promulgate a final rule or rules by October 7, 2023.
Washington Department of Ecology submitted a report
to the legislature
in December 2021, making recommendations on an optimal design of an HFC
End-of-Life Refrigerant Management Program related to the Legislature Pursuant to
Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill 1050. In 2021, the legislature directed the
Department to provide recommendations “regarding the optimal design of a
program to address the end-of-life management and disposal of refrigerants” and
to solicit feedback from affected stakeholders. Based on stakeholder input, the
Department has addressed some actions that can be pursued under current
authority and resources and do not require a final program design. When
resources are available, additional stakeholder work could develop specific
program elements based on these general guidelines and would help resolve
uncertainties and discrepancies between various stakeholder positions. The Department’s
current resources are fully dedicated to implementing other aspects of
Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill 1050.
On January 10, the United
Steelworkers sent a letter to
Congress disputing claims from manufacturing groups (such as AHRI) that the
Section 232 steel and aluminum and Section 301 China tariffs are causing price
inflation. The union cites in the letter that the tariffs have been in place
for years, whereas inflation has only recently become an issue, and asks
Congress to keep the tariffs in place to protect the U.S. steel industry.
AHRI sent a letter to
Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo on the same day, requesting removal of the
Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs to provide relief to metal-using
manufacturers in America. Amidst steel and aluminum shortages, AHRI members
continue struggling with outright unavailability, high prices, and long lead
times of these metals. Meanwhile, domestic steel producers are enjoying record
profits and claim to be producing enough metal to sustain U.S. downstream
manufacturing, but that has not been the case, as cited in the letter. On
January 19, the U.S. and the United Kingdom released a joint statement
announcing their commitment to bilateral discussions to address global steel
and aluminum excess capacity.