What you need to do now as new regulations for commercial refrigeration take effect
As part of Prime Advantage, Endorsed Suppliers have been invited to share their insights on the present and future of manufacturing success. In this post, Renny Seiwert from Intertek looks at the changing environmental regulations that are impacting refrigeration manufacturers.
The commercial refrigeration industry recently saw regulatory changes from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which focus on energy efficiency and alternative refrigerants. Here are the changes that could directly affect your business and what you need to do now to stay compliant.
In 2009, the DOE developed regulation that capped energy usage for commercial refrigeration equipment by product category. Now, manufacturers must post on the DOE's website by mid-2015 in order to demonstrate compliance. Depending on how the new definition is applied, this Energy Conservation Standard (ECS) rule has reduced Maximum Daily Energy Conservation (MDEC) requirements by 30% for certain product categories and 60% for others. Modified products still need to conform to ANSI/UL, NSF, and other requirements as well. This regulation will likely continue to lower energy consumption caps through 2017 and beyond, so manufacturers should design and develop accordingly.
The DOE is also changing testing procedures for walk-in refrigeration equipment. The DOE submitted new efficiency standards for walk-ins called Average Walk-In Energy Factor (AWEF), which measures yearly average refrigeration output versus energy input. This formula puts focus on the installation and refrigeration elements of walk-in products. Compliance is required by 2017, and in addition to the new regulation, affected manufacturers must understand AWEF values, how testing is conducted, and how standards will be applied to particular products and components.
The DOE also proposed a regulation creating new maximum energy usage requirements for commercial ice machines, set for a 2018 implementation. Manufacturers should become very familiar with this rule and its potential business-changing standards as it could have serious industry consequences. It's also advisable to get involved in the feedback as much as possible throughout the DOE regulatory process so your questions and concerns are adequately addressed.
As manager of the ENERGY STAR® program, the EPA has also revamped some commercial refrigeration guidelines. Included were updated product classes, new manufacturer definitions, and higher efficiency metrics. These changes have already caused product families to lose ENERGY STAR certification and be dropped from the ENERGY STAR website. Manufacturers may need to redesign products to meet the new requirements, and updates are likely required for ANSI/UL and NSF certifications as well.
Through its Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program, the EPA is also working to reduce the use of Global Warming Potential (GWP) and Ozone Depletion (ODP) refrigerants by mandating less use of higher GWP and ODP options while approving new alternative refrigerants. SNAP's new Rule 20, urging the use of alternative refrigerants, affects all commercial refrigeration products and currently has a 2016 implementation date. Changing refrigerants can mean changing operating pressures, which could potentially result in altered product designs and production changes. With 2016 fast approaching, manufacturers need to be acting on this issue now.
These new DOE and EPA rules will have an immense impact on commercial refrigeration. The changes already passed into law and the ones being debated now are open to the public. Manufacturers need to fully understand the products and components impacted and voice any compliance concerns. For rules still in development, manufacturers getting involved in the regulatory process can influence the standards, test procedures, and timelines. There is still time for commercial refrigeration manufacturers to speak out on some of these redesign, engineering, retooling, production, and regulatory compliance issues. Arm yourself with knowledge and be prepared, as early design review and testing can be critical to success.
Learn more about regulations through Intertek's Webinar.