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DOE faces court over impossible standards

3764494_sUSA: The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute claims that the Department of Energy’s new energy conservation standards for commercial refrigeration equipment may be impossible to meet.

The AHRI has filed a petition for review in the US Court of Appeals in response to the DOE’s final rule issued on March 28 regarding energy conservation standards for commercial refrigeration equipment. The rule includes maximum daily energy consumption values as a function of either refrigerated volume or total display area for various equipment classes. The new standards will apply to equipment manufactured in, or imported into, the United States on or after March 27, 2017.

The new standard was introduced with the expectation of cutting carbon pollution by about 142 million tonnes but according to the AHRI the deadline for conformance will make it very difficult for large manufacturers to comply and virtually impossible for smaller companies.

The AHRI argues that in the case of some of the 49 product categories covered the specified efficiency level is not currently achieved by any models in the market.

“If this rule stands and the implementation date remains three years hence (a deadline that is already two years sooner than normal), manufacturers would have to research, design, develop, and test products within that very brief time window,”  AHRI’s vice president of public affairs Francis J. Dietz told the Cooling Post.

“What that means is it would be difficult for large manufacturers but practically impossible for smaller ones to comply, which has the effect of shrinking the size of the industry through a federal rulemaking.  We do not support such a course of action, and we are surprised that DOE would accept such a consequence as a result of a rulemaking,” he added.

“Our industry has a proud history of innovation that has produced highly efficient, affordable hvacr and water heating equipment that increases the quality of life for all Americans,” said AHRI President and CEO Stephen Yurek.

“We also have a proud history of collaborating with government agencies on energy efficiency standards that are economically justified and technologically feasible, that benefit consumers, and that adequately take into account potential negative economic impact,” Yurek said. “DOE’s final rule on commercial refrigeration equipment does not meet these criteria, and as a result we have no choice but to challenge the rule in court.”

The AHRI also maintains that the DOE has failed to perform all the procedural steps required in formulating these standards.

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