DOE delay of WICF efficiency rules highlighted at FMI Energy

Speakers note six-month delay of 2020 start date for rules increasing efficiency requirements for condensing units and evaporators.

Vince Zolli, KeepRite, at the FMI Energy & Store Development Conference

A six-month extension on enforcement of U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) efficiency rules for WICFs (walk-in coolers and freezers) was highlighted Tuesday at a session on regulations given at the Food Marketing Institute's Energy and Store Development Conference in Orlando, Fla. 

The DOE originally announced updated efficiency rules for WICFs in 2014, but AHRI and Lennox International filed a petition asking for judicial review of the rules. An industry-DOE Working Group later formed to negotiate new standards. Efficiency standards for four low-temperature condensing units and two unit coolers (medium- and low-temperature) were set to be announced at the begining of 2017, and take effect three years later, But the Trump adminstration delayed the announcement until July 27, giving the industry an extra six months before they take effect in 2020.

"Before [the rules] could get into the federal registrar,” said Vince Zolli, vice president of engineering for KeepRite Refrigeration during the session. “Trump got inaugurated and said ‘freeze’, put this on hold. So July 27 [the rules] were released and put in the federal registrar.”

The rules for four medium-temperature condensing units, which were not challenged in court, went into effect in June 2017 but will not be enforced until January 1, 2020.

Zolli and Timothy Anderson,  principal engineer for Hussman, explained that the DOE rules apply to the maximum improvement in annual walk-in energy factor (AWEF).

Zolli and Anderson also made note of technologies and techniques that can be employed to increase energy savings and achieve DOE compliance. Those include: floating head pressure, a condenser and evaporator motor, sub-cooling, modified heat exchanger design, optimization of defrost energy, night curtains, LEDs with occupancy sensors, high-performance medium and low temperature doors and ECM condenser fan motors.

By Elise Herron

Sep 26, 2017, 21:50

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