[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 105 (Thursday, May 31, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 32381-32389]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-12319]



Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 105 / Thursday May 31, 2012 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 32381]]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

10 CFR Parts 429 and 430

[Docket Number EERE-2008-BT-STD-0019]
RIN 1904-AB90


Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards for 
Residential Clothes Washers

AGENCY: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of 
Energy.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA), as 
amended, prescribes energy conservation standards for various consumer 
products and certain commercial and industrial equipment, including 
residential clothes washers. EPCA also requires the U.S. Department of 
Energy (DOE) to determine whether amended standards would be 
technologically feasible and economically justified, and would save a 
significant amount of energy. In this proposed rule, DOE proposes 
amended energy conservation standards for residential clothes washers 
identical to those set forth in a direct final rule published elsewhere 
in today's Federal Register. If DOE receives adverse comment and 
determines that such comment may provide a reasonable basis for 
withdrawing the direct final rule, DOE will publish a notice 
withdrawing the final rule and will proceed with this proposed rule.

DATES: DOE will accept comments, data, and information regarding the 
proposed standards no later than September 18, 2012.

ADDRESSES: See section III, ``Public Participation,'' for details.
    Any comments submitted must identify the proposed rule for Energy 
Conservation Standards for Residential Clothes Washers, and provide 
docket number EERE-2008-BT-STD-0019 and/or regulatory information 
number (RIN) number 1904-AB90. Comments may be submitted using any of 
the following methods:
    1. Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. Follow the 
instructions for submitting comments.
    2. Email: RCW-2008-STD-0019@ee.doe.gov. Include the docket number 
and/or RIN in the subject line of the message.
    3. Mail: Ms. Brenda Edwards, U.S. Department of Energy, Building 
Technologies Program, Mailstop EE-2J, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., 
Washington, DC 20585-0121. If possible, please submit all items on a 
CD. It is not necessary to include printed copies.
    4. Hand Delivery/Courier: Ms. Brenda Edwards, U.S. Department of 
Energy, Building Technologies Program, 950 L'Enfant Plaza SW., Suite 
600, Washington, DC 20024. Telephone: (202) 586-2945. If possible, 
please submit all items on a CD. It is not necessary to include printed 
copies.
    Docket: The docket is available for review at regulations.gov, 
including Federal Register notices, framework documents, public meeting 
attendee lists and transcripts, comments, and other supporting 
documents/materials.
    A link to the docket web page can be found at: www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=EERE-2008-BT-STD-0019.
    For further information on how to submit or review public comments 
or view hard copies of the docket in the Resource Room, contact Ms. 
Brenda Edwards at (202) 586-2945 or email: Brenda.Edwards@ee.doe.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephen L. Witkowski, U.S. Department 
of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Building 
Technologies Program, EE-2J, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, 
DC 20585-0121, (202) 586-7463, email: stephen.witkowski@ee.doe.gov.
    Ms. Elizabeth Kohl, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of General 
Counsel, GC-71, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-
0121, (202) 586-7796, email: Elizabeth.Kohl@hq.doe.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

I. Introduction and Legal Authority
II. Proposed Standards
    A. Benefits and Burdens of TSLs Considered for Clothes Washers
    B. Summary of Benefits and Costs (Annualized) of the Standards
III. Public Participation
    A. Submission of Comments
    B. Public Meeting
IV. Procedural Issues and Regulatory Review
V. Approval of the Office of the Secretary

I. Introduction and Legal Authority

    Title III, Part B of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 
(EPCA or the Act), Public Law 94-163 (42 U.S.C. 6291-6309, as codified) 
established the Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products Other 
Than Automobiles,\1\ a program covering most major household appliances 
(collectively referred to as ``covered products''), which includes the 
residential clothes washers that are the subject of this rulemaking. 
(42 U.S.C. 6292(a)(7)) EPCA, as amended by the Energy Information and 
Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007; Pub. L. 110-140), prescribed the 
current energy conservation standards for residential clothes washers 
(42 U.S.C. 6295(g)(9), and directed DOE to publish a final rule no 
later than December 31, 2011, to determine whether to amend the 
standards in effect for clothes washers manufactured on or after 
January 1, 2015. (42 U.S.C. 6295(g)(9)(B)(i))
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    \1\ For editorial reasons, upon codification in the U.S. Code, 
Part B was redesignated Part A.
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    EISA 2007 also amended EPCA, in relevant part, to grant DOE 
authority DOE to issue a final rule (hereinafter referred to as a 
``direct final rule'') establishing an energy conservation standard for 
a covered product on receipt of a statement submitted jointly by 
interested persons that are fairly representative of relevant points of 
view (including representatives of manufacturers of covered products, 
States, and efficiency advocates) as determined by the Secretary, that 
contains recommendations with respect to an energy conservation 
standard that are in accordance with the provisions of 42 U.S.C. 
6295(o). EPCA also requires that a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) 
that proposes an identical energy conservation standard be published 
simultaneously with the direct final rule, and DOE must provide a 
public comment period of at least 110 days on this proposal. (42 U.S.C. 
6295(p)(4)) Not later than 120 days after issuance of the direct final 
rule, if one or more adverse comments or an alternative joint 
recommendation are received relating to the direct final rule, the 
Secretary must determine whether the comments or alternative 
recommendation may provide a reasonable basis for withdrawal under 42 
U.S.C. 6295(o) or other applicable law. If the Secretary makes such a 
determination, DOE must withdraw the direct final rule and proceed with 
the simultaneously published notice of proposed rulemaking. DOE must 
also publish in the Federal Register the reason why the direct final 
rule was withdrawn. Id.
    On July 30, 2010, DOE received the ``Agreement on Minimum Federal 
Efficiency Standards, Smart Appliances, Federal Incentives and Related 
Matters for Specified Appliances'' (hereinafter, the ``Joint 
Petition''),\2\ a comment submitted by groups representing 
manufacturers (the Association of Home

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Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), Whirlpool Corporation (Whirlpool), 
General Electric Company (GE), Electrolux, LG Electronics, Inc. (LG), 
BSH Home Appliances (BSH), Alliance Laundry Systems (ALS), Viking 
Range, Sub-Zero Wolf, Friedrich A/C, U-Line, Samsung, Sharp 
Electronics, Miele, Heat Controller, AGA Marvel, Brown Stove, Haier, 
Fagor America, Airwell Group, Arcelik, Fisher & Paykel, Scotsman Ice, 
Indesit, Kuppersbusch, Kelon, and DeLonghi); energy and environmental 
advocates (American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), 
Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP), Natural Resources Defense 
Council (NRDC), Alliance to Save Energy (ASE), Alliance for Water 
Efficiency (AWE), Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NPCC), and 
Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP)); and consumer groups 
(Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the National Consumer Law 
Center (NCLC)) (collectively, the ``Joint Petitioners''). The Joint 
Petitioners recommended specific energy conservation standards for 
residential clothes washers that they believed would satisfy the EPCA 
requirements in 42 U.S.C. 6295(o). Earthjustice submitted a comment 
affirming its support for the joint petition.\3\
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    \2\ DOE Docket No. EERE-2008-BT-STD-0019, Comment 32.
    \3\ DOE Docket No. EERE-2008-BT-STD-0019, Comment 38.
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    DOE has considered the recommended energy conservation standards 
and believes that they meet the EPCA requirements for issuance of a 
direct final rule. As a result, DOE has published a direct final rule 
establishing energy conservation standards for clothes washers 
elsewhere in today's Federal Register. If DOE receives adverse comments 
that may provide a reasonable basis for withdrawal and withdraws the 
direct final rule, DOE will consider those comments and any other 
comments received in determining how to proceed with today's proposed 
rule.
    For further background information on these proposed standards and 
the supporting analyses, please see the direct final rule published 
elsewhere in today's Federal Register. That document includes 
additional discussion on the EPCA requirements for promulgation of 
energy conservation standards, the current standards for residential 
clothes washers, and the history of the standards rulemakings 
establishing such standards, as well as information on the test 
procedures used to measure the energy efficiency of clothes washers. 
The document also contains an in-depth discussion of the analyses 
conducted in support of this rulemaking, the methodologies DOE used in 
conducting those analyses, and the analytical results.

II. Proposed Standards

    When considering proposed standards, the new or amended energy 
conservation standard that DOE adopts for any type (or class) of 
covered product shall be designed to achieve the maximum improvement in 
energy efficiency that DOE determines is technologically feasible and 
economically justified. (42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(2)(A)) In determining 
whether a standard is economically justified, DOE must determine 
whether the benefits of the standard exceed its burdens to the greatest 
extent practicable, in light of the seven statutory factors set forth 
in EPCA. (42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(2)(B)(i)) The new or amended standard must 
also result in a significant conservation of energy. (42 U.S.C. 
6295(o)(3)(B))
    The Department considered the impacts of standards at each trial 
standard level (TSL) considered by DOE, beginning with maximum 
technologically feasible level, to determine whether that level was 
economically justified. Where the max-tech level was not economically 
justified, DOE then considered the next most efficient level and 
undertook the same evaluation until it reached the highest efficiency 
level that is both technologically feasible and economically justified 
and saves a significant amount of energy.
    To aid the reader as DOE discusses the benefits and burdens of each 
TSL, DOE has included tables that present a summary of the results of 
DOE's quantitative analysis for each TSL. In addition to the 
quantitative results presented in the tables, DOE also considers other 
burdens and benefits that affect economic justification. These include 
the impacts on identifiable subgroups of consumers, such as low-income 
households and seniors, who may be disproportionately affected by a 
national standard. Section V.B.1 of the direct final rule published 
elsewhere in today's Federal Register presents the estimated impacts of 
each TSL for these subgroups.

A. Benefits and Burdens of TSLs Considered for Clothes Washers

    Table II.1 and Table II.2 present a summary of the quantitative 
impacts estimated for each TSL for clothes washers. The efficiency 
levels contained in each TSL are described in section V.A of the direct 
final rule.

                                Table II.1--Summary of Results for Clothes Washer Trial Standard Levels: National Impacts
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            Category                      TSL 1                    TSL 2                   TSL 3                   TSL 4                   TSL 5
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National Energy Savings (quads)  1.56...................  1.46..................  2.04..................  2.87..................  3.32.
National Water Savings           1.11...................  1.05..................  3.03..................  5.33..................  6.89.
 (trillion gal.).
NPV of Consumer Benefits (2010$
 billion)
    3% discount rate...........  20.2...................  18.5..................  31.29.................  41.60.................  50.48.
    7% discount rate...........  8.7....................  7.77..................  13.01.................  16.42.................  19.92.
Cumulative Emissions Reduction
    CO[ihel2] (million metric    87.65..................  81.96.................  112.90................  155.51................  178.82.
     tons).
    NOX (thousand tons)........  73.46..................  68.07.................  94.16.................  130.10................  149.70.
    Hg (tons)..................  0.198..................  0.226.................  0.269.................  0.364.................  0.413.
Value of Cumulative Emissions
 Reduction
    CO[ihel2] (2010$ million)*.  410 to 6527............  384 to 6112...........  530 to 8457...........  729 to 11613..........  838 to 13357.
    NOX--3% discount rate        22 to 224..............  20 to 207.............  28 to 286.............  39 to 396.............  44 to 456.
     (2010$ million).
    NOX--7% discount rate        9 to 97................  9 to 90...............  12 to 122.............  17 to 171.............  19 to 197.
     (2010$ million).
    Generation Capacity          0.882..................  1.01..................  1.30..................  1.64..................  1.86.
     Reduction (GW) \**\.
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Parentheses indicate negative (-) values.
* Range of the economic value of CO[ihel2] reductions is based on estimates of the global benefit of reduced CO[ihel2] emissions.
** Changes in 2044.


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                       Table II.2--Summary of Results for Clothes Washer Trial Standard Levels: Consumer and Manufacturer Impacts
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                           Category                                   TSL 1             TSL 2            TSL 3*             TSL 4             TSL 5
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                                                                  Manufacturer Impacts
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Industry NPV (2010$ million)..................................     (56.3)-(64.0)    (14.3)-(490.3)      96.4-(858.8)   205.0-(1,256.4)   255.5-(1,335.3)
Industry NPV (% change).......................................       (2.2)-(2.5)      (0.6)-(19.0)        3.7-(33.2)        7.9-(48.6)        9.9-(51.6)
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                                                            Consumer Mean LCC Savings (2010$)
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Top-Loading Standard Clothes Washer...........................               268               243           268/366               491               524
Front-Loading Standard Clothes Washer.........................              **NA               2.2                37                35               102
Top-Loading Compact Clothes Washer............................               159               159           159/312               312               312
Front-Loading Compact Clothes Washer..........................                54                54                54                54                54
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                                                               Consumer Median PBP (years)
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Top-Loading Standard Clothes Washer...........................               0.4               0.7           0.4/0.9               1.8               1.9
Front-Loading Standard Clothes Washer.........................              **NA               0.9               1.3               9.2               5.2
Top-Loading Compact Clothes Washer............................               0.5               0.5           0.5/2.1               2.1               2.1
Front-Loading Compact Clothes Washer..........................               0.8               0.8               0.8               0.8               0.8
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                                                          Distribution of Consumer LCC Impacts
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Top-Loading Standard Clothes Washer
    Net Cost (%)..............................................               0.7               5.6           0.7/3.4               8.1               9.5
    No Impact (%).............................................              19.5              15.1         19.5/14.1               4.6               0.0
    Net Benefit (%)...........................................              79.8              79.3         79.8/82.5              87.4              90.5
Front-Loading Standard Clothes Washer
    Net Cost (%)..............................................               0.0               0.1               1.5              45.1              29.6
    No Impact (%).............................................             100.0              96.0              72.4              11.6               0.0
    Net Benefit (%)...........................................               0.0               3.9              26.1              43.3              70.4
Top-Loading Compact Clothes Washer
    Net Cost (%)..............................................               1.5               1.5          1.5/12.6              12.6              12.6
    No Impact (%).............................................               0.0               0.0               0.0               0.0               0.0
    Net Benefit (%)...........................................              98.5              98.5         98.5/87.4              87.4              87.4
Front-Loading Compact Clothes Washer
    Net Cost (%)..............................................               0.0               0.0               0.0               0.0               0.0
    No Impact (%).............................................               0.0               0.0               0.0               0.0               0.0
    Net Benefit (%)...........................................             100.0             100.0             100.0             100.0             100.0
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Parentheses indicate negative (-) values.
* For top-loading clothes washers under TSL 3, the first number for consumer impacts refers to the standard in 2015, and the second number refers to the
  standard in 2018.
** The standard level is the same as the baseline efficiency level, so no consumers are impacted and therefore calculation of a payback period is not
  applicable.

    DOE first considered TSL 5, which represents the max-tech 
efficiency levels. TSL 5 would save 3.32 quads of energy and 6.89 
trillion gallons of water, amounts DOE considers significant. Under TSL 
5, the NPV of consumer benefit would be $19.92 billion, using a 
discount rate of 7 percent, and $50.48 billion, using a discount rate 
of 3 percent.
    The cumulative emissions reductions at TSL 5 are 179 Mt of 
CO[ihel2], 150 thousand tons of NOX, and 0.413 ton of Hg. The estimated 
monetary value of the CO[ihel2] emissions reductions at TSL 5 ranges 
from $838 million to $13,357 million. Total generating capacity in 2043 
is estimated to decrease by 1.86 GW under TSL 5.
    At TSL 5, the average LCC impact is a savings (LCC decrease) of 
$524 for top-loading standard clothes washers, a savings of $102 for 
front-loading standard clothes washers, a savings of $312 for top-
loading compact clothes washers, and a savings of $54 for front-loading 
compact clothes washers. The median payback period is 1.9 years for 
top-loading standard clothes washers, 5.2 years for front-loading 
standard clothes washers, 2.1 years for top-loading compact clothes 
washers, and 0.8 years for front-loading compact clothes washers. A 
significant fraction of consumers, however, experience an LCC increase 
or net cost under TSL 5 for all product classes except front-loading 
compact: 9.5 percent for top-loading standard clothes washers, 30 
percent for front-loading standard clothes washers, and 13 percent for 
top-loading compact clothes washers. In addition, because TSL 5 
significantly raises the first cost of both top-loading and front-
loading clothes washers, DOE is concerned some low-income consumers may 
be compelled to delay or forgo new purchases, using commercial coin 
laundries or repairing their existing clothes washers instead.
    At TSL 5, the projected change in INPV ranges from an increase of 
$255.5 million to a decrease of $1,335.3 million. At this TSL, 
manufacturers would have to overhaul both their front-loading and top-
loading platforms by the 2015 compliance date to meet demand. 
Redesigning all units to meet the current max-tech efficiency levels 
would require considerable capital and product conversion expenditures. 
DOE believes that the scope of the redesigns necessary to meet TSL 5 by 
2015 also heightens concerns over supply chain and operational risk. 
DOE estimates that complete platform redesigns would cost the industry 
over $700 million in product and capital conversion costs. These costs 
alone represent a substantial portion of the total value of the 
industry. In addition, manufacturers could face a substantial impact on

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profitability at TSL 5. Because manufacturers earn a premium for ENERGY 
STAR products and additional profit for products that exceed the ENERGY 
STAR level, collapsing the market to one commodity product makes it 
unlikely that manufacturers could maintain their base-case 
profitability on these products after compliance with the standards is 
required. As a result, DOE expects that TSL 5 would yield impacts 
closer to the high end of the range of INPV impacts. If the high end of 
the range of impacts is reached, as DOE expects, TSL 5 could result in 
a net loss of 51.6 percent in INPV to clothes washer manufacturers.
    The Secretary concludes that at TSL 5 for residential clothes 
washers, the benefits of energy savings, water savings, positive NPV of 
consumer benefits, generating capacity reductions, emission reductions, 
and the estimated monetary value of the CO2 emissions 
reductions would be outweighed by the significant fraction of consumers 
that experience an increase in life-cycle cost and the impacts on 
manufacturers, including the conversion costs and profit margin impacts 
that could result in a very large reduction in INPV for the 
manufacturers and the risk of manufacturer capacity constraints 
resulting from the necessary changes by 2015. Consequently, the 
Secretary has concluded that TSL 5 is not economically justified.
    DOE next considered TSL 4. TSL 4 would save 2.87 quads of energy 
and 5.33 trillion gallons of water, amounts DOE considers significant. 
Under TSL 4, the NPV of consumer benefit would be 16.42 billion, using 
a discount rate of 7 percent, and $41.60 billion, using a discount rate 
of 3 percent.
    The cumulative emissions reductions at TSL 4 are 156 Mt of 
CO2, 130 thousand tons of NOX, and 0.364 tons of 
Hg. The estimated monetary value of the CO2 emissions 
reductions at TSL 4 ranges from $729 million to $11,613 million. Total 
generating capacity in 2044 is estimated to decrease by 1.64 GW under 
TSL 4.
    At TSL 4, the average LCC impact is a savings of $491 for top-
loading standard clothes washers, a savings of $35 for front-loading 
standard clothes washers, a savings of $312 for top-loading compact 
clothes washers, and a savings of $54 for front-loading compact clothes 
washers. The median payback period is 1.8 years for top-loading 
standard clothes washers, 9.2 years for front-loading standard clothes 
washers, 2.1 years for top-loading compact clothes washers, and 0.8 
years for front-loading compact clothes washers. A significant fraction 
of consumers, however, experience an LCC net cost for all product 
classes except for front-loading compact: 8 percent for top-loading 
standard clothes washers, 45 percent for front-loading standard clothes 
washers, and 13 percent for top-loading compact clothes washers. In 
addition, TSL 4 significantly raises the first cost of both top-loading 
and front-loading clothes washers, and DOE is concerned some low-income 
consumers may be compelled to delay or forgo new purchases.
    At TSL 4, the projected change in INPV ranges from an increase of 
$205.0 million to a decrease of $1,256.4 million. At this TSL, 
manufacturers would be required to overhaul both front-loading and top-
loading platforms by the 2015 compliance date to meet demand. DOE 
estimates that it would cost the industry approximately $692 million in 
product and capital conversion costs at TSL 4. These costs reflect 
substantial platform changes to both top-loading and front-loading 
clothes washers by 2015, represent a significant portion of the total 
value of the industry, and trigger capacity concerns in light of the 
magnitude and timing of the necessary changes. In addition, 
manufacturers could face a substantial impact on profitability at TSL 
4. Because manufacturers earn a premium for ENERGY STAR products and 
additional profit for products that exceed the ENERGY STAR level, 
collapsing the market to a few commodity products without efficiency 
differentiators makes it unlikely that manufactures could maintain 
their base-case profitability on these products after standards. 
Because of the effect, DOE expects that TSL 4 would yield impacts 
closer to the high end of the range of INPV impacts. If the high end of 
the range of impacts is reached, as DOE expects, TSL 4 could result in 
a net loss of 48.6 percent in INPV to clothes washer manufacturers.
    The Secretary concludes that at TSL 4 for residential clothes 
washers, the benefits of energy savings, water savings, positive NPV of 
consumer benefits, generating capacity reductions, emission reductions, 
and the estimated monetary value of the CO2 emissions 
reductions would be outweighed by the economic burden on a significant 
fraction of consumers due to the large increase in product cost and the 
impacts on manufacturers, including the conversion costs and profit 
margin impacts that could result in a very large reduction in INPV for 
manufacturers and the risk of manufacturer capacity constraints 
resulting from the necessary changes by 2015. Consequently, the 
Secretary has concluded that TSL 4 is not economically justified.
    DOE then considered TSL 3. TSL 3 would save 2.04 quads of energy 
and 3.03 trillion gallons of water, amounts DOE considers significant. 
Under TSL 3, the NPV of consumer benefit would be $13.01 billion, using 
a discount rate of 7 percent, and $31.29 billion, using a discount rate 
of 3 percent.
    The cumulative emissions reductions at TSL 3 are 113 Mt of 
CO2, 94.2 thousand tons of NOX, and 0.269 ton of 
Hg. The estimated monetary value of the CO2 emissions 
reductions at TSL 3 ranges from $530 million to $8,457 million. Total 
generating capacity in 2045 is estimated to decrease by 1.30 GW under 
TSL 3.
    At TSL 3, the average LCC impact is a savings of $268 in 2015 and 
$366 in 2018 for top-loading standard clothes washers, a savings of $37 
for front-loading standard clothes washers, a savings of $159 in 2015 
and $312 in 2018 for top-loading compact clothes washers, and a savings 
of $54 for front-loading compact clothes washers. The median payback 
period is 0.4 years in 2015 and 0.9 years in 2018 for top-loading 
standard clothes washers, 1.3 years for front-loading standard clothes 
washers, 0.5 years in 2015 and 2.1 years in 2018 for top-loading 
compact clothes washers, and 0.8 years for front-loading compact 
clothes washers. The fraction of consumers experiencing an LCC cost is 
small--less than 1 percent in 2015 and 3 percent in 2018 for top-
loading standard clothes washers, 1.5 percent for front-loading 
standard clothes washers, and 1.5 percent in 2015 and 13 percent in 
2018 for top-loading compact clothes washers. No consumers experience 
an LCC cost for front-loading compact clothes washers. The much lower 
first cost of washers meeting TSL 3, combined with the fact that the 
vast majority of consumers experience either net LCC benefits or no 
impacts at TSL 3, mitigates DOE's concern that some low-income 
consumers would be compelled to delay or forgo new purchases.
    At TSL 3, the projected change in INPV ranges from an increase of 
$96.4 million to a decrease of $858.8 million. For most manufacturers, 
the efficiency levels for top-loading clothes washers at TSL 3 
correspond to incremental product conversion by 2015 and a platform 
redesign by 2018. These compliance dates mitigate capacity risk to 
manufacturers and their supply chains and afford manufacturers the 
flexibility to spread capital requirements, engineering resources, and 
other conversion activities over a longer period of time depending on 
the

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individual needs of each manufacturer. These factors at TSL 3 mitigate 
DOE's concerns about manufacturers' ability to match production 
capacity to market demand. At TSL 3, DOE recognizes the risk of 
negative impacts if manufacturers' expectations concerning reduced 
profit margins are realized. However, the additional flexibility of the 
compliance dates and range of efficiency levels above TSL 3 afford 
manufacturers room to maintain higher value products. Therefore, DOE 
expects impacts to be closer to the low end of the range of impacts.
    The Secretary concludes that at TSL 3 for residential clothes 
washers, the benefits of energy savings, water savings, positive NPV of 
consumer benefits, generating capacity reductions, emission reductions, 
the estimated monetary value of the CO2 emissions 
reductions, and favorable consumer LCC savings and payback period for 
more than 97 percent of consumers outweigh the LCC costs for less than 
3 percent of consumers and the conversion costs and profit margin 
impacts that could result in a reduction in INPV for manufacturers.
    In addition, the efficiency levels in TSL 3 correspond to the 
recommended levels in the Joint Petition, which DOE believes sets forth 
a statement by interested persons that are fairly representative of 
relevant points of view (including representatives of manufacturers of 
covered products, States, and efficiency advocates) and contains 
recommendations with respect to an energy conservation standard that 
are in accordance with 42 U.S.C. 6295(o). Moreover, DOE has encouraged 
the submission of consensus agreements as a way for diverse interested 
parties to develop an independent and probative analysis useful in DOE 
standard setting and to expedite the rulemaking process. DOE also 
believes that the standard levels recommended in the consensus 
agreement may increase the likelihood for regulatory compliance, while 
decreasing the risk of litigation.
    After considering the analysis, comments on the framework document, 
and the benefits and burdens of TSL 3, the Secretary concludes that 
this TSL will offer the maximum improvement in efficiency that is 
technologically feasible and economically justified, and will result in 
the significant conservation of energy. Therefore, DOE proposes to 
adopt TSL 3 for residential clothes washers. The proposed amended 
energy conservation standards for residential clothes washers, which 
are a minimum allowable integrated modified energy factor (IMEF) and 
maximum allowable integrated water factor (IWF), are shown in Table 
II.3.

                 Table II.3--Proposed Amended Energy Conservation Standards for Clothes Washers
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                                                      Effective March 7, 2015        Effective January 1, 2018
                                                 ---------------------------------------------------------------
                  Product class                                     Maximum IWF                     Maximum IWF
                                                  Minimum IMEF *     [dagger]     Minimum IMEF *     [dagger]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Top-loading, Compact (less than 1.6 ft \3\               0.86            14.4            1.15            12.0
 capacity)......................................
2. Top-loading, Standard........................            1.29             8.4            1.57             6.5
                                                                                 -------------------------------
3. Front-loading, Compact (less than 1.6 ft \3\             1.13             8.3                N/A
 capacity)......................................
4. Front-loading, Standard......................            1.84             4.7                N/A
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* IMEF (integrated modified energy factor) is calculated as the clothes container capacity in cubic feet divided
  by the sum, expressed in kilowatt-hours (kWh), of: (1) the total weighted per-cycle hot water energy
  consumption; (2) the total weighted per-cycle machine electrical energy consumption; (3) the per-cycle energy
  consumption for removing moisture from a test load; and (4) the per-cycle standby and off mode energy
  consumption.
[dagger] IWF (integrated water consumption factor is calculated as the sum, expressed in gallons per cycle, of
  the total weighted per-cycle water consumption for all wash cycles divided by the clothes container capacity
  in cubic feet.

B. Summary of Benefits and Costs (Annualized) of the Standards

    The benefits and costs of today's standards can also be expressed 
in terms of annualized values. The annualized monetary values are the 
sum of (1) the annualized national economic value, expressed in 2010$, 
of the benefits from operating products that meet the proposed 
standards (consisting primarily of operating cost savings from using 
less energy and water, minus increases in product purchase costs, which 
is another way of representing consumer NPV), and (2) the monetary 
value of the benefits of emission reductions, including CO2 
emission reductions.\4\ The value of the CO2 reductions, 
otherwise known as the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC), is calculated using 
a range of values per metric ton of CO2 developed by a 
recent interagency process.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ DOE used a two-step calculation process to convert the time-
series of costs and benefits into annualized values. First, DOE 
calculated a present value in 2011, the year used for discounting 
the NPV of total consumer costs and savings, for the time-series of 
costs and benefits using discount rates of 3 and 7 percent for all 
costs and benefits except for the value of CO2 
reductions. For the latter, DOE used a range of discount rates, as 
shown in Table II.4. From the present value, DOE then calculated the 
fixed annual payment over a 30-year period that yields the same 
present value. The fixed annual payment is the annualized value. 
Although DOE calculated annualized values, this does not imply that 
the time-series of cost and benefits from which the annualized 
values were determined would be a steady stream of payments.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Although combining the values of operating savings and 
CO2 reductions provides a useful perspective, two issues 
should be considered. First, the national operating savings are 
domestic U.S. consumer monetary savings that occur as a result of 
market transactions while the value of CO2 reductions is 
based on a global value. Second, the assessments of operating cost 
savings and SCC are performed with different methods that use quite 
different time frames for analysis. The national operating cost savings 
is measured for the lifetime of products shipped in 2015-2044. The SCC 
values, on the other hand, reflect the present value of all future 
climate-related impacts resulting from the emission of one ton of 
carbon dioxide in each year. These impacts continue well beyond 2100.
    Table II.4 shows the annualized values for clothes washers. Using a 
7-percent discount rate for benefits and costs other than 
CO2 reductions, for which DOE used a 3-percent discount rate 
along with the SCC series corresponding to a value of $22.3/ton in 
2010, the cost of the standards for clothes washers in today's rule is 
$185 million per year in increased equipment costs, while the 
annualized benefits are $1,234 million per year in reduced equipment 
operating costs, $141.7 million in CO2 reductions, and $5.4 
million in reduced NOX emissions. In this case, the net 
benefit amounts to $1.20 billion per year. Using a 3-percent discount 
rate and for all benefits and

[[Page 32386]]

costs and the SCC series corresponding to a value of $22.3/ton in 2010, 
the cost of the standards for clothes washers in today's rule is $212 
million per year in increased equipment costs, while the benefits are 
$1,808 million per year in reduced operating costs, $141.7 million in 
CO2 reductions, and $8.0 million in reduced NOX 
emissions. In this case, the net benefit amounts to $1.75 billion per 
year.

                                         Table II.4--Annualized Benefits and Costs of Proposed Amended Standards (TSL 3) for Residential Clothes Washers
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                        Monetized (million 2010$/year)
                                                  Discount rate             --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                       Primary estimate*                  Low net benefits estimate*            High net benefits estimate*
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                            Benefits
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Operating Cost Savings..............  7%...................................  1234.................................  1101.................................  1379.
                                      3%...................................  1808.................................  1587.................................  2042.
CO2 Reduction at $4.9/t**...........  5%...................................  34.5.................................  31.7.................................  37.4.
CO2 Reduction at $22.3/t**..........  3%...................................  142..................................  130..................................  154.
CO2 Reduction at $36.5/t**..........  2.5%.................................  226..................................  207..................................  246.
CO2 Reduction at $67.6/t**..........  3%...................................  431..................................  396..................................  469.
NOX Reduction at $2,537/t**.........  7%...................................  5.40.................................  5.03.................................  5.82.
                                      3%...................................  8.01.................................  7.39.................................  8.68.
Total[dagger].......................  7% plus CO2 range....................  1274 to 1671.........................  1137 to 1502.........................  1423 to 1854.
                                      7%...................................  1381.................................  1236.................................  1539.
                                      3% plus CO2 range....................  1851 to 2248.........................  1626 to 1991.........................  2089 to 2520.
                                      3%...................................  1958.................................  1725.................................  2205.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                              Costs
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Incremental Product Costs...........  7%...................................  185..................................  258..................................  200.
                                      3%...................................  212..................................  309..................................  230.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                       Total Net Benefits
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total[dagger].......................  7% plus CO2 range....................  1088 to 1485.........................  880 to 1244..........................  1223 to 1654.
                                      7%...................................  1196.................................  978..................................  1339.
                                      3% plus CO2 range....................  1639 to 2036.........................  1317 to 1682.........................  1859 to 2291.
                                      3%...................................  1746.................................  1416.................................  1976.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* The Primary, Low Benefit, and High Benefit Estimates utilize forecasts of energy prices and housing starts (which affect product shipments) from the AEO2010 Reference case, Low Economic
  Growth case, and High Economic Growth case, respectively. In addition, incremental product costs reflect a declining trend using the default product price trend in the Primary Estimate and
  High Benefits Estimate, and constant product prices in the Low Benefits Estimate. Because product prices are constant in the Low Benefits Estimate, the incremental product costs are higher
  than in the other two estimates. Although the price trends in the Primary Estimate and the High Benefits Estimate are the same, the incremental product costs are higher in the High Benefits
  Estimate because this case assumes High Economic Growth and thus has more product shipments. The approach used for forecasting product prices is explained in section IV.F.1.
** The CO2 values represent global values (in 2010$) of the social cost of CO2 emissions in 2010 under several scenarios. The values of $4.9, $22.3, and $36.5 per ton are the averages of SCC
  distributions calculated using 5%, 3%, and 2.5% discount rates, respectively. The value of $67.6 per ton represents the 95th percentile of the SCC distribution calculated using a 3% discount
  rate. The value for NOX (in 2010$) is the average of the low and high values used in DOE's analysis.
[dagger] Total Benefits for both the 3% and 7% cases are derived using the SCC value calculated at a 3% discount rate, which is $22.3/ton in 2010 (in 2010$). In the rows labeled as ``7% plus
  CO2 range'' and ``3% plus CO2 range,'' the operating cost and NOX benefits are calculated using the labeled discount rate, and those values are added to the full range of CO2 values.

III. Public Participation

A. Submission of Comments

    DOE will accept comments, data, and information regarding this 
proposed rule until the date provided in the DATES section at the 
beginning of this proposed rule. Interested parties may submit 
comments, data, and other information using any of the methods 
described in the ADDRESSES section at the beginning of this proposed 
rule.
    Submitting comments via regulations.gov. The regulations.gov Web 
page will require you to provide your name and contact information. 
Your contact information will be viewable to DOE Building Technologies 
staff only. Your contact information will not be publicly viewable 
except for your first and last names, organization name (if any), and 
submitter representative name (if any). If your comment is not 
processed properly because of technical difficulties, DOE will use this 
information to contact you. If DOE cannot read your comment due to 
technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, DOE 
may not be able to consider your comment.
    However, your contact information will be publicly viewable if you 
include it in the comment itself or in any documents attached to your 
comment. Any information that you do not want to be publicly viewable 
should not be included in your comment, nor in any document attached to 
your comment. Otherwise, persons viewing comments will see only first 
and last names, organization names, correspondence containing comments, 
and any documents submitted with the comments.
    Do not submit to regulations.gov information for which disclosure 
is restricted by statute, such as trade secrets and commercial or 
financial information (hereinafter referred to as Confidential Business 
Information (CBI)). Comments submitted through regulations.gov cannot 
be claimed as CBI. Comments received through the Web site will waive 
any CBI claims for the information submitted. For

[[Page 32387]]

information on submitting CBI, see the Confidential Business 
Information section below.
    DOE processes submissions made through regulations.gov before 
posting. Normally, comments will be posted within a few days of being 
submitted. However, if large volumes of comments are being processed 
simultaneously, your comment may not be viewable for up to several 
weeks. Please keep the comment tracking number that regulations.gov 
provides after you have successfully uploaded your comment.
    Submitting comments via email, hand delivery/courier, or mail. 
Comments and documents submitted via email, hand delivery, or mail also 
will be posted to regulations.gov. If you do not want your personal 
contact information to be publicly viewable, do not include it in your 
comment or any accompanying documents. Instead, provide your contact 
information in a cover letter. Include your first and last names, email 
address, telephone number, and optional mailing address. The cover 
letter will not be publicly viewable as long as it does not include any 
comments.
    Include contact information each time you submit comments, data, 
documents, and other information to DOE. Email submissions are 
preferred. If you submit via mail or hand delivery/courier, please 
provide all items on a CD, if feasible. It is not necessary to submit 
printed copies. No facsimiles (faxes) will be accepted.
    Comments, data, and other information submitted to DOE 
electronically should be provided in PDF (preferred), Microsoft Word or 
Excel, WordPerfect, or text (ASCII) file format. Provide documents that 
are not secured, that are written in English, and that are free of any 
defects or viruses. Documents should not contain special characters or 
any form of encryption and, if possible, they should carry the 
electronic signature of the author.
    Campaign form letters. Please submit campaign form letters by the 
originating organization in batches of between 50 to 500 form letters 
per PDF or as one form letter with a list of supporters' names compiled 
into one or more PDFs. This reduces comment processing and posting 
time.
    Confidential business information. According to 10 CFR 1004.11, any 
person submitting information that he or she believes to be 
confidential and exempt by law from public disclosure should submit via 
email, postal mail, or hand delivery/courier two well-marked copies: 
One copy of the document marked confidential including all the 
information believed to be confidential, and one copy of the document 
marked non-confidential with the information believed to be 
confidential deleted. Submit these documents via email or on a CD, if 
feasible. DOE will make its own determination about the confidential 
status of the information and treat it according to its determination.
    Factors of interest to DOE when evaluating requests to treat 
submitted information as confidential include: (1) A description of the 
items; (2) whether and why such items are customarily treated as 
confidential within the industry; (3) whether the information is 
generally known by or available from other sources; (4) whether the 
information has previously been made available to others without 
obligation concerning its confidentiality; (5) an explanation of the 
competitive injury to the submitting person which would result from 
public disclosure; (6) when such information might lose its 
confidential character due to the passage of time; and (7) why 
disclosure of the information would be contrary to the public interest.
    It is DOE's policy that all comments may be included in the public 
docket, without change and as received, including any personal 
information provided in the comments (except information deemed to be 
exempt from public disclosure).

B. Public Meeting

    If DOE withdraws the direct final rule published elsewhere in 
today's Federal Register pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 6295(p)(4)(C), DOE will 
hold a public meeting to allow for additional comment on this proposed 
rule. DOE will publish notice of any meeting in the Federal Register.

C. Issues on which DOE seeks Comment

    As stated previously, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 6295(p)(4), DOE 
promulgated a direct final rule establishing standards for residential 
clothes washers elsewhere in today's Federal Register. The standards 
established in the direct final rule are the same standards proposed in 
today's NOPR. In promulgating the direct final rule, DOE carefully 
considered the Joint Petition submitted to DOE, which contained a 
consensus recommendation for amended energy conservation standards for 
residential clothes washers. For the reasons stated in the direct final 
rule, the Secretary determined that the ``Consensus Agreement'' was 
submitted by interested persons who are fairly representative of 
relevant points of view on this matter. The Secretary also determined, 
for the reasons set forth in the direct final rule, that the standards 
contained in the Consensus Agreement comport with the standard-setting 
criteria set forth under 42 U.S.C. 6295(o). Therefore, the Secretary 
promulgated the direct final rule establishing the amended energy 
conservation standards for residential clothes washers.
    (1) As required by the same statutory provision, DOE is also 
simultaneously publishing this NOPR and providing for a 110-day public 
comment period. Should DOE determine to proceed with this NOPR, or to 
gather additional data for future energy conservation standards 
activities for residential clothes washers, DOE will consider any 
comments and data received on these proposed standards. Although 
comments are welcome on all aspects of this rulemaking, DOE is 
particularly interested in comments on the following:
    (1) Impacts of the standards that may lessen or improve the utility 
or performance of the covered products. These impacts may include 
increased cycle times to wash clothes, ability to achieve good wash 
performance (e.g., cleaning and rinsing), increased longevity of 
clothing, improved ergonomics of washer use, increase in noise, and 
other potential impacts.
    (2) The 2015 and 2018 compliance dates for the proposed standards 
and whether these compliance dates adequately consider the typical 
clothes washer model design cycle for manufacturers.
    (3) Whether repair costs for residential clothes washers would 
increase at the efficiency levels indicated in today's rule due to any 
changes in the design and materials and components used in order to 
comply with the new efficiency standards.
    (4) Where there would be any anticipated changes in the consumption 
of complementary goods (e.g., laundry detergent, stain removers, fabric 
softeners) that may result from the proposed standards.
    (5) Whether DOE should incorporate the cost of risers or storage 
drawers (also referred to as pedestals) into the baseline installation 
costs for front-loading machines.
Changes in the Utility of the Products
    DOE has prepared a technical support document (TSD) that analyzed 
the effect of this rule on, among other things, life cycle costs, 
payback periods and other consumer-related impacts. However, there are 
other facets of consumer welfare that are not explicitly captured in 
this analysis, including washing performance, increased longevity of 
clothing, and noise. While information

[[Page 32388]]

gathered in the course of this rulemaking did not demonstrate a linkage 
between these topics and efficiency standards, DOE is seeking comment 
and information on how consumers value changes in these attributes and 
if those values should be incorporated into DOE analysis.
    Also, although it is outside the scope of this rule, DOE may 
consider seeking information on whether to account for wash performance 
and fabric care in test procedures for clothes washers.
2015 and 2018 Compliance Dates
    DOE is seeking comment on redesign timelines anticipated by the 
manufacturers and how the 2015 and 2018 compliance dates may affect 
those timelines. DOE's manufacturer impact analysis is based on 
information provided by the manufacturer and supports the positions 
that manufacturers will need to make only minor redesign to comply with 
the 2015 standards, though the 2018 standards could require more 
substantial redesigns. Accepting that manufacturers fully considered 
their cost implications prior to entering voluntarily the consensus 
agreement, DOE assumes that manufacturers would not have agreed to 
compliance dates they could not meet or that imposed prohibitive costs. 
However, depending on how the redesign timeline and the compliance 
dates coincide, the cost estimates may be affected, for example, due to 
sunk cost, as well as the anticipated market shares of front-loading 
versus top-loading clothes washers.

IV. Procedural Issues and Regulatory Review

    The regulatory reviews conducted for this proposed rule are 
identical to those conducted for the direct final rule published 
elsewhere in today's Federal Register. Please see the direct final rule 
for further details.

V. Approval of the Office of the Secretary

    The Secretary of Energy has approved publication of today's 
proposed rule.

List of Subjects

10 CFR Part 429

    Administrative practice and procedure, Confidential business 
information, Energy conservation, Household appliances, and Reporting 
and recordkeeping requirements.

10 CFR Part 430

    Administrative practice and procedure, Confidential business 
information, Energy conservation, Household appliances, Imports, 
Intergovernmental relations, and Small businesses.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on May 11, 2012.
David Danielson,
Assistant Secretary, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, DOE proposes to amend 
parts 429 and 430 of title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as 
set forth below:

PART 429--CERTIFICATION, COMPLIANCE, AND ENFORCEMENT FOR CONSUMER 
PRODUCTS AND COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL EQUIPMENT

    1. The authority citation for part 429 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6291-6317.

    2. In Sec.  429.20 revise paragraph (b)(2) to read as follows:


Sec.  429.20  Residential clothes washers.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (2) Pursuant to Sec.  429.12(b)(13), a certification report shall 
include the following public product-specific information:
    (i) For residential clothes washers manufactured before March 7, 
2015: The modified energy factor (MEF) in cubic feet per kilowatt hour 
per cycle (cu ft/kWh/cycle) and the capacity in cubic feet (cu ft). For 
standard-size residential clothes washers, a water factor (WF) in 
gallons per cycle per cubic feet (gal/cycle/cu ft).
    (ii) For residential clothes washers manufactured on or after March 
7, 2015: The integrated modified energy factor (IMEF) in cu ft/kWh/
cycle, the integrated water factor (IWF) in gal/cycle/cu ft, the 
capacity in cu ft and the type of loading (top-loading or front-
loading).
* * * * *

PART 430--ENERGY CONSERVATION PROGRAM FOR CONSUMER PRODUCTS

    3. The authority citation for part 430 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6291-6309; 28 U.S.C. 2461 note.

    4. In Sec.  430.32 revise paragraph (g) to read as follows:


Sec.  430.32  Energy and water conservation standards and their 
effective dates.

* * * * *
    (g) Clothes washers. (1) Clothes washers manufactured on or after 
January 1, 2007 shall have a Modified Energy Factor no less than:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                        Modified energy
                    Product class                       factor (cu.ft./
                                                           kWh/cycle)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
i. Top-loading, Compact (less than 1.6 ft\3\                       0.65.
 capacity)...........................................
ii. Top-loading, Standard (1.6 ft\3\ or greater                    1.26.
 capacity)...........................................
iii. Top-Loading, Semi-Automatic.....................            \1\ Not
                                                             Applicable.
iv. Front-loading....................................              1.26.
v. Suds-saving.......................................            \1\ Not
                                                             Applicable.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Must have an unheated rinse water option.

    (2) All top-loading or front-loading standard-size residential 
clothes washers manufactured on or after January 1, 2011, and before 
March 7, 2015, shall meet the following standard--
    (i) A Modified Energy Factor of at least 1.26; and
    (ii) A Water Factor of not more than 9.5.
    (3) Clothes washers manufactured on or after March 7, 2015, and 
before January 1, 2018, shall have an Integrated Modified Energy Factor 
no less than, and an Integrated Water Factor no greater than:

[[Page 32389]]



------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Integrated
                                     modified energy    Integrated water
           Product class             factor (cu.ft./   factor (gal/cycle/
                                        kWh/cycle)          cu.ft.)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
i. Top-loading, Compact (less than               0.86               14.4
 1.6 ft\3\ capacity)..............
ii. Top-loading, Standard (1.6                   1.29                8.4
 ft\3\ or greater capacity).......
iii. Front-loading, Compact (less                1.13                8.3
 than 1.6 ft\3\ capacity).........
iv. Front-loading, Standard (1.6                 1.84                4.7
 ft\3\ or greater capacity).......
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (4) Clothes washers manufactured on or after January 1, 2018 shall 
have an Integrated Modified Energy Factor no less than, and an 
Integrated Water Factor no greater than:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Integrated
                                     modified energy    Integrated water
           Product class             factor (cu.ft./   factor (gal/cycle/
                                        kWh/cycle)          cu.ft.)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
i. Top-loading, Compact (less than               1.15               12.0
 1.6 ft\3\ capacity)..............
ii. Top-loading, Standard (1.6                   1.57                6.5
 ft\3\ or greater capacity).......
iii. Front-loading, Compact (less                1.13                8.3
 than 1.6 ft\3\ capacity).........
iv. Front-loading, Standard (1.6                 1.84                4.7
 ft\3\ or greater capacity).......
------------------------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2012-12319 Filed 5-30-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P