[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 190 (Monday, October 1, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 59719-59725]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-23960]



[[Page 59719]]

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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: Notice of effective date and compliance dates for direct final 
rule.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published a direct final 
rule to establish amended energy conservation standards for residential 
clothes washers in the Federal Register on May 31, 2012. DOE has 
determined that the adverse comments received in response to the direct 
final rule were not sufficiently adverse to provide a reasonable basis 
for withdrawing the direct final rule. Therefore, DOE provides this 
document confirming adoption of the energy conservation standards 
established in the direct final rule and announcing the effective date 
of those standards.

DATES: The September 28, 2012, effective date for the direct final rule 
published on May 31, 2012 (77 FR 32308) is confirmed. Compliance with 
the standards in the direct final rule will be required on March 7, 
2015 and January 1, 2018, as set forth in Table 1 in the SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION section.

ADDRESSES: 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. All documents in the docket are listed in the 
regulations.gov index. Not all documents listed in the index may be 
publicly available, such as information that is exempt from public 
disclosure. 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, contact Ms. Brenda Edwards at (202) 
586-2945 or email: Brenda.Edwards@ee.doe.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. 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; telephone: (202) 586-7463; email: 
Stephen.Witkowski@ee.doe.gov.
    Ms. Elizabeth Kohl, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the 
General Counsel, GC-71, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 
20585-0121; telephone: (202) 586-7796; email: 
Elizabeth.Kohl@hq.doe.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Authority and Rulemaking Background

    As amended by Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (Pub. L. 
110-140), the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) authorizes DOE 
to issue a direct final rule establishing an energy conservation 
standard 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 of 
Energy (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). A notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) that 
proposes an identical energy conservation standard must be published 
simultaneously with the direct final rule, and DOE must provide a 
public comment period of at least 110 days on the direct final rule. 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 NOPR. DOE must publish in the Federal 
Register the reasons why the direct final rule was withdrawn. Id.
    During the rulemaking proceeding to consider amending energy 
conservation standards for residential clothes washers, DOE received 
the ``Agreement on Minimum Federal Efficiency Standards, Smart 
Appliances, Federal Incentives and Related Matters for Specified 
Appliances'' (the ``Joint Petition'' or ``Consensus Agreement''), a 
comment submitted by groups representing manufacturers (the Association 
of Home 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''). This 
collective set of comments 1 2 recommends specific energy 
conservation standards for residential clothes washers that, in the 
commenters' view, would satisfy the EPCA requirements at 42 U.S.C. 
6295(o).
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    \1\ DOE Docket No. EERE-2008-BT-STD-0019, Comment 35.
    \2\ The Joint Petitioners submitted a second petition amending 
the recommended compliance dates for new residential clothes washer 
standards. DOE Docket No. EERE-2008-BT-STD-0019, Comment 39.
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    After careful consideration of the Consensus Agreement, the 
Secretary determined that it was submitted by interested persons who 
are fairly representative of relevant points of view on this matter. 
DOE noted in the direct final rule that Congress provided some guidance 
within the statute itself by specifying that representatives of 
manufacturers of covered products, States, and efficiency advocates are 
relevant parties to any consensus recommendation. (42 U.S.C. 
6295(p)(4)(A)) As delineated above, the Consensus Agreement was signed 
and submitted by a broad cross-section of the manufacturers who produce 
the subject products, their trade associations, and environmental, 
energy efficiency and consumer advocacy organizations. Although States 
were not signatories to the Consensus Agreement, they did not express 
any opposition to it from the time of its submission to DOE through the 
close of the comment period on the direct final rule. Moreover, DOE 
stated in the direct final rule that it does not interpret the statute 
as requiring absolute agreement among all interested parties before DOE 
may proceed with issuance of a direct final

[[Page 59720]]

rule. By explicit language of the statute, the Secretary has discretion 
to determine when a joint recommendation for an energy or water 
conservation standard has met the requirement for representativeness 
(i.e., ``as determined by the Secretary''). Accordingly, DOE determined 
that the Consensus Agreement was made and submitted by interested 
persons fairly representative of relevant points of view.
    Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 6295(p)(4), the Secretary must also determine 
whether a jointly submitted recommendation for an energy or water 
conservation standard is in accordance with 42 U.S.C. 6295(o) or 42 
U.S.C. 6313(a)(6)(B), as applicable. As stated in the direct final 
rule, this determination is exactly the type of analysis DOE conducts 
whenever it considers potential energy conservation standards pursuant 
to EPCA. DOE applies the same principles to any consensus 
recommendations it may receive to satisfy its statutory obligation to 
ensure that any energy conservation standard that it adopts achieves 
the maximum improvement in energy efficiency that is technologically 
feasible and economically justified and will result in significant 
conservation of energy. Upon review, the Secretary determined that the 
Consensus Agreement submitted in the instant rulemaking comports with 
the standard-setting criteria set forth under 42 U.S.C. 6295(o). 
Accordingly, the Consensus Agreement levels, included as trial standard 
level (TSL) 3, were adopted as the amended standard levels in the 
direct final rule.
    In sum, as the relevant statutory criteria were satisfied, the 
Secretary adopted the amended energy conservation standards for 
residential clothes washers set forth in the direct final rule. These 
standards are set forth in TABLE 1--AMENDED ENERGY CONSERVATION 
STANDARDS FOR RESIDENTIAL CLOTHES WASHERS. The standards apply to all 
products listed in TABLE 1--AMENDED ENERGY CONSERVATION STANDARDS FOR 
RESIDENTIAL CLOTHES WASHERS that are manufactured in, or imported into, 
the United States on or after March 7, 2015 for top loading clothes 
washers and January 1, 2018 for both top loading and front loading 
clothes washers. For a detailed discussion of DOE's analysis of the 
benefits and burdens of the amended standards pursuant to the criteria 
set forth in EPCA, please see the direct final rule. (77 FR 32308 (May 
31, 2012)).
    As required by EPCA, DOE also simultaneously published a NOPR 
proposing the identical standard levels contained in the direct final 
rule. DOE considered whether any comment received during the 110-day 
comment period following the direct final rule was sufficiently 
``adverse'' as to provide a reasonable basis for withdrawal of the 
direct final rule and continuation of this rulemaking under the NOPR. 
As noted in the direct final rule, it is the substance, rather than the 
quantity, of comments that will ultimately determine whether a direct 
final rule will be withdrawn. To this end, DOE weighs the substance of 
any adverse comment(s) received against the anticipated benefits of the 
Consensus Agreement and the likelihood that further consideration of 
the comment(s) would change the results of the rulemaking. DOE notes 
that to the extent an adverse comment had been previously raised and 
addressed in the rulemaking proceeding, such a submission will not 
typically provide a basis for withdrawal of a direct final rule.

                 Table 1--Amended Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Clothes Washers
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                                                  Compliance date: March 7, 2015    Compliance date: January 1,
                                                 --------------------------------              2018
                  Product class                                                  -------------------------------
                                                  Minimum IMEF *    Maximum IWF                     Maximum IWF
                                                                     [dagger]     Minimum IMEF *     [dagger]
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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
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* 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. These IMEF standard levels are equivalent to the modified energy factor (MEF) standards proposed
  in the Consensus Agreement.
[dagger] IWF (integrated water 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. These IWF standard levels are equivalent to the water factor (WF) standards proposed in the Consensus
  Agreement.

II. Comments Received on the Direct Final Rule

A. Comments Received in Support of the Direct Final Rule

    Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Gas Company, 
San Diego Gas and Electric, and Southern California Edison jointly 
expressed support for DOE's adoption of the standard levels proposed in 
the Joint Petition,\3\ as did AHAM.\4\ Additionally, ASAP, ASE, ACEEE, 
CFA, NCLC, NRDC, and NEEP commented in support of the standard levels 
in the direct final rule.\5\ One private citizen also expressed support 
for the amended standards in the direct final rule.\6\
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    \3\ DOE Docket No. EERE-2008-BT-STD-0019, Comment 48.
    \4\ DOE Docket No. EERE-2008-BT-STD-0019, Comment 50.
    \5\ DOE Docket No. EERE-2008-BT-STD-0019, Comment 51.
    \6\ DOE Docket No. EERE-2008-BT-STD-0019, Comment 49.
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B. Comments Requesting Withdrawal of the Direct Final Rule

    DOE received one adverse comment from a private citizen.\7\ The 
commenter does not support mandatory standards for residential clothes 
washers and believes energy efficiency standards should be voluntary 
and offered as a choice to the consumer. The commenter states that 
energy efficiency standards should consider clothes washer cleaning 
performance. Further, the commenter believes that energy efficiency 
standards

[[Page 59721]]

are negatively impacting cleaning performance, and that the standards 
should allow manufacturers to implement a user override option on the 
clothes washer.
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    \7\ DOE Docket No. EERE-2008-BT-STD-0019, Comment 52.
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    Regarding whether the energy efficiency standards should be 
mandatory or voluntary, EPCA requires DOE to consider whether to amend 
existing energy efficiency standards for residential clothes washers. 
EPCA further requires DOE to adopt those standards that achieve the 
maximum improvement in energy efficiency that is technologically 
feasible and economically justified. Manufacturers are required by EPCA 
to manufacture products that meet these standards. 42 U.S.C. 
6295(g)(10), (o); 42 U.S.C. 6302. For the reasons stated in the direct 
final rule, DOE determined that the standards adopted for residential 
clothes washers meet the EPCA criteria. Manufacturers will be required 
to use these standards as of March 7, 2015 and January 1, 2018, as 
described in the direct final rule.
    Regarding cleaning performance, in determining whether a new 
standard is economically justified, EPCA requires DOE to consider any 
lessening of the utility or the performance likely to result from the 
imposition of a new standard. 42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(2)(B)(i)(IV), (o)(4) 
DOE notes that the measurement of energy efficiency or energy or water 
use presumes the proper functioning of a product. DOE has considered 
performance generally in the development of these standards and has 
concluded that the TSL adopted in this direct final rule would not 
reduce the utility or performance of the clothes washers under 
consideration in this rulemaking.
    Regarding the implementation of override features on a clothes 
washer, Federal regulations do not address any specific product 
features; rather, the standards specify allowable energy and water use. 
Manufacturers may use any product design, technology, or control 
strategy in their clothes washers as long as the products meet the 
amended minimum efficiency standards as measured according to DOE's 
test procedures at 10 CFR part 430, Subpart B, Appendix J2. Because 
manufacturers must produce clothes washers that comply with the minimum 
standards, however, including a feature that allowed the consumer to 
override the maximum allowable water use and minimally allowable energy 
use would not be consistent with EPCA.

C. Other Comments on the Direct Final Rule

    Although AHAM expressed support for the direct final rule, AHAM 
raised several points that it stated were not intended as adverse 
comments.\8\
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    \8\ DOE Docket No. EERE-2008-BT-STD-0019, Comment 50.
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    AHAM noted that the compliance date for the amended clothes washer 
standards represents an unusual case in which less lead time than usual 
is acceptable because manufacturers agreed to the shorter lead time as 
part of the Consensus Agreement. AHAM agreed to this date as part of 
the Consensus Agreement, but it noted that without such agreement, DOE 
must specify the three-year statutory lead time. DOE acknowledges 
AHAM's comment.
    AHAM commented that it believes the standby power level of 0.08 
Watts that DOE associated with the selected standard levels is quite 
low. AHAM stated that 1-2 Watts of standby power are required to power 
electronic controls and to provide consumers with the usability they 
expect. AHAM also disagreed with DOE's conclusion that the cost to 
achieve 0.08 Watts is lower than the cost of achieving higher wattages 
of standby power. AHAM stated that if this were true, industry would 
already have products on the market that use only 0.08 Watts of standby 
power.
    DOE described its approach to incorporating standby power levels in 
the direct final rule and in chapter 5 of the accompanying Technical 
Support Document (TSD). 77 FR 32335 DOE conducted standby power testing 
on a sample of representative clothes washers to determine the standby 
power levels associated with each TSL. DOE measured standby power 
values of 0.08 Watts or less on multiple clothes washer models with 
electronic controls. DOE's methods for identifying the technologies 
associated with each standby power level, as well as the costs 
associated with each standby power level, are described in detail in 
chapter 5 of the TSD.
    Regarding clothes washer performance, AHAM agrees that the 
efficiency levels in the direct final rule are not likely to adversely 
impact performance, but stated that more stringent levels could 
adversely impact performance. AHAM stated that, as efficiency and water 
standards levels become more stringent, it may be necessary to evaluate 
performance in DOE's analysis. DOE acknowledges AHAM's comment.
    AHAM opposed DOE's use of the Residential Energy Consumption Survey 
(RECS) and similar data for its energy and water use analysis. DOE 
acknowledges AHAM's comment. DOE used RECS data for the energy and 
water use analysis for the reasons explained in the direct final rule. 
77 FR 32338-9 (May 31, 2012)
    AHAM stated that the burden associated with reporting for 
certification is substantially more than 20 hours. AHAM encourages DOE 
to amend its certification, compliance, and enforcement rule to conform 
the scope of its annual report to the Federal Trade Commission report. 
DOE acknowledges AHAM's comment.
    AHAM continues to oppose the use of experience curves in the 
projection of consumer product prices. DOE used experience curves to 
project product prices for residential clothes washers for the reasons 
stated in the direct final rule. 77 FR 32340
    AHAM stated that it is not aware of a rebound effect for clothes 
washers, and it has no reason to believe that operating cost would 
change user behavior at the levels in the direct final rule. DOE 
acknowledges AHAM's comment.
    AHAM stated that any CO2 analysis should include 
CO2 emissions that are caused indirectly, as well as 
directly, from a standards change, such as increased carbon emissions 
required to manufacture a product at a given standard level. DOE has 
begun to include CO2 emissions that occur in the full fuel 
cycle, which includes emissions that occur in production and 
transportation of fuels. DOE continues to believe that it is 
inappropriate to include emissions that occur in manufacturing or 
transport of appliances. EPCA directs DOE to consider the total 
projected amount of energy savings likely to result directly from a 
standard, and DOE interprets this to include only energy consumed at 
the point of use and in the production, processing and transportation 
of fuels used by appliances or equipment.

III. Department of Justice Analysis of Competitive Impacts

    EPCA directs DOE to consider any lessening of competition that is 
likely to result from new or amended standards. It also directs the 
Attorney General of the United States (Attorney General) to determine 
the impact, if any, of any lessening of competition likely to result 
from a proposed standard and to transmit such determination to the 
Secretary within 60 days of the publication of a proposed rule, 
together with an analysis of the nature and extent of the impact. (42 
U.S.C. 6295(o)(2)(B)(i)(V) and (B)(ii)) DOE published a NOPR containing 
energy conservation standards identical to those set forth the direct 
final rule and

[[Page 59722]]

transmitted a copy of the direct final rule and the accompanying TSD to 
the Attorney General, requesting that the U.S. Department of Justice 
(DOJ) provide its determination on this issue. DOE has published DOJ's 
comments at the end of this document.
    DOJ reviewed the amended standards in the direct final rule and the 
final TSD provided by DOE. As a result of its analysis, DOJ concluded 
that the amended standards issued in the direct final rule are unlikely 
to have a significant adverse impact on competition. DOJ further noted 
that the amended standards established in the direct final rule were 
the same as recommended standards submitted in the Joint Petition 
signed by industry participants who believed they could meet the 
standards (as well as other interested parties).

IV. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) requires 
preparation of a regulatory flexibility analysis for any rule that by 
law must be proposed for public comment, unless the agency certifies 
that the rule, if promulgated, will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. As required by 
Executive Order 13272, ``Proper Consideration of Small Entities in 
Agency Rulemaking,'' 67 FR 53461 (August 16, 2002), DOE published 
procedures and policies on February 19, 2003, to ensure that the 
potential impacts of its rules on small entities are properly 
considered during the rulemaking process. 68 FR 7990. DOE has made its 
procedures and policies available on the Office of the General 
Counsel's Web site (www.gc.doe.gov).
    DOE reviewed the direct final rule and corresponding notice of 
proposed rulemaking pursuant to the RFA and the policies and procedures 
discussed above. Set forth below is DOE's final regulatory flexibility 
analysis for the standards established in the DFR. DOE has considered 
the comments received on the rule in adopting the standards set forth 
in the direct final rule; responses to these comments are provided in 
section II.

1. Succinct Statement of the Need for, and Objectives of, the Rule

    A succinct statement of the need for, and objectives of, the rule 
is provided in the DFR published on May 31, 2012 (77 FR 32308) and not 
repeated here.

1. Summary of Significant Issues Raised by Public Comments

    A summary of the comments received on the DFR is provided elsewhere 
in today's document and not repeated here.

2. Description and Estimated Number of Small Entities Regulated

    For manufacturers of residential clothes washers, the Small 
Business Administration (SBA) has set a size threshold, which defines 
those entities classified as ``small businesses'' for the purposes of 
the statute. DOE used the SBA's small business size standards to 
determine whether any small entities would be subject to the 
requirements of the rule. 65 FR 30836, 30848 (May 15, 2000), as amended 
at 65 FR 53533, 53544 (Sept. 5, 2000) and codified at 13 CFR part 
121.The size standards are listed by North American Industry 
Classification System (NAICS) code and industry description and are 
available at http://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/files/Size_Standards_Table.pdf. Residential clothes washer manufacturing is 
classified under NAICS Code 335224, ``Household Laundry Equipment 
Manufacturing.'' The SBA sets a threshold of 1,000 employees or less 
for an entity to be considered as a small business for this category.
    To estimate the number of small businesses who could be impacted by 
the amended energy conservation standards, DOE conducted a market 
survey using all available public information to identify potential 
small manufacturers. DOE's research included the AHAM membership 
directory, product databases (Consortium for Energy Efficiency, 
California Energy Commission, and ENERGY STAR databases) and individual 
company Web sites to find potential small business manufacturers. DOE 
also asked interested parties and industry representatives if they were 
aware of any other small business manufacturers during manufacturer 
interviews and at previous DOE public meetings. DOE reviewed all 
publicly available data and contacted various companies, as necessary, 
to determine whether they met the SBA's definition of a small business 
manufacturer of covered residential clothes washers. DOE screened out 
companies that did not offer products covered by this rulemaking, did 
not meet the definition of a ``small business,'' or are foreign owned 
and operated.
    The majority of residential clothes washers are currently 
manufactured in the United States by one corporation that accounts for 
approximately 64 percent of the total market. Together, this 
manufacturer and three other manufacturers that do not meet the 
definition of a small business manufacturer comprise 92 percent of the 
residential clothes washer market. The small portion of the remaining 
residential clothes washer market (approximately 700,000 shipments) is 
supplied by a combination of 12 international and domestic companies, 
all of which have small market shares. Of the remaining 12 companies 
that manufacturer residential clothes washers for sale in the United 
States, DOE identified only one manufacturer that is considered a small 
business under NAICS Code 335224.
    DOE received no comments on its estimate of the number of small 
businesses and retains that estimate for this final regulatory 
flexibility analysis.

3. Description and Estimate of Compliance Requirements

    The one small business manufacturer of residential clothes washers 
covered by this rulemaking has one product platform. It makes a top-
loading standard residential clothes washer that currently meets a 1.85 
MEF and a 6.75 WF. The product meets the 2015 energy conservation 
standards proposed in this direct final rule, but falls short of the 
2018 standard. The unit does not offer warm rinse and has 
electromechanical controls, making it likely that three wash 
temperatures (hot, warm, cold) are available on all settings including 
Normal for test procedure purposes. Thus, it is likely the unit will 
have to undergo alterations to its basic design to meet the 2018 
efficiency requirements.
    This company appears to manufacture its residential clothes washer 
with less automation and more labor than some of the larger 
competitors. To change the design of their current product to meet the 
2018 efficiency standards, one available design pathway would be 
increasing the volume of the wash basket, assuming there is enough 
clearance within the cabinet. Increasing the drum's radius would 
involve cutting slightly larger octagonal pieces of metal and would not 
be a capital intensive solution. With this pathway, the assembly 
process and fabrication time would essentially remain the same. This 
solution would also prevent the small business manufacturer from 
bearing the cost of retrofitting their manufacturing process and could 
result in lower per-unit conversion costs relative to larger 
manufacturers.
    Based on the engineering analysis and manufacturer interviews, if 
two full-time engineers took one year to implement a larger drum radius 
within the existing cabinet it could cost the manufacturer roughly 
$200,000 to implement the design change for the 2018 compliance date. 
If the

[[Page 59723]]

manufacturer were to incur additional tooling costs to implement this 
change, this could lead to an additional $200,000 in capital conversion 
costs. Because the small business manufacturer already meets the 2015 
energy conservation standards, it would have 7 years from the 
announcement of today's direct final rule until it would have to make 
any changes to its current product in response to standards.

4. Steps Taken To Minimize Economic Impact on Small Entities

    DOE rejected efficiency levels analyzed (TSLs 4 and 5) that would 
have achieved higher energy savings and other benefits than the 
standards set forth in the direct final rule. DOE determined that these 
TSLs were not economically justified, in significant part because of 
impacts to manufacturers.
    DOE did not adopt TSLs 1 and 2, which would have further decreased 
the economic impacts to manufacturers. DOE determined based on its 
analysis, as explained in the DFR (77 FR 32308, May 31, 2012) that TSL3 
achieves the maximum improvement in energy efficiency that was 
technologically feasible and economically justified. The direct final 
rule TSD also includes a regulatory impact analysis (RIA). For 
residential clothes washers, the RIA discusses the following policy 
alternatives: (1) No new regulatory action; (2) consumer rebates; (3) 
consumer tax credits; (4) manufacturer tax credits; (5) voluntary 
energy efficiency targets; (5) early replacement; and (6) bulk 
government purchases. While these alternatives may mitigate to some 
varying extent the economic impacts on small entities compared to the 
amended standards, DOE determined that the energy savings of these 
regulatory alternatives are at least 3.8 times smaller than those that 
would be expected to result from adoption of the amended standard 
levels. Thus, DOE rejected these alternatives and adopted the amended 
standards set forth in the DFR. (See chapter 17 of direct final rule 
TSD for further detail on the policy alternatives DOE considered.)

V. National Environmental Policy Act

    Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, 
DOE has determined that the direct final rule fits within the category 
of actions included in Categorical Exclusion (CX) B5.1 and otherwise 
meets the requirements for application of a CX. See 10 CFR part 1021, 
App. B, B5.1(b); 1021.410(b) and Appendix B, B(1)-(5). The rule fits 
within the category of actions because it is a rulemaking that 
establishes energy conservation standards for consumer products or 
industrial equipment, and for which none of the exceptions identified 
in CX B5.1(b) apply. Therefore, DOE has made a CX determination for 
this rulemaking, and DOE does not need to prepare an Environmental 
Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement for this rule. DOE's CX 
determination for this direct final rule is available at http://cxnepa.energy.gov.

VI. Conclusion

    In summary, based on the discussion above, DOE has determined that 
the comments received in response to the direct final rule for amended 
energy conservation standards for residential clothes washers do not 
provide a reasonable basis for withdrawal of the direct final rule. As 
a result, the amended energy conservation standards set forth in the 
direct final rule were effective on September 28, 2012. Compliance with 
these standards is required on March 7, 2015 and January 1, 2018, as 
noted in Table 1.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on September 25, 2012.
David Danielson,
Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, Energy Efficiency and 
Renewable Energy.

    The following will not appear in the Code of Federal Regulations:
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