[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 3 (Friday, January 4, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 675-679]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-31700]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

10 CFR Part 430

[Docket Number EERE-2012-BT-TP-0024]
RIN 1904-AC79


Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products: Test Procedure 
for Residential Furnaces and Boilers

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

ACTION: Request for information (RFI).

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is initiating a rulemaking 
and data collection process to consider amendments to DOE's test 
procedure for residential furnaces and boilers. Because DOE has 
recently completed a test procedure rulemaking for the standby mode and 
off mode energy consumption of these products, the primary focus of 
this rulemaking will be on active mode operation. This rulemaking is 
intended to fulfill DOE's statutory obligation to review its test 
procedures for covered products at least once every seven years. To 
inform interested parties and to facilitate the process, DOE has 
gathered data and has identified several issues that might warrant 
modifications to the currently applicable test procedures, including 
topics on which DOE is particularly interested in receiving comment. In 
overview, the issues outlined in this document mainly concern reducing 
the test burden, test conditions impacting the annual fuel utilization 
efficiency (AFUE) metric, test conditions impacting non-AFUE efficiency 
parameters, the performance test for automatic means in boilers, 
harmonization of standards, alternative methods for furnace/boiler 
efficiency determination, and scope. These topics (and others which 
commenters identify) are ones which DOE anticipates may lead to 
proposed test procedure amendments in a subsequent notice of proposed 
rulemaking (NOPR). DOE welcomes written comments from the public on any 
subject related to the test procedures for residential furnaces and 
boilers, including topics not specifically raised in this RFI.

DATES: Written comments and information are requested on or before 
February 19, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are encouraged to submit comments using 
the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow 
the instructions for submitting comments. Alternatively, interested 
persons may submit comments, identified by docket number EERE-2011-BT-
TP-0024 and/or RIN 1904-AC79, by any of the following methods:
     Email: Res-Furnaces-Boilers-2012-TP-0024@ee.doe.gov. 
Include EERE-2012-BT-TP-0024 and/or RIN 1904-AC79 in the subject line 
of the message. Submit electronic comments in WordPerfect, Microsoft 
Word, PDF, or ASCII file format, and avoid the use of special 
characters or any form of encryption.
     Postal Mail: Ms. Brenda Edwards, U.S. Department of 
Energy, Building Technologies Program, Mailstop EE-2J, 1000 
Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585- 0121. Telephone: (202) 
586-2945. If possible, please submit all items on a compact disc (CD), 
in which case it is not necessary to include printed copies.
     Hand Delivery/Courier: Ms. Brenda Edwards, U.S. Department 
of Energy, Building Technologies Program, 6th Floor, 950 L'Enfant Plaza 
SW., Washington, DC 20024. Telephone: (202) 586-2945. If possible, 
please submit all items on a CD, in which case it is not necessary to 
include printed copies.
    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name 
and docket number or RIN for this rulemaking. No telefacsimilies 
(faxes) will be accepted. For detailed instructions on submitting 
comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see 
section III of this document (Public Participation).
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments received, go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information 
may be sent to Mr. Mohammed Khan, 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) 586-7892. Email: residential_furnaces_and_boilers@ee.doe.gov.
    Mr. Eric Stas, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the General 
Counsel, GC-71, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-
0121. Telephone: (202) 586-9507. Email: Eric.Stas@hq.doe.gov.
    For information on how to submit or review public comments, contact 
Ms. Brenda Edwards, 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) 586-2945. Email: Brend.Edwards@ee.doe.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

I. Authority and Background
II. Discussion
    A. Reducing Test Burden
    B. Test Conditions Impacting Energy Efficiency (AFUE) 
Performance
    C. Test Conditions Impacting Non-AFUE Efficiency Parameters
    D. Performance Test for Automatic Means in Boilers
    E. Harmonization of Standards
    F. Alternative Methods for Furnace/Boiler Efficiency 
Determination
    G. Scope
    H. Standby Mode and Off Mode
    I. Other Issues
III. Public Participation

I. Authority and Background

    Title III, Part B,\1\ 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) sets forth a variety of provisions designed to improve 
energy efficiency and establishes the Energy Conservation Program for 
Consumer Products Other Than Automobiles,\2\ including residential 
furnaces and boilers. (42 U.S.C. 6291(1)-(2) and 6292(a)(5))
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    \1\ This part was originally titled Part B. It was redesignated 
Part A in the United States Code for editorial reasons.
    \2\ All references to EPCA in this document refer to the statute 
as amended through the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, 
Public Law 110-140 (Dec. 19, 2007).

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[[Page 676]]

    Under the Act, this program consists essentially of four parts: (1) 
Testing; (2) labeling; (3) establishing Federal energy conservation 
standards; and (4) certification and enforcement procedures. The 
testing requirements consist of test procedures that manufacturers of 
covered products must use as both the basis for certifying to DOE that 
their products comply with applicable energy conservation standards 
adopted pursuant to EPCA, and for making representations about the 
efficiency of those products. (42 U.S.C. 6293(c); 42 U.S.C. 6295(s)) 
Similarly, DOE must use these test procedures to determine whether the 
products comply with any relevant standards adopted under EPCA. (42 
U.S.C. 6295(s))
    Under 42 U.S.C. 6293, EPCA sets forth criteria and procedures that 
DOE must follow when prescribing or amending test procedures for 
covered products. EPCA provides, in relevant part, that any test 
procedures prescribed or amended under this section must be reasonably 
designed to produce test results which measure energy efficiency, 
energy use, or estimated annual operating cost of a covered product 
during a representative average use cycle or period of use, and must 
not be unduly burdensome to conduct. (42 U.S.C. 6293(b)(3))
    In addition, if DOE determines that a test procedure amendment is 
warranted, it must publish proposed test procedures and offer the 
public an opportunity to present oral and written comments on them. (42 
U.S.C. 6293(b)(2)) Finally, in any rulemaking to amend a test 
procedure, DOE must determine the extent to which the proposed test 
procedure would alter the product's measured energy efficiency. (42 
U.S.C. 6293(e)(1)) If DOE determines that the amended test procedure 
would alter the measured efficiency of a covered product, DOE must 
amend the applicable energy conservation standard accordingly. (42 
U.S.C. 6293(e)(2))
    Further, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 
2007) amended EPCA to require that at least once every 7 years, DOE 
must review test procedures for all covered products and either amend 
the test procedures (if the Secretary determines that amended test 
procedures would more accurately or fully comply with the requirements 
of 42 U.S.C. 6293(b)(3)) or publish notice in the Federal Register of 
any determination not to amend a test procedure. (42 U.S.C. 
6293(b)(1)(A)) Under this requirement, DOE must review the test 
procedures for the various types of residential furnace and boiler 
products not later than December 19, 2014 (i.e., 7 years after the 
enactment of EISA 2007). Thus, the final rule resulting from this 
rulemaking will satisfy the requirement to review the test procedures 
for furnaces and boilers within seven years of the enactment of EPCA.
    DOE's test procedure for residential furnaces and boilers is found 
at 10 CFR 430.23(n) and 10 CFR part 430, subpart B, appendix N, Uniform 
Test Method for Measuring the Energy Consumption of Furnaces and 
Boilers. DOE established its test procedures for furnaces and boilers 
in a final rule published in the Federal Register on May 12, 1997. 62 
FR 26140. This procedure establishes a means for determining annual 
energy efficiency (AFUE) and annual energy consumption of gas-fired, 
oil-fired, and electric furnaces and boilers.
    In addition to the test procedure review provision discussed above, 
EISA 2007 also amended EPCA to require DOE to amend its test procedures 
for all covered products to include measurement of standby mode and off 
mode energy consumption. (42 U.S.C. 6295(gg)(2)(A)) Consequently, DOE 
amended its test procedures for residential furnaces and boilers to 
include provisions for measuring the standby mode and off mode energy 
consumption of those products. DOE published a final rule in the 
Federal Register on October 20, 2010, which updated the DOE test 
procedures for residential furnaces and boilers to address the standby 
mode and off mode test procedure requirements under EPCA. 75 FR 64621. 
Since that time, DOE published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) 
in the Federal Register on September 13, 2011, which calls for the use 
of the second edition of International Electrotechnical Commission 
(IEC) Standard 62301, ``Household Electrical Appliances--Measurement of 
standby power,'' in lieu of the first edition incorporated by reference 
in the earlier final rule, as well as providing guidance on rounding 
and sampling. 76 FR 56339. On December 31, 2012, DOE published in the 
Federal Register its second test procedure final rule for furnaces and 
boilers related to standby mode and off mode, which incorporated by 
reference IEC Standards 62301 (Second Edition) and provided related 
rounding and sampling guidance. However, that rulemaking was limited to 
test procedure updates to address the above-referenced standby mode and 
off mode requirements, and consequently, it has not considered several 
other potential non-standby mode/off mode issues in DOE's existing test 
procedures for residential furnaces and boilers which DOE plans to 
address in this rulemaking. The potential issues that DOE has 
preliminarily identified and plans to address in this rulemaking are 
discussed in detail below in section II of this RFI.
    In support of its test procedure rulemaking, DOE conducts in-depth 
technical analyses of publicly-available test standards and other 
relevant information. DOE continually seeks data and public input to 
improve its testing methodologies to more accurately reflect consumer 
use and to produce repeatable results. In general, DOE is requesting 
comment and supporting data regarding representative and repeatable 
methods for measuring the energy use of residential furnaces and 
boilers. Additionally, DOE seeks comment and information on the 
specific topics below.

II. Discussion

A. Reducing Test Burden

    DOE plans to identify available opportunities to potentially reduce 
testing burden by simplifying appropriate parts of the residential 
furnaces and boilers test procedure. Knowledge of a unit's physical 
characteristics may make it possible to reliably predict certain 
performance parameters without conducting testing. If so, replacing 
certain burdensome tests with default factors could significantly 
reduce the testing burden (time to conduct a test or cost of testing) 
without sacrificing the validity of the test results. Of course, 
manufacturers would retain the option to conduct actual testing, rather 
than rely on default values.
    DOE plans to also reassess existing default factors in the test 
procedure, many of which were created years ago and might no longer be 
relevant for some of today's product designs. For example, the existing 
off-cycle draft factor for flue gas flow (DF) default value of 0.4 for 
induced draft products was established for clamshell heat exchangers 
intended for use in gravity vented units. Today's products are designed 
with more restrictive heat exchangers (tubes and small formed sections) 
and are likely to result in draft factors less than 0.4. Regarding 
default factors, DOE requests input and comments on:
    (1) Defining default draft factors \3\ for each product with 
different physical characteristics;
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    \3\ Identified default draft factors in DOE's residential 
furnaces and boilers test procedure include the off-cycle draft 
factor for flue gas flow (DF), the off-cycle draft factor for stack 
gas flow (DS), the off-cycle draft factor for stack gas flow without 
a stack damper (DSO), and the power burner draft factor (DP). DF is 
the ratio of gas mass flow rate through the flue during the off-
cycle to the gas mass flow rate through the flue during the on-cycle 
at identical temperatures. DP is the ratio of the rate of flue gas 
mass flow through the furnace during the off-period to the rate of 
flue gas mass flow through the furnace during the on-period.

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[[Page 677]]

    (2) Defining default jacket loss \4\ factors for each product type;
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    \4\ Identified default jacket loss factors in DOE's residential 
furnaces and boilers test procedure include jacket loss factor 
(CJ) and jacket loss (LJ), which measure the 
losses resulting from heat escaping the furnace or boiler jacket.
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    (3) The appropriateness of replacing the ``heat up'' and ``cool 
down'' tests with default seasonal factors to account for the year-
round performance of the equipment. If so, should these factors be 
based on physical characteristics of the equipment being evaluated, and 
should the use of default factors be optional or mandatory? Also, DOE 
is requesting data about the effect of the heat up and cool down test 
result measurements on AFUE calculation, the range and repeatability of 
the test results, and the degree to which such results are correlated 
with physical attributes of the tested product.
    (4) Simplifying the calculation procedure for determining the 
burner cycling and draft losses used to compute seasonal efficiency 
without losing important insight about a product's relative energy 
performance; and
    (5) Other default values that need updating or parameters currently 
measured that could be replaced with default values.

B. Test Conditions Impacting Energy Efficiency (AFUE) Performance

    DOE is interested in receiving comments about improving the test 
procedure's effectiveness in quantifying energy efficiency performance 
under typical field conditions. DOE has identified opportunities to 
reduce variability, eliminate ambiguity, and address discrepancies 
between the test procedure and actual field conditions. On this topic, 
DOE seeks input on the following issues:
    (1) The DOE test procedure incorporates by reference the American 
Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers 
(ASHRAE) Standard 103-1993.\5\ In 2007, ASHRAE published a revised 
version of Standard 103 (ASHRAE Standard 103-2007), which was updated 
to reflect improvements and changes in equipment design that were not 
adequately covered by the previous version of the standard. In 
particular, attention was given to the modern classes of two-stage and 
modulating equipment that have come on the market, as well as equipment 
whose performance is affected by post purge of the combustion chamber. 
Greater understanding and clarity regarding energy losses were also 
incorporated into the updated ASHRAE standard. Finally, changes in 
nomenclature and definitions were included to clarify meaning within 
the standard, a need reflected by questions and issues posed to ASHRAE 
committee members over the past 10 years. Furthermore, editorially, the 
errata from the previous version were incorporated into this version. 
DOE plans on updating its references to the current ASHRAE Standard 
103-2007 \6\ and seeks comments on which sections of ASHRAE 103-2007 
should be included in the DOE test procedure.
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    \5\ American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air-
Conditioning Engineers Inc., ASHRAE Standard: Method of Testing for 
Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency of Residential Central Furnaces 
and Boilers (1993) Report No. ANSI/ASHRAE 103-1993.
    \6\ American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air-
Conditioning Engineers Inc., ASHRAE Standard: Method of Testing for 
Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency of Residential Central Furnaces 
and Boilers (2007) Report No. ANSI/ASHRAE 103-2007.
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    (2) DOE plans to review the tolerance ranges for measuring 
important variables such as fuel calorific value, weight of condensate, 
water flow and temperature, voltage, and flue gas composition. DOE 
seeks comment as to whether the existing tolerance ranges for measuring 
variables in the test procedure are acceptable or whether DOE should 
define different methods of measuring and recording such variables.
    (3) DOE plans to review the statistical variability encountered 
during testing in important variables such as firing rate, heating 
media temperatures and flow rates, and ambient air temperature. For 
example, the firing rate is generally to be set and held to within 
2% of the nameplate rating. DOE seeks comment regarding 
whether this range should be narrowed.
    (4) Room ambient air temperatures are currently allowed to vary 
widely. Under the DOE test procedure, the room temperature is allowed 
to be between 65 [deg]F and 100 [deg]F, except for condensing furnaces 
and boilers, where the room temperature shall not exceed 85 [deg]F. DOE 
plans to review whether it is appropriate to tighten the allowable room 
air temperature range. DOE seeks comment as to whether it should 
tighten the allowable room air temperature range.
    (5) Currently, a minimum draft factor of 0.05 can be applied to 
products with restricted flueways without providing a list of 
qualifications or instructions as to how to verify that the units are 
designed with no measurable airflow through the combustion chamber and 
heat exchanger during the burner off-period. DOE seeks comment as to 
whether and under what conditions, a minimum draft factor should be 
used for products with restricted flueways and how the conditions could 
be verified if questions arose.
    (6) DOE requires all non-weatherized boilers to be rated as indoor 
equipment (see 10 CFR part 430, subpart B, appendix N, section 10.1). 
This implies that direct vent boilers that would normally meet the 
definition of System 9 or System 10 should instead be defined as one of 
the other System numbers.\7\ DOE plans to review whether it is 
appropriate for direct vent boilers to be calculated according to 
System 3 or alternatively according to System 9 or 10, but with jacket 
losses excluded (i.e., LJ=0). DOE seeks input regarding how direct vent 
boilers should be tested.
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    \7\ System numbers are used in the ASHRAE 103 test procedure to 
categorize the different types of furnaces and boilers to be tested. 
``System 9'' or ``System10'' refer to furnaces or boilers that are 
outdoor, direct vent, or isolated combustion systems. ``System 3'' 
refers to furnaces or boilers that can use indoor combustion air and 
have direct exhaust.
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    (7) DOE plans to review the current value of the oversize factor 
\8\ (0.7) to investigate whether current field installations can be 
better approximated, for both furnaces and boilers. DOE seeks comment 
regarding an appropriate value for the oversize factor.
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    \8\ ``Oversize factor'' accounts for the national average 
oversizing of equipment that occurs when a heating equipment is 
sized to satisfy more than the heating load of the household. This 
is typically done to size the equipment so that it is able to 
satisfy the days in which the house heating requirements might be 
exceeded and/or to take into account uncertainties regarding house 
heating load. For example, a 0.7 oversize factor is equivalent to 
30-percent oversizing of the heating equipment (in other words, 30 
percent greater input capacity than is required).
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    (8) Currently, the DOE test procedure provides that water supply 
temperature must be between 120 [deg]F and 124 [deg]F for non-
condensing hot water boilers and 120 [deg]F (2 [deg]F) for 
condensing hot water boilers. DOE plans to review the value for the 
water supply temperature for non-condensing and condensing boilers. DOE 
seeks comment on the appropriate water supply temperature for measuring 
the performance of non-condensing and condensing boilers. Should DOE 
change the water temperatures for condensing boilers to reflect the 
lower temperatures encountered in low-temperature radiant 
installations?
    (9) The current DOE test procedure does not specify that the tested 
equipment is set up according to

[[Page 678]]

recommended field settings as defined in the product's installation and 
operation manual. This potentially allows the unit to be tested under 
conditions that are different from the field or may not be recommended 
for safety reasons. Examples of such test conditions include a 
different flue CO2 percentage or reduced input rate from the 
recommended field settings. DOE plans to review the use of 
manufacturer-recommended values in testing, such as the minimum firing 
rate for testing a unit equipped with manually-adjustable controls (see 
ASHRAE 103-2007, section 8.4.1.1.2) and target flue gas CO2 
levels. Should DOE change the test procedure to specify that the tested 
equipment is set up according to recommended field settings as defined 
in the product's installation and operation manual?
    (10) AFUE ratings are typically reported in manufacturer product 
literature and on directories of certified products to the nearest 0.1, 
but this is neither specified in the DOE test procedure nor explicitly 
required by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Instead, DOE's test 
procedure specifies that the AFUE rating should be rounded to the 
nearest whole percentage point (see 10 CFR 430.23(n)(2)). DOE plans to 
specify the requisite number of significant digits as part of this test 
procedure rulemaking. DOE solicits input on how much precision is 
statistically possible.
    (11) Vent stack requirements differ between ANSI Z21.13 \9\ or ANSI 
Z21.47 \10\ and the DOE test procedure. DOE plans to review the 
difference in efficiency rating attributable to the differences in vent 
stack configuration between the DOE test procedure and ANSI Z21.13 or 
ANSI Z21.47. DOE seeks comment on whether it should consider adopting 
the same vent stack requirements as set forth in ANSI Z21.13 or ANSI 
Z21.47.
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    \9\ American National Standards Institute, American National 
Standard/CSA Standard for Gas-Fired Low Pressure Steam and Hot Water 
Boilers (2010) Report No. ANSI Z21.13-2010, CSA 4.9-2010.
    \10\ American National Standards Institute, American National 
Standard/CSA Standard for Gas-Fired Central Furnaces (2006) Report 
No. ANSI Z21.47-2006, CSA 2.3-2006.
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C. Test Conditions Impacting Non-AFUE Efficiency Parameters

    DOE plans to improve the ability of the test procedure to measure 
non-AFUE energy efficiency parameters under typical field conditions. 
Regarding this topic, DOE seeks input on:
    (1) The boiler test procedure measures only the power supplied to 
the power burner motor, the ignition device, and the circulating pump 
(see 10 CFR part 430, subpart B, appendix N, section 10.2.1). Some 
boilers are equipped with an internal pump used to maintain a minimum 
flow rate through the heat exchanger that does not function as a system 
circulating pump. DOE seeks comment on whether the boiler average 
annual auxiliary electrical energy consumption (EAE) calculations 
should include one system circulating pump and an additional pump (if 
present) that circulates water during the operation of the burner.
    (2) Modulating power burners are often equipped with variable speed 
motors. The efficiency of the motor/blower combination changes with the 
firing rate. The same may be true for circulating pumps. Currently, 
DOE's test procedure assumes a fixed motor efficiency. For equipment 
with modulating power burners, using a fixed motor efficiency would 
produce inaccurate electricity consumption estimates, since the motor 
efficiency varies at the different firing rates. DOE plans to 
incorporate a method for part-load efficiency into its electricity 
consumption calculations for modulating equipment. DOE requests input 
regarding the appropriateness of incorporating a method for part-load 
efficiency into its electricity consumption calculations and input on 
what method DOE should use.
    (3) The current DOE test procedure includes power consumed by the 
ignition device, circulating pump, and power burner motors, but it 
ignores other devices that use power during the active mode (e.g., gas 
valve and safety and operating controls). DOE plans to consider 
including any electrical power consumption not already measured during 
the active mode. DOE seeks comment regarding how to address any 
electrical power consumption not already measured during the active 
mode.
    (4) Historical energy use data show that national average house 
heating loads have been changing because of increased household square 
footage, improved building shell efficiency, changes in the 
distribution of where this equipment is installed, and changes in 
average weather conditions. DOE plans to review the parameters to 
calculate the burner operating hours in section 10.2.1 of the DOE test 
procedure (i.e., national average heating load hours and the adjustment 
factor). DOE seeks comment regarding what national average values 
should be used to calculate burner operating hours.

D. Performance Test for Automatic Means in Boilers

    In 2008, DOE published a technical amendment to the 2007 furnace 
and boiler final rule (72 FR 65136 (Nov. 19, 2007)) to add a number of 
design requirements set forth in EISA 2007. 73 FR 43611 (July 28, 
2008). These requirements prohibit constant-burning pilot lights for 
gas-fired hot water boilers and gas-fired steam boilers, and require an 
automatic means for adjusting the water temperature for gas-fired hot 
water boilers, oil-fired hot water boilers, and electric hot water 
boilers. The automatic means for adjusting water temperature must 
automatically adjust the temperature of the water supplied by the 
boiler to ensure that an incremental change in inferred heat load 
produces a corresponding incremental change in the temperature of water 
supplied.
    While these requirements do not impact the AFUE rating, DOE is 
considering including in this test procedure a performance test to 
demonstrate that the ``automatic means'' functions as required. While 
this test would not need to be performed by manufacturers to certify 
compliance with the existing design standards, DOE would use this test 
to verify compliance with the design standards should a question of 
compliance arise. DOE invites input on:
    (1) Any principles or tests currently used, or being considered for 
use, to qualify the operation of the automatic means.
    (2) Required inputs and types of technologies needed to project 
changes in demand and the relationships between these inputs/
technologies and supply temperature or pump/burner operation.
    (3) Suggestions about the measurements that should be included in 
the test.

E. Harmonization of Standards

    DOE invites input on other national or international test 
procedures commonly used to rate residential furnace and boiler energy 
efficiency, including the advantages and disadvantages of those test 
procedures compared to the current DOE test procedure. In particular, 
DOE seeks input on:
    (1) Differences in efficiency performance caused by differences in 
minimum static pressure requirements in ASHRAE 103-2007 \11\ (Table IV)

[[Page 679]]

compared to DOE's proposed furnace fan test procedure,\12\ and 
drawbacks or advantages associated with harmonizing the requirements.
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    \11\ American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air-
Conditioning Engineers Inc., ASHRAE Standard: Method of Testing for 
Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency of Residential Central Furnaces 
and Boilers (2007) Report No. ANSI/ASHRAE 103-2007.
    \12\ See 77 FR 28674 (May 15, 2012).
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    (2) Any other national or international test procedures that could 
be considered for this cycle of test procedure amendments.

F. Alternative Methods for Furnace/Boiler Efficiency Determination

    DOE is aware of alternative methods to measure the heating 
efficiency (AFUE) of residential furnaces and boilers. In particular, 
DOE seeks input on:
    (1) Procedure developed by Brookhaven National Laboratory that uses 
linear input/output, a relationship between fuel input and heat output 
that can be used to determine the efficiency of residential 
boilers.\13\
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    \13\ Butcher, Thomas, Technical Note: Performance of Combination 
Hydronic Systems, ASHRAE Journal (December 2011).
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    (2) Any other methods that could be considered for this test 
procedure update.

G. Scope

    A combination space-heating and water-heating appliance is defined 
in the applicable industry test standard as a unit that is designed to 
provide space heating and water heating from a single primary energy 
source.\14\ The two major types of combination appliances are: (1) 
Boiler/tankless coil or boiler/indirect tank combination units, whose 
primary function is space heating, and (2) water heater/fan-coil 
combination units, whose primary function is domestic water heating. 
Currently, there is no DOE test procedure for determining the combined 
efficiency of the combination products that can be used to supply 
domestic hot water in addition to its space-heating function. However, 
there are DOE test procedures for the individual components (boiler or 
water heater) of a combined appliance which provides for testing and 
efficiency ratings for the primary function--space heating or domestic 
water heating.
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    \14\ American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air 
Conditioning Engineers, ANSI/ASHRAE 124-2007: Methods of Testing for 
Rating Combination Space-Heating and Water-Heating Appliances 
(2007).
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    DOE's test procedure for residential furnace and boilers, which is 
set forth at 10 CFR 430.23(n) and 10 CFR part 430, subpart B, appendix 
N, addresses central gas-fired, electric, and oil-fired furnaces with 
inputs less than 225,000 Btu/h and gas-fired, electric, and oil-fired 
boilers with inputs less than 300,000 Btu/h. DOE's test procedure for 
residential water heaters, which is set forth at 10 CFR 430.23(e) and 
10 CFR part 430, subpart B, appendix E, addresses gas-fired, electric, 
and oil-fired storage-type water heaters with storage greater than 20 
gallons and gas-fired and electric instantaneous-type water heaters 
with storage volume less than 2 gallons. ASHRAE has an existing test 
procedure, ANSI/ASHRAE 124-2007 (Methods of Testing for Rating 
Combination Space-Heating and Water-Heating Appliances), which provides 
a method of test to rate the performance of a combination space-heating 
and water-heating appliance.\15\ For this rulemaking, DOE is 
considering an expansion of the scope of the test procedure to include 
definitions and test methods for these types of combination products. 
DOE seeks comment on:
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    \15\ American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air 
Conditioning Engineers, ANSI/ASHRAE 124-2007: Methods of Testing for 
Rating Combination Space-Heating and Water-Heating Appliances 
(2007).
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    (1) What types of combination equipment are there in this market?
    (2) How should DOE address the measurement of energy use by such 
combined products (keeping in mind the potential for active mode, 
standby mode, and off mode operation)?

H. Standby Mode and Off Mode

    On December 31, 2012, DOE published a test procedure final rule in 
the Federal Register for furnaces and boilers related to standby mode 
and off mode energy consumption. However, given the broad scope of this 
7-year-lookback test procedure rulemaking, comments are also welcome on 
DOE's test procedure provisions for determining standby mode and off 
mode energy use.

I. Other Issues

    DOE seeks comments on other relevant issues that would affect the 
test procedures for residential furnaces and boilers. Although DOE has 
attempted to identify those portions of the test procedure where it 
believes amendments may be warranted, interested parties are welcome to 
provide comments on any aspect of the test procedure, including updates 
of referenced standards, as part of this comprehensive 7-year-review 
process.

III. Public Participation

    DOE invites all interested parties to submit in writing by February 
19, 2013, comments and information on matters addressed in this notice 
and on other matters relevant to DOE's consideration of amended test 
procedures for residential furnaces and boilers.
    After the close of the comment period, DOE will begin collecting 
data, conducting the analyses, and reviewing the public comments. These 
actions will be taken to aid in the development of a test procedure 
NOPR for residential furnaces and boilers.
    DOE considers public participation to be a very important part of 
the process for developing test procedures. DOE actively encourages the 
participation and interaction of the public during the comment period 
at each stage of the rulemaking process. Interactions with and between 
members of the public provide a balanced discussion of the issues and 
assist DOE in the rulemaking process. Anyone who wishes to be added to 
the DOE mailing list to receive future notices and information about 
this rulemaking should contact Ms. Brenda Edwards at (202) 586-2945, or 
via email at Brenda.Edwards@ee.doe.gov.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on December 28, 2012.
Kathleen B. Hogan,
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, Energy Efficiency and 
Renewable Energy.
[FR Doc. 2012-31700 Filed 1-3-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P