[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 59 (Wednesday, March 27, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 18576-18578]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-07048]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy


Guidelines for Home Energy Professionals: Standard Work 
Specifications for Single Family Energy Upgrades

AGENCY: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. 
Department of Energy (DOE).

ACTION: Notice of availability.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and 
Renewable Energy (EERE) is making final content available for the 
Guidelines for Home Energy Professionals: Standard Work Specifications 
for Single Family Energy Upgrades (SWS). This content is a set of 
recommended work specifications applicable to energy efficiency 
retrofits of single family homes. These specifications are intended as 
a resource for any organization, company or individual involved in 
energy efficiency retrofits of residential homes. Draft versions of the 
SWS were made available for public comment on November 9, 2010 (75 FR 
68781) and on March 29, 2012 (77 FR 19008). The comment period for the 
March 29, 2011 draft was extended through a notice issued on April 18, 
2012 (77 FR 23238).

ADDRESSES: The SWS content can be found at: www.wip.energy.gov/pdfs/sws_singlefamily.pdf. The Comment Report with responses to each 
comment received as well as revisions made to the text of the SWS can 
be found at Regulations.gov under docket ID EERE-2012-WE-0042 
or via direct link: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;dct=FR%252BPR%252BN%252BO%252BSR%252BPS;rpp=25;po=0;D=EER
E-2012-WE-0042 as well as: http://nrel.pnnl.gov/forum.php.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joshua Olsen, Weatherization and 
Intergovernmental Programs, Mailstop EE-2K, Office of Energy Efficiency 
and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence 
Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585. Phone number: (202) 287-1813. Email: 
Joshua.Olsen@ee.doe.gov.
    For legal questions: Christopher Calamita, U.S. Department of 
Energy, Office of the General Counsel, Forrestal Building, GC-71, 1000 
Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585. Phone number: (202) 586-
1777. Email: christopher.calamita@hq.doe.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    EERE through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is developing 
voluntary work specifications for the work involved in home energy 
upgrades. This content builds upon the considerable body of material 
already in circulation and the cumulative knowledge gathered throughout 
the 30-year history of the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and 
broader home performance industry.
    The development of the SWS is supported by the WAP Training and 
Technical Assistance Plan (T&TA). The process of developing the SWS has 
involved participation by numerous stakeholders, including WAP 
practitioners and trainers, home performance contractors, building 
scientists, organized labor, healthy homes and worker safety experts, 
and other professionals in the building trades and throughout the 
retrofit industry. On November 9, 2010, EERE issued a notice requesting 
public

[[Page 18577]]

comment on a draft version of the SWS (75 FR 68781). Additional 
background regarding this effort can be found in that document. The 
first public comment period resulted in nearly 1000 comments from 
approximately 100 unique commenters from across the Weatherization and 
home performance industries. As a result of issues identified by 
commenters, EERE gave further consideration to a number of technical 
issues and subsequently made changes to the SWS. EERE issued a notice 
requesting public comment on the changes to the SWS on March 29, 2012 
(77 FR 19008). Due to the extent of the changes in the March 29, 2012 
draft, additional time was requested by commenters for review and 
comment and the comment period for the March 29, 2012 draft was 
extended through a notice issued on April 18, 2012 (77 FR 23238). 
During this comment period DOE received submissions from 16 commenters, 
which DOE broke out into 367 comments.

II. Public Comments on the March 29, 2012 SWS Draft

    DOE has reviewed all comments and incorporated those relevant and 
appropriate to the SWS. DOE received 4 comments from 4 individuals that 
were not applicable to the SWS and therefore has not provided any 
response to those comments.
    Comments were received via an online Web site created specifically 
for the purpose of receiving, tracking and responding to comments. The 
individuals, agency and organizations that provided comments are listed 
below:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                   Name                            Organization                          Location
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gregory Brunner..........................  United States Environmental   Washington, DC.
                                            Protection Agency (EPA).
Charles White............................  Plumbing Heating and Cooling  South Bend, IN.
                                            Contractors (PHCC).
Robert De Vries..........................  Nu Wool Company Inc.........  Jenison, MI.
Eric Williams............................  reEnergize Program, City of   Omaha, NE.
                                            Omaha.
Minh Tu..................................  www.phuclaithanh.com........  New York.
John Smith...............................  No Organization Given.......  York.
Jennifer Cleary..........................  Association of Home           Washington, DC.
                                            Appliance Manufacturers
                                            (AHAM).
Nurul Mustafit...........................  Jepara Gallery..............  Jepara.
Alex Alexandru...........................  Jocuri noi..................  Bucharest.
Donald Prather...........................  Air Conditioning Contractors  Alexandria, VA.
                                            of America (ACCA).
Ted A. Williams..........................  American Gas Association      Washington, DC.
                                            (AGA).
Chuck White..............................  Plumbing, Heating and         South Bend, IN.
                                            Cooling Contractors
                                            Association (PHCC).
Phillip J. Wallace.......................  Air-Conditioning, Heating &   Washington, DC.
                                            Refrigeration Institute
                                            (AHRI).
John Diem................................  ESCO Institute..............  Dickinson, ND.
Patrick Murphy...........................  RSES........................  Des Plaines, IL.
Steve Baden..............................  RESNET......................  Oceanside, CA.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Comments submitted were classified into one of three categories: 
Accepted, Accepted with Modifications, and Rejected.
     Accepted: Comment was accepted as presented by the 
Commentator.
     Accepted with Modifications: Comment was accepted, however 
the manner in which the comment was presented, or suggested to be 
presented within the SWS was revised to be in line with the SWS 
template.
     Rejected: Comment was not accepted for inclusion within 
the SWS.
    The following table presents a summary breakdown of the 
classification of the comments received during the final comment review 
period:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               Number of
                       Classification                          comments
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Accepted....................................................         130
Accepted with Modification..................................         104
Rejected....................................................         133
                                                             -----------
    Total...................................................         367
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Substantive, Reoccurring Comment Themes

    Substantive issues raised in the 367 comments can be divided into 
the following four categories:
    1. Combustion Safety--68.
    2. Air Sealing--27.
    3. International Residential Code--22.
    4. Licensed Professionals--8.
    1. Combustion Safety:
    a. BPI-1100-T-2010: The SWS incorporated a reference to a draft 
version of the BPI-1100-T-2010 document for many of the Combustion 
Safety specifications. Comments made on by ACCA, AGA, and RSES 
identified that this reference was a draft and therefore should not be 
included within the SWS. These comments are available at 
regulations.gov under Docket ID: EERE-2012-WE-0042. The Building 
Performance Institute, Inc. (BPI) officially released this standard on 
July 27, 2012 (now BPI-1100-T-2012). After review and consideration of 
the standard, DOE determined that for the purposes of the SWS, the 
draft BPI standard referenced in the SWS is functionally identical to 
BPI-1100-T-2012. This standard provides the most relevant combustion 
safety protocols currently available for retro-fitting existing homes 
under the WAP. The SWS has been updated in order to reflect the change 
in status of BPI-1100 from a draft to a published standard.
    b. ANSI/ACCA Standard 12 and NFGC: DOE received comments from ACCA 
and AGA indicating that the BPI procedure for combustion safety testing 
should not be specified and that either the National Fuel Gas Code 
(NFGC) or the ACCA 12 QH standard should be used instead. These 
comments are available at regulations.gov under Docket ID: EERE-2012-
WE-0042. Many of the comments fail to consider issues faced when 
working in the existing homes sector: appliances are not necessarily 
installed to code; other actions may have taken place over the years; 
and other issues that can impact venting of appliances may have been 
done poorly (e.g. duct leakage). The non-mandatory combustion safety 
testing in Annex G of the NFGC does not evaluate two of the most common 
causes of excessive depressurization, namely duct leakage of forced-air 
distribution systems and the closing of interior doors. The ACCA 12 QH 
standard references the BPI procedure but also lists several other 
options. A review of these options indicates that only the BPI 
procedure is sufficiently comprehensive in its requirements. For 
example, the procedure in ACCA 12 QH Appendix A turns on the air 
handler at the same time as exhaust fans, potentially obscuring the 
depressurization caused by the exhaust fans.

[[Page 18578]]

    The combustion safety procedure in the BPI-1100-2012 standard is 
the most applicable to the work performed by the WAP. This method was 
retained in the SWS. If a suitable replacement becomes ANSI-approved it 
may be appropriate to modify the reference.
    2. Air Sealing
    a. Reference Standards: DOE received comments from ACCA, RSES and 
AHRI requesting that references be cited for action levels, as well as 
the addition of industry standards along with current citations to the 
International Residential Code. These comments are available at 
regulations.gov under Docket ID: EERE-2012-WE-0042. In reviewing the 
comments, it was apparent that the content required additional 
referencing that was also easily searchable in order to improve the 
comprehensiveness and usability of the SWS. Therefore, a cross-
reference document was developed to allow for users to identify 
referenced standards for individual specification lines that is 
included as an Appendix to the SWS titled ``Appendix C: Guide to 
Referenced Standards''.
    3. International Residential Code (IRC)
    a. DOE received comments from ACCA and RSES, indicating the 
citation of specific sections of the 2012 IRC was not necessary. These 
comments are available at regulations.gov under Docket ID: EERE-2012-
WE-0042. The comments identified that code sections are often revised 
and it would be better to cite ``2012 IRC'' versus a specific section. 
DOE acknowledges that code references are revised, however one of the 
goals of the SWS was to allow users to identify and find referenced 
information easily without having to purchase or search through 
numerous pages of referenced text. Due to the size of the IRC, it was 
apparent that referencing a specific section allowed the user to 
efficiently identify the section to refer to and be able to apply that 
knowledge quickly to the task. Therefore, citation of specific sections 
of the 2012 IRC remain in the SWS.
    4. Licensed Professionals
    a. DOE received comments from PHCC indicating that certain tasks 
should be carried out by individuals licensed in a particular trade. 
These comments are available at regulations.gov under Docket ID: EERE-
2012-WE-0042. DOE agrees that the use of licensed professionals to 
perform certain tasks is an important component of maintaining work 
quality and safety. Given the wide range of licensure and credentialing 
requirements across the country, DOE made the decision to include a 
notification at the beginning of each detail in the SWS to alert the 
reader that the detail may contain a task requiring a licensed or 
credentialed contractor. This is intended to ensure that the reader is 
aware of the possibility of the need for a licensed or credentialed 
professional and to encourage them to verify this with the authority 
having jurisdiction.

    A full comment report with responses to each comment received as 
well as revisions made to the content of the SWS can be found at: 
http://nrel.pnnl.gov/forum.php

    Issued in Washington, DC, on March 5, 2013.
AnnaMaria Garcia,
Program Manager, Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs, Energy 
Efficiency and Renewable Energy .
[FR Doc. 2013-07048 Filed 3-26-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P