[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 85 (Thursday, May 2, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 25627-25635]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-10388]



[[Page 25627]]

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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

10 CFR Part 431

[Docket Number EERE-2013-BT-STD-0021]


Energy Conservation Program for Certain Industrial Equipment: 
Energy Conservation Standards for Commercial Warm Air Furnaces

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 
to consider amended energy conservation standards for commercial warm 
air furnaces. Once completed, this rulemaking will fulfill DOE's 
statutory obligation by December 31, 2013 to either propose amended 
energy conservation standards for warm air furnaces or to make a 
determination that the existing standards do not need to be amended. 
This notice seeks to solicit information to assist DOE in determining 
whether national standards more stringent than those that are currently 
in place would result in a significant amount of additional energy 
savings and whether such amended national standards would be 
technologically feasible and economically justified. In overview, this 
document presents a brief description of the analysis DOE plans to 
perform for this rulemaking and requests comment on various issues 
relating to each of the analyses (e.g., market assessment, engineering 
analysis, energy use analysis, life-cycle cost and payback period 
analysis, and national impact analysis). Although this document 
contains numerous specific topics on which the Department is 
particularly interested in receiving written comment, DOE welcomes 
views and information from the public on any subject within the scope 
of this rulemaking (including relevant matters not specifically raised 
in this RFI).

DATES: Written comments and information are requested on or before June 
3, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Interested parties are encouraged to submit comments 
electronically. However, interested persons may submit comments, 
identified by docket number EERE-2013-BT-STD-0021, or by any of the 
following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. Follow 
the instructions for submitting comments.
     Email: CommWarmAirFurn2013STD0021@ee.doe.gov. Include 
docket number EERE-2013-BT-STD-0021 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. 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.
    For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional 
information on the rulemaking process, see section III of this document 
(Public Participation).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information 
may be sent to Mr. John Cymbalsky, 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) 286-1692. Email: commercial_furnaces@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, 
Mailstop EE-2J, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-
0121. Telephone: (202) 586-2945. Email: Brenda.Edwards@ee.doe.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
    A. Authority
    B. Background
    C. Rulemaking Process
II. Planned Rulemaking Analyses
    A. Market Assessment
    1. Potential New Product Classes
    a. Weatherized and Non-Weatherized Commercial Furnaces
    b. Three-Phase Equipment With an Input Capacity Less Than 
225,000 Btu/h
    B. Engineering Analysis
    1. Condensing Weatherized Commercial Warm Air Furnaces
    C. Markups Analysis
    D. Energy Use Analysis
    E. Life-Cycle Cost and Payback Period Analysis
    F. Shipment Analysis
    G. National Impact Analysis
III. Public Participation

I. Introduction

A. Authority

    Title III, Part C \1\ of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 
1975 (EPCA or the Act), Public Law 94-163 (42 U.S.C. 6311-6317, as 
codified), added by Public Law 95-619, Title IV, Sec.  441(a), 
established the Energy Conservation Program for Certain Industrial 
Equipment, which includes provisions covering the commercial warm air 
furnace equipment that is the subject of this notice.\2\ In general, 
this program addresses the energy efficiency of certain types of 
commercial and industrial equipment. Relevant provisions of the Act 
specifically include definitions (42 U.S.C. 6311), energy conservation 
standards (42 U.S.C. 6313), test procedures (42 U.S.C. 6314), labelling 
provisions (42 U.S.C. 6315), and the authority to require information 
and reports from manufacturers (42 U.S.C. 6316).
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    \1\ For editorial reasons, upon codification in the U.S. Code, 
Part C was re-designated Part A-1.
    \2\ All references to EPCA in this document refer to the statute 
as amended through the American Energy Manufacturing Technical 
Corrections Act, Public Law 112-210 (Dec. 18, 2012).
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    The initial Federal energy conservation standards for commercial 
warm air furnaces were added to EPCA by the Energy Policy Act of 1992 
(EPACT 1992), Public Law 102-486. (42 U.S.C. 6313(a)(4)) These types of 
covered equipment have a rated capacity (rated maximum input) greater 
than or equal to 225,000 Btu/h, can be gas-fired or oil-fired, and are 
designed to heat commercial buildings. Id.
    Section 5(b) of the American Energy Manufacturing Technical 
Corrections Act (AEMTCA), Public Law 112-210 (Dec. 18, 2012), amended 
EPCA to include a requirement for DOE to consider amending the 
standards for certain types of commercial and industrial equipment \3\ 
every six years, as well as a mandate that DOE must conduct an 
expedited rulemaking to consider amended energy conservation standards 
for any covered equipment of

[[Page 25628]]

those types for which more than 6 years has elapsed since the issuance 
of the most recent final rule establishing or amending a standard for 
the product as of the date of AEMTCA's enactment (i.e., December 18, 
2012). (42 U.S.C. 6313(a)(6)(C)(i) and (vi) \4\) In general, when 
conducting such a review, DOE must publish either: (1) a notice of 
determination that the current standards do not need to be amended, or 
(2) a notice of proposed rulemaking containing proposed standards; 
however, for those types of equipment for which more than six years has 
passed since the last final rule, Congress also set a deadline of 
December 31, 2013 for publication of the determination/proposed rule. 
Id.
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    \3\ These equipment types include small, large, and very large 
commercial package air-conditioning and heating equipment, packaged 
terminal air conditioners and heat pumps, warm air furnaces, 
packaged boilers, storage water heaters, instantaneous water 
heaters, or unfired hot water storage tanks (``ASHRAE equipment'').
    \4\ It is noted the AEMTCA inadvertently assigned two separate 
provisions to 42 U.S.C. 6313(a)(6)(C)(vi). The provision cited above 
is the one most relevant to this RFI.
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    In order to meet the new requirements added by AEMTCA, DOE has 
begun to review its existing energy conservation standards for those 
equipment types listed in 42 U.S.C. 6313(a) for which at least six 
years have elapsed since issuance of the most recent final rule, 
including the commercial warm air furnaces that are the subject of this 
notice.
    Today's notice represents the initiation of the mandatory review 
process required by AEMTCA and seeks input from the public to assist 
DOE with its evaluation of whether to amend the current Federal energy 
conservation standards for commercial warm air furnaces. In making this 
determination, DOE must evaluate whether there is clear and convincing 
evidence that more-stringent national standards would result in 
significant additional energy savings, and be technologically feasible 
and economically justified. (42 U.S.C. 6313(a)(6)(A)(ii)(II)) In 
determining whether an amended energy conservation standard is 
economically justified, the Secretary shall, after receiving views and 
comments furnished with respect to a proposed standard, determine 
whether the benefits of the standard exceed the burden of the proposed 
standard by, to the maximum extent practicable, considering the 
following seven factors:
    (1) The economic impact of the standard on the manufacturers and on 
the consumers of the products subject to the standard;
    (2) The savings in operating costs throughout the estimated average 
life of the product in the type (or class) compared to any increase in 
the price of, or in the initial charges for, or maintenance expenses 
of, the products that are likely to result from the standard;
    (3) The total projected quantity of energy savings likely to result 
directly from the standard;
    (4) Any lessening of the utility or the performance of the products 
likely to result from the standard;
    (5) The impact of any lessening of competition, as determined in 
writing by the Attorney General, that is likely to result from the 
standard;
    (6) The need for national energy conservation; and
    (7) Other factors the Secretary considers relevant.

(42 U.S.C. 6313(a)(6)(B)(ii))

    EPCA, as codified, also contains what is known as an ``anti-
backsliding'' provision, which prevents the Secretary from prescribing 
any amended standard that either increases the maximum allowable energy 
use or decreases the minimum required energy efficiency of a covered 
product. (42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(1)) Also, the Secretary may not prescribe 
an amended or new standard if interested persons have established by a 
preponderance of the evidence that the standard is likely to result in 
the unavailability in the United States of any covered product type (or 
class) of performance characteristics (including reliability), 
features, sizes, capacities, and volumes that are substantially the 
same as those generally available in the United States. (42 U.S.C. 
6295(o)(4))
    Further, EPCA, as codified, establishes a rebuttable presumption 
that a standard is economically justified if the Secretary finds that 
the additional cost to the customer of purchasing a product complying 
with an energy conservation standard level will be less than three 
times the value of the energy (and, as applicable, water) savings 
during the first year that the consumer will receive as a result of the 
standard, as calculated under the applicable test procedure. (42 U.S.C. 
6295(o)(2)(B)(iii))
    Additionally, when a type or class of covered equipment has two or 
more subcategories, DOE often specifies more than one standard level. 
DOE generally will adopt a different standard level than that which 
applies generally to such type or class of products for any group of 
covered products that have the same function or intended use if DOE 
determines that products within such group: (A) consume a different 
kind of energy from that consumed by other covered products within such 
type (or class); or (B) have a capacity or other performance-related 
feature which other products within such type (or class) do not have 
and which justifies a higher or lower standard. (42 U.S.C. 6295(q)(1)) 
In determining whether a performance-related feature justifies a 
different standard for a group of products, DOE generally considers 
such factors as the utility to the customer of the feature and other 
factors DOE deems appropriate. In a rule prescribing such a standard, 
DOE includes an explanation of the basis on which such higher or lower 
level was established. (42 U.S.C. 6295(q)(2)) DOE followed a similar 
process in the context of today's rulemaking.
    Federal energy conservation requirements generally supersede State 
laws or regulations concerning energy conservation testing, labeling, 
and standards. (42 U.S.C. 6297(a)-(c)) DOE may, however, grant waivers 
of Federal pre-emption for particular State laws or regulations, in 
accordance with the procedures and other provisions set forth under 42 
U.S.C. 6297(d).

B. Background

    As noted above, the current energy conservation standards for 
commercial warm air furnaces were set by EPACT 1992. On October 21, 
2004, DOE published a final rule in the Federal Register which adopted 
definitions for ``commercial warm air furnace'' and ``thermal 
efficiency,'' promulgated test procedures for this equipment, and 
recodified the energy conservation standards so that the standards are 
located contiguous with the test procedures in the Code of Federal 
Regulations (CFR). 69 FR 61916, 61917. In the same final rule, DOE 
incorporated by reference (see Sec.  431.75) a number of industry test 
standards relevant to commercial warm air furnaces, including American 
National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard Z21.47-1998, ``Gas-Fired 
Central Furnaces,'' for gas-fired furnaces, Underwriters Laboratories 
(UL) Standard 727-1994, ``Standard for Safety for Oil-Fired Central 
Furnaces,'' for oil-fired furnaces, provisions from Hydronics Institute 
(HI) Standard BTS-2000, ``Method to Determine Efficiency of Commercial 
Space Heating Boilers,'' to calculate flue loss for oil-fired furnaces, 
and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-
conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standard 103-1993, ``Method of Testing 
for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency of Residential Central Furnaces 
and Boilers,'' to determine the incremental efficiency of condensing 
furnaces under steady-state conditions. Id. Then in a final rule 
published in the Federal Register on May 16, 2012, DOE updated the test 
procedures for commercial warm air furnaces to match the procedures 
specified in ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2010, which referenced

[[Page 25629]]

ANSI Z21.47-2006, ``Gas-Fired Central Furnaces,'' for gas-fired 
furnaces and UL 727-2006, ``Standard for Safety for Oil-Fired Central 
Furnaces,'' for oil-fired furnaces. 77 FR 28928, 28987-88. The current 
Federal energy conservation standards, for this equipment are shown in 
Table 1.


                   Table 1--Minimum Heating Efficiency Levels for Commercial Warm Air Furnaces
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                                                                               Minimum thermal
                      Equipment type                         Input capacity      efficiency      Compliance date
                                                                                   level*
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Gas-fired Commercial Warm Air Furnace.....................   >=225,000 Btu/h               80%          1/1/1994
Oil-fired Commercial Warm Air Furnace.....................   >=225,000 Btu/h               81%          1/1/1994
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*At the maximum rated capacity (rated maximum input).

C. Rulemaking Process

    DOE generally follows specific criteria when prescribing amended 
standards for covered ``ASHRAE equipment.'' (See generally 42 U.S.C. 
6313(a)(6)(A)-(C).) When proposing to adopt more-stringent standard 
levels than those contained in ASHRAE Standard 90.1, DOE must evaluate 
whether clear and convincing evidence exists demonstrating that such 
amended standards would be technologically feasible and would result in 
significant additional energy savings, and then must consider whether 
amended standards are economically justified. (42 U.S.C. 
6313(a)(6)(A)(ii)(II))
    In assessing the appropriateness of amending the standards that are 
currently in place for commercial warm air furnaces, DOE plans to 
conduct its analyses in stages, with a positive result leading to a 
subsequent stage of the analysis. Under this approach, DOE would first 
evaluate whether more-stringent standards are technologically feasible 
and would lead to significant additional energy savings. If either of 
these prongs is not met, DOE would conduct no further analysis, because 
the statutory criteria for adoption of the more-stringent standard 
could not be met. However, if this initial assessment is positive, DOE 
plans to conduct in-depth analyses of the costs and benefits of the 
potential amended standards to determine whether such amended standards 
would be economically justified. The analyses would include the 
following steps: (1) Engineering; (2) energy use; (3) markups; (4) 
life-cycle cost and payback period; and (5) national impacts. If, after 
conducting those analyses, DOE reasons that there is a high likelihood 
that more-stringent standards would be economically justified, DOE will 
conduct downstream analyses including an analysis of: (1) Manufacturer 
impacts; (2) emission impacts; (3) utility impacts; (4) employment 
impacts; and (5) regulatory impacts. These analyses are the same ones 
DOE routinely applies when evaluating potential energy conservation 
standards for a given type of product or equipment. DOE will also 
conduct several other analyses that support those previously listed, 
including the market and technology assessment, the screening analysis 
(which contributes to the engineering analysis), and the shipments 
analysis (which contributes to the national impact analysis). As 
detailed throughout this RFI, DOE is publishing this notice as the 
first step in the analytical process and is specifically requesting 
input and data from interested parties to aid in the development of the 
technical analyses.
    Due to the relatively short timeline for this rulemaking set forth 
by AEMTCA, DOE anticipates moving from this RFI directly to publication 
of either a determination that the commercial warm air furnaces 
standards do not need to be amended or a notice of proposed rulemaking 
for amended standards by the December 31, 2013 deadline.

II. Planned Rulemaking Analyses

    In this section, DOE identifies a variety of issues on which it 
seeks input and data in order to aid its development of the technical 
and economic analyses to determine whether amended energy conservation 
standards may be warranted. In addition, DOE welcomes comments on other 
issues relevant to this rulemaking that may not specifically be 
identified in this notice.

A. Market Assessment

    The market and technology assessment provides information about the 
commercial warm air furnace industry that will be used throughout the 
rulemaking process. For example, this information will be used to 
determine whether the existing equipment class structure requires 
modification based on the statutory criteria for setting such classes 
and to explore the potential for technological improvements in the 
design and manufacturing of such equipment. The Department uses 
qualitative and quantitative information to assess the past and present 
industry structure and market characteristics. For this rulemaking, DOE 
will use existing market materials and literature from a variety of 
sources, including industry publications, trade journals, government 
agencies, and the AHRI Directory of Certified Product Performance.\5\ 
Additionally, DOE will consider conducting interviews with 
manufacturers to assess the overall market for commercial warm air 
furnaces.
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    \5\ The AHRI Directory can be found at: http://www.ahridirectory.org/ahridirectory/pages/home.aspx (Last accessed 
on April 11, 2013).
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    The current standards for commercial warm air furnaces are 
specified for two equipment classes which are characterized by fuel 
type--(1) gas-fired commercial warm air furnaces with capacity of 
225,000 Btu per hour or more and (2) oil-fired commercial warm air 
furnaces with capacity of 225,000 Btu per hour or more. As a starting 
point, DOE plans to use the existing equipment class structure. 
However, DOE will consider additional equipment classes for capacities 
or other performance-related features that inherently effect efficiency 
and justify the establishment of a different energy conservation 
standard. For instance, DOE may consider adopting equipment classes to 
differentiate between weatherized and non-weatherized commercial warm 
air furnaces, or DOE might also consider creating an equipment class 
for three-phase equipment with an input capacity less than 225,000 Btu/
h. Each of these potential new equipment classes, and the rationale 
therefore, are discussed immediately below.
1. Potential New Product Classes
a. Weatherized and Non-Weatherized Commercial Furnaces
    Based on a preliminary review of the commercial furnace market, DOE 
understands that almost all commercial warm air furnaces are installed 
outdoors on rooftops, but there is a very small segment of the 
commercial warm air furnace market that consists of units installed 
indoors. These indoor

[[Page 25630]]

commercial warm air furnace models appear to consist of all the oil-
fired furnace models on the market and a few gas-fired furnace models. 
One of the indoor gas-fired model lines utilizes condensing heat 
exchanger technology to achieve a thermal efficiency of 90 percent.
    Installation location (i.e., indoors or outdoors) is significant, 
because it relates to the risk of condensate freezing. If the outdoor 
ambient temperature falls below freezing, the condensate can freeze and 
cause a backflow of condensate into the furnace's internal components 
and damage them. Although use of condensing technology may be possible 
in outdoor weatherized furnaces (see section II.B.1 for further 
discussion), condensing, non-weatherized heat exchanger technology has 
been demonstrated as technologically feasible for indoor applications 
in both the residential and commercial furnace markets. Condensing heat 
exchanger technology is easier to employ on non-weatherized furnaces, 
because they are installed indoors and there is little to no risk of 
condensate freezing since the appliance will be installed in or 
adjacent to a conditioned space. Even indoor furnaces installed in non-
conditioned spaces have minimal chances of freezing in comparison to 
units that are completely outdoors, because they can be insulated from 
outdoor conditions. Thus, if indoor, non-weatherized commercial warm 
air furnace units were separated from outdoor, weatherized units in a 
new equipment class, there would be the potential for additional energy 
savings by utilizing condensing heat exchanger technology. 
Consequently, DOE has tentatively concluded that this is a performance-
related feature that may justify separate equipment classes for these 
types of equipment.
    Issue 1: DOE requests comment on the potential energy savings in 
creating a separate equipment classes for non-weatherized, indoor 
commercial warm air furnaces and weatherized, outdoor commercial warm 
air furnaces. DOE is also interested in learning about existing 
equipment that fall into this potential equipment class, as well as the 
market penetration of such equipment.
b. Three-Phase Equipment With an Input Capacity Less Than 225,000 Btu/h
    EPCA defines a commercial ``warm air furnace'' as ``a self-
contained oil- or gas-fired furnace designed to supply heated air 
through ducts to spaces that require it and includes combination warm 
air furnace/electric air conditioning units but does not include unit 
heaters and duct furnaces.'' (42 U.S.C. 6311(11)(A)) DOE notes that 
EPCA itself does not place a limit on the input capacity, specify a 
current phase type (single-phase or three-phase), or include any other 
similar criteria in the statutory definition that would restrict the 
scope of commercial warm air furnaces as covered equipment. However, 
when promulgating EPCA's initial energy conservation standards for 
commercial warm air furnaces, Congress only included energy 
conservation standards for commercial warm air furnaces with input 
ratings of 225,000 Btu/h or more. In light of the above, when 
establishing its regulations for commercial warm air furnaces in the 
CFR, DOE reiterated EPCA's definition of a ``warm air furnace'' and 
further defined a ``commercial warm air furnace'' as ``a warm air 
furnace that is industrial equipment, and that has a capacity (rated 
maximum input) of 225,000 Btu per hour or more'' at 10 CFR 431.72. 
However, DOE is open to considering energy conservation standards for 
commercial warm air furnaces of different capacities as part of this 
rulemaking to consider amended standards.
    EPCA and the CFR define a residential ``furnace'' as ``a product 
which utilizes only single-phase electric current, or single-phase 
electric current or DC current in conjunction with natural gas, 
propane, or home heating oil, and which--
    (a) Is designed to be the principal heating source for the living 
space of a residence;
    (b) Is not contained within the same cabinet with a central air 
conditioner whose rated cooling capacity is above 65,000 Btu per hour;
    (c) Is an electric central furnace, electric boiler, forced-air 
central furnace, gravity central furnace, or low pressure steam or hot 
water boiler; and
    (d) Has a heat input rate of less than 300,000 Btu per hour for 
electric boilers and low pressure steam or hot water boilers and less 
than 225,000 Btu per hour for forced-air central furnaces, gravity 
central furnaces, and electric central furnaces, gravity central 
furnaces, and electric central furnaces.''

(42 U.S.C 6291(23); 10 CFR 430.2)
    Currently, DOE has promulgated energy conservation standards for 
commercial warm air furnaces (single-phase or three-phase) with an 
input greater than or equal 225,000 Btu/h (10 CFR 431.77), as well as 
standards for residential (single-phase) furnaces with an input less 
than 225,000 Btu/h (10 CFR 430.32(e)). Thus, there are presently no 
energy conservation standards for commercial three-phase warm air 
furnaces with an input capacity less than 225,000 Btu/h.
    Commercial warm air furnaces are ``ASHRAE equipment,'' for which 
EPCA requires that DOE maintain efficiency standards at the efficiency 
levels set in ASHRAE Standard 90.1 or more-stringent levels. (42 U.S.C. 
6313(a)(6)(A)) That is, if ASHRAE amends any efficiency level with 
respect to the equipment in ASHRAE Standard 90.1, DOE must either adopt 
that efficiency level or determine, with the support of clear and 
convincing evidence, that a more-stringent standard is warranted. Id. 
ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2010 lists efficiency levels for three-phase warm 
air furnaces in Table 6.8.1E, including for those with an input 
capacity less than 225,000 Btu/h. However, ASHRAE sets the efficiency 
level for warm air furnaces with an input capacity less than 225,000 
Btu/h as a choice between 78 percent AFUE or 80 percent thermal 
efficiency for units that are not covered by DOE's standards for 
residential furnaces. The 78 percent AFUE rating is the current Federal 
efficiency standard for residential furnaces, and the 80 percent 
thermal efficiency rating is the current Federal efficiency standard 
for commercial gas-fired warm air furnaces.
    Some residential furnace manufacturers offer both single-phase and 
three-phase versions of their furnaces, which appear (based on a review 
of product literature) to be otherwise exactly the same. Based on a 
review of market data, DOE notes that these three-phase furnaces are 
typically weatherized (i.e., outdoor) units that generally have the 
same efficiency as their single-phase counterpart. In other cases, 
especially for three-phase furnaces paired with rooftop air-
conditioning units with a cooling capacity greater than 5 tons, there 
are no single-phase counterparts. However, all of these models have a 
thermal efficiency of at least 80 percent, meeting or exceeding the 
current Federal efficiency standards for commercial warm air furnaces.
    DOE notes that this rulemaking presents somewhat unique 
circumstances, namely where ASHRAE in the past had acted to adopt 
standards in ASHRAE Standard 90.1 for commercial warm air furnaces with 
an input capacity less than 225,000 Btu/h but DOE did not consider 
itself triggered at that time. The new statutory 6-year look-back 
review provisions for ASHRAE equipment (as codified at 42 U.S.C. 
6313(a)(6)(C)(i) and (vi)) direct DOE to evaluate amended standards,

[[Page 25631]]

assuming that DOE has already been triggered and set a standard at a 
level no less than the ASHRAE level for the equipment in question. In 
this case, if DOE does not find that clear and convincing evidence 
exists to support adoption of a more-stringent standard, DOE will adopt 
one of the standard levels in ASHRAE Standard 90.1 as the Federal 
standard (AFUE or thermal efficiency).
    Issue 2: DOE requests comment on the need to establish an equipment 
class for three-phase commercial warm air furnaces with an input 
capacity less than 225,000 Btu/h and the potential energy savings that 
could be achieved from creating such an equipment class.
    Issue 3: DOE also requests comment on whether AFUE or thermal 
efficiency is an appropriate efficiency metric for three-phase 
commercial warm air furnaces with an input capacity less than 225,000 
Btu/h.

B. Engineering Analysis

    The engineering analysis estimates the cost-efficiency relationship 
of equipment at different levels of increased energy efficiency. This 
relationship serves as the basis for the cost-benefit calculations for 
commercial customers, manufacturers, and the Nation. In determining the 
cost-efficiency relationship, DOE will estimate the increase in 
manufacturer cost associated with increasing the efficiency of 
equipment above the baseline at various efficiency levels up to the 
maximum technologically feasible (``max-tech'') efficiency level for 
each equipment class. The baseline model is used as a reference point 
for each equipment class in the engineering analysis and the life-cycle 
cost and payback-period analyses. Typically, DOE would consider 
equipment that just meets the minimum energy conservation standard as 
baseline equipment. The vast majority of commercial warm air furnaces 
on the market achieve thermal efficiency ratings between 80 percent 
(the minimum efficiency standard) and 82 percent, inclusively, with two 
model lines achieving a thermal efficiency rating of 90 percent. In 
this engineering analysis, DOE is planning on analyzing the technology 
options and cost for equipment at 80 percent, 82 percent, and 90 
percent thermal efficiencies.
    Issue 4: DOE requests information on max-tech efficiency levels 
achievable in the current market.
    Issue 5: DOE requests feedback on its proposed efficiency levels 
for analysis.
    Issue 6: DOE requests information regarding the technology 
differences between commercial furnaces at 80 percent thermal 
efficiency ratings and more-efficient commercial furnaces.
    In order to determine the cost-efficiency relationship, DOE 
anticipates drawing upon a variety of resources. DOE will use knowledge 
gained from previous rulemakings for similar equipment and consult 
manufacturers, technical experts, and product literature to estimate 
the cost of equipment with increased efficiency. DOE may also use 
reverse-engineering (or cost-assessment) techniques that include 
teardown analysis to assist in determining the cost-efficiency 
relationship. A teardown analysis (or ``physical teardown'') determines 
the production cost of a piece of equipment by disassembling the 
equipment ``piece-by-piece'' and estimating the material and labor cost 
of each component. The information from teardowns is then inputted into 
a cost model which fully accounts for labor, material, overhead, and 
depreciation to develop an estimate of the total manufacturer 
production cost (MPC). A supplementary method called a catalog teardown 
(or ``virtual teardown'') uses published manufacturer catalogs and 
supplementary component data to estimate the major physical differences 
between a piece of equipment that has been physically disassembled and 
another piece of similar equipment. These two methods could be used 
individually or in combination to help DOE determine the cost-
efficiency relationship for commercial warm air furnaces. If DOE finds 
that sufficient information exists, based on previous analyses of 
similar products and in manufacturer literature and information, to 
estimate the costs using virtual teardowns in lieu of physical 
teardowns, DOE may choose to use only virtual teardowns, an approach 
which would yield the necessary information while saving time and 
resources.
    Issue 7: DOE requests feedback on the possible approaches 
identified for the engineering analysis and on what the appropriate 
representative capacities and characteristics would be for each 
equipment class.
1. Condensing Weatherized Commercial Warm Air Furnaces
    As briefly discussed in section II.A.1.a above, furnaces that 
utilize condensing heat exchanger technology extract more useable heat 
from the flue gas via a secondary heat exchanger. This extra heat 
extraction can cause water vapor to condense from the gas, hence the 
term ``condensing furnace.'' This technology has not become established 
in the commercial warm air furnace market because of challenges 
associated with removing acidic condensate from units installed 
outdoors, which is the majority of the commercial warm air furnace 
market. When the outdoor ambient temperature falls below freezing, the 
condensate leaving the drain pipe can freeze and cause a backflow of 
condensate into the furnace's internal components which can permanently 
damage the furnace, creating reliability issues. If the furnace becomes 
disabled while the outdoor ambient temperatures are below freezing and 
if the furnace is not repaired or replaced in a timely fashion, there 
could be a danger to building occupants due to exposure to low 
temperatures. Also, because this condensate is acidic, it may need to 
be treated with a neutralizer before discharging it into a sewer 
system, according to some local codes.
    In researching the potential for rooftop condensate disposal 
methods, DOE identified two patents from major manufacturers that 
provided methods for condensate disposal in outdoor furnaces. DOE is 
also aware of one manufacturer that markets a dedicated outdoor air 
system with an optional heating section that utilizes a condensing heat 
exchanger to achieve a thermal efficiency over 90 percent, and which 
drains the condensate into the heated building space to prevent 
condensate freezing. The manufacturer also recommends completely 
draining the condensate drain system and secondary heat exchanger or 
applying heat tape to the drain system in order to prevent condensate 
freezing. DOE tentatively plans to examine condensing heat exchangers 
as a viable technology option for improving the thermal efficiency of 
commercial furnaces and analyze it as part of the engineering analysis.
    Issue 8: DOE requests comment on the feasibility of using 
condensing heat exchanger technology in weatherized commercial warm air 
furnaces. DOE is also interested in comments on issues related to 
implementing identified condensing heat exchanger technologies in 
outdoor warm air furnaces, as well as costs associated with 
implementing a condensate drain into the building's space.

C. Markups Analysis

    To carry out the life-cycle cost (LCC) and payback period (PBP) 
calculations, DOE needs to determine the cost to the commercial 
customer of baseline equipment that satisfies the currently applicable 
standards, and the cost of the more-efficient unit the customer would 
purchase under potential amended standards. This is done by applying a 
markup multiplier to the manufacturer's

[[Page 25632]]

selling price to estimate the commercial customer's price.
    DOE intends to characterize several types of distribution channels 
to describe how the equipment passes from the manufacturer to the 
customer. The first distribution channel is characterized as follows:

Manufacturer >< Wholesaler 
>< Mechanical contractor 
>< General contractor 
>< Consumer

    In the second distribution channel, the manufacturer sells the 
equipment directly to the customer through a national account, which is 
characterized as follows:

Manufacturer >< Consumer

    In addition, DOE plans to consider cases when the contractor's sale 
of the equipment includes a start-up/check-out contract, in which cases 
the equipment markup is included in the contract costs.
    Issue 9: DOE seeks input from stakeholders on whether the 
distribution channels described above are relevant for commercial warm 
air furnaces.
    Issue 10: DOE seeks input on the percentage of equipment being 
distributed through the various types of distribution channels, and 
whether the share of equipment through each channel varies based on 
equipment capacity.
    To develop markups for the parties involved in the distribution of 
the equipment, DOE utilized several sources including: (1) The Heating, 
Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) 
2012 Profit Report\6\ to develop wholesaler markups, (2) the 2005 Air 
Conditioning Contractors of America's (ACCA) financial analysis for the 
heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR) 
contracting industry \7\ to develop mechanical contractor markups, and 
(3) U.S. Census Bureau's 2007 Economic Census data \8\ for the 
commercial and institutional building construction industry to develop 
general contractor markups.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors 
International 2012 Profit Report (Available at: http://www.hardinet.org/Profit-Report) (Last accessed April 10, 2013).
    \7\ Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), Financial 
Analysis for the HVACR Contracting Industry: 2005 (2005) (Available 
at: https://http://www.acca.org/store/product.php?pid=142) (Last 
accessed April 10, 2013).
    \8\ U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 Economic Census Data (2007) 
(Available at: http://www.census.gov/econ/) (Last accessed April 10, 
2013).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Issue 11: DOE seeks recent data to establish the markups for the 
parties involved with the distribution of the equipment.

D. Energy Use Analysis

    The purpose of the energy use analysis is to assess the energy 
requirements of equipment at different efficiencies in several building 
types that utilize the equipment. DOE intends to base the energy use 
analysis for the current effort on building simulation data or bin 
method. The building simulation will include building operation hourly 
profiles, which are based on building characteristics from the Energy 
Information Administration's 2003 Commercial Building Energy 
Consumption Survey (CBECS) \9\ for the subset that uses the type of 
equipment covered by the standards. Each building will be assigned to a 
specific location, and the approach will capture variability in heating 
loads due to factors such as building activity, schedule, occupancy, 
local weather, and shell characteristics.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ Energy Information Administration (EIA), 2003 Commercial 
Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) (Available at: http://www.eia.gov/consumption/commercial/) (Last accessed April 10, 2013).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    CBECS 2012 is currently in development but will not be available in 
time for this rulemaking. In addition, the 2003 CBECS sample may not 
include examples of recent innovations in building shell or window 
technologies that reduce cooling loads. Therefore, DOE intends on 
reviewing other data sets (e.g., the technology penetration curves used 
in the latest National Energy Modeling System (NEMS) \10\), to 
determine whether a significant fraction of the current building 
population is not represented by CBECS 2003.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \10\ For more information on NEMS, refer to the U.S. Department 
of Energy, Energy Information Administration (EIA) documentation. A 
useful summary is National Energy Modeling System: An Overview 2003, 
DOE/EIA-0581(2003). Each year, EIA uses NEMS to produce an energy 
forecast for the United States, the Annual Energy Outlook (AEO). For 
this analysis, DOE intends to use the version of NEMS based on AEO 
2013 (Available at: http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Issue 12: DOE requests comment or seeks input from stakeholders on 
the overall method to determine the equipment load profiles;
    Issue 13: DOE requests comment or seeks input from stakeholders on 
the current distribution of equipment efficiencies in the building 
population;
    Issue 14: DOE requests comment or seeks input from stakeholders on 
how equipment energy use for a given heating load shape scales as a 
function of capacity (i.e., whether two commercial furnace units of a 
certain capacity use the same total heating energy as one commercial 
furnace unit of twice the capacity)
    Issue 15: DOE requests comment or seeks input from stakeholders on 
whether building simulations developed for small and large commercial 
furnace equipment are applicable to very large equipment, and
    Issue 16: DOE requests comment on the fraction of commercial warm 
air furnaces which are used in residential applications such as 
residential multi-family buildings as well as the fraction of 
residential furnaces that are used for commercial applications.

E. Life-Cycle Cost and Payback Period Analysis

    The purpose of the LCC and PBP analysis is to analyze the effects 
of potential amended energy conservation standards on customers of 
commercial furnace equipment by determining how a potential amended 
standard affects their operating expenses (usually decreased) and their 
total installed costs (usually increased).
    DOE intends to analyze the potential for variability and 
uncertainty by performing the LCC and PBP calculations on a 
representative sample of individual commercial buildings. DOE plans to 
utilize the sample of buildings developed for the energy use analysis 
\11\ and the corresponding simulations results. Within a given 
building, one or more commercial furnace units may serve the building's 
space-conditioning needs, depending on the heating load requirements of 
the building. As a result, the Department intends to express the LCC 
and PBP results as the number of commercial furnace customers 
experiencing economic impacts of different magnitudes. DOE plans to 
model both the uncertainty and the variability in the inputs to the LCC 
and PBP analysis using Monte Carlo simulation and probability 
distributions. As a result, the LCC and PBP results will be displayed 
as distributions of impacts compared to the base case conditions.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \11\ DOE plans to utilize the building types defined in CBECS 
2003. Definitions of CBECS building types can be found at http://www.eia.gov/emeu/cbecs/building_types.html.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Issue 17: DOE requests comment from stakeholders on the overall 
method that it intends on using to conduct the LCC and PBP analysis for 
commercial warm air furnaces.
    Inputs to the LCC and PBP analysis are categorized as: (1) Inputs 
for establishing the purchase expense, otherwise known as the total 
installed cost, and (2) inputs for calculating the operating expense.
    The primary inputs for establishing the total installed cost are 
the baseline

[[Page 25633]]

customer price, standard-level customer price increases, and 
installation costs. Baseline customer prices and standard-level 
customer price increases will be determined by applying markups to 
manufacturer price estimates. The installation cost is added to the 
customer price to arrive at a total installed cost. DOE intends to 
develop installation costs for commercial warm air furnaces using the 
most recent RS Means data available.
    Issue 18: DOE seeks input on the approach and data sources it 
intends to use to develop installation costs, specifically, its 
intention to use the most recent RS Means Mechanical Cost Data.\12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \12\ RS Means, 2013 Mechanical Cost Data (Available at: http://rsmeans.reedconstructiondata.com/60023.aspx) (Last accessed April 
10, 2013).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The primary inputs for calculating the operating costs are 
equipment energy consumption and power demand, equipment efficiency, 
electricity prices and forecasts, maintenance and repair costs, 
equipment lifetime, and discount rates. Both equipment lifetime and 
discount rates are used to calculate the present value of future 
operating expenses.
    The equipment energy consumption is the site energy use associated 
with providing space-heating to the building. DOE intends to utilize 
calculation methodology to establish equipment energy use.
    DOE intends to determine gas, oil, and electricity prices based on 
recent or current tariffs from a representative sample of utilities, as 
well as historical State commercial energy price data from the Energy 
Information Administration (EIA). This approach calculates energy 
expenses based on actual energy prices that customers are paying in 
different geographical areas of the country. In addition to using 
tariffs, DOE plans to use data provided in EIA's Form 861 data \13\ to 
calculate commercial electricity prices, EIA's Natural Gas Navigator 
\14\ to calculate commercial natural gas prices, and EIA's State Energy 
Data System (SEDS) \15\ to calculate liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and 
fuel oil prices. Future energy prices will likely be projected using 
trends from the EIA's 2013 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO).\16\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \13\ Energy Information Administration (EIA), Survey form EIA-
861--Annual Electric Power Industry Report (Available at: http://www.eia.gov/electricity/data/eia861/index.html) (Last accessed April 
15, 2013).
    \14\ Energy Information Administration (EIA), Natural Gas 
Navigator (Available at: http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/ng/ng_pri_sum_dcu_nus_m.htm) (Last accessed April 15, 2013).
    \15\ Energy Information Administration (EIA), State Energy Data 
System (SEDS) (Available at: http://www.eia.gov/state/seds/) (Last 
accessed April 15, 2013).
    \16\ Energy Information Administration (EIA), 2013 Annual Energy 
Outlook (AEO) Full Version (Available at: http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/) (Last accessed April 15, 2013).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Issue 19: DOE seeks comment on its approach for developing energy 
prices. DOE seeks input on specific data sources available for 
collecting tariffs.
    Maintenance costs are expenses associated with ensuring continued 
operation of the covered equipment over time. DOE intends to develop 
maintenance costs for its analysis using the most recent RS Means data 
available. DOE plans also to consider the cases when the equipment is 
covered by service and/or maintenance agreements.
    Issue 20: DOE seeks input on the approach and data sources it 
intends to use to develop maintenance costs, specifically, its 
intention to use the most recent RS Means Facilities Maintenance & 
Repair Cost Data,\17\ as well as to consider the cost of service and/or 
maintenance agreements.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \17\ RS Means, 2013 Facilities Maintenance & Repair Cost Data 
(Available at: http://rsmeans.reedconstructiondata.com/60303.aspx) 
(Last accessed April 10, 2013).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Repair costs are expenses associated with repairing or replacing 
components of the covered equipment that have failed. DOE intends to 
assess whether repair costs vary with equipment efficiency as part of 
its analysis.
    Issue 21: DOE seeks comment as to whether repair costs vary as a 
function of equipment efficiency. DOE also requests any data or 
information on developing repair costs.
    Equipment lifetime is the age at which a unit of covered equipment 
is retired from service. The average equipment lifetime for commercial 
warm air furnaces is estimated by ASHRAE to be between 15 and 20 
years.\18\ Based on these data, DOE plans to use a 17.5 average 
lifetime for commercial warm air furnaces as the primary input for 
developing a Weibull probability distribution to characterize 
commercial warm air furnace lifetime.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \18\ American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-
Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (ASHRAE), ASHRAE Handbook of HVAC 
Systems and Equipment (2008) p. 32.8.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Issue 22: DOE seeks comment on its approach of using a Weibull 
probability distribution to characterize equipment lifetime. DOE also 
requests any equipment lifetime data or information and whether 
equipment lifetime varies based on equipment class.
    The discount rate is the rate at which future expenditures are 
discounted to establish their present value. DOE intends to derive the 
discount rates by estimating the cost of capital of companies that 
purchase commercial furnace equipment.
    DOE measures LCC and PBP impacts of potential standard levels 
relative to a base case that reflects the likely market in the absence 
of amended standards. DOE plans to develop market-share efficiency data 
(i.e., the distribution of equipment shipments by efficiency) for the 
equipment classes DOE is considering, for the year in which compliance 
with any amended standards would be required.
    DOE also plans to assess the applicability of the ``rebound 
effect'' in the energy use analysis for commercial warm air furnaces. A 
rebound effect occurs when a piece of equipment that is made more 
efficient is used more intensively, so that the expected energy savings 
from the efficiency improvement may not fully materialize. However, at 
this time, DOE is not aware of any information about the rebound effect 
for this equipment type.
    Issue 23: DOE requests data on current efficiency market shares (of 
shipments) by equipment class, and also similar historic data. In 
particular, DOE seeks efficiency data for very large equipment.
    Issue 24: DOE also requests information on expected trends in 
efficiency for commercial warm air furnaces over the next five years.
    Issue 25: DOE seeks comments and data on the rebound effect that 
may be associated with more-efficient commercial warm air furnaces.

F. Shipment Analysis

    DOE uses shipment projections by equipment class to calculate the 
national impacts of standards on energy consumption, net present value 
(NPV), and future manufacturer cash flows.
    DOE intends to develop a shipments model for commercial warm air 
furnace equipment driven by historical shipments data. The accuracy of 
the shipments model is highly dependent on these historical shipments 
data, as the data are used not only to build up an equipment stock but 
also to calibrate the shipments model. If no shipments data are 
available, DOE plans to consider using 1994 shipments data from the Gas 
Appliance Manufacturers Association \19\ (GAMA) (i.e., 164,300 
commercial warm air gas-fired furnace shipments),\20\ and applying a 
trend

[[Page 25634]]

based on estimated historical commercial warm air furnace stock derived 
from CBECS data.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \19\ This organization has subsequently become the Air-
Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI).
    \20\ Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Screening 
Analysis for EPACT-Covered Commercial HVAC and Water-Heating 
Equipment (April 2000) (Available at: http://www.pnl.gov/main/publications/external/technical_reports/PNNL-13232.pdf) (Last 
accessed April 10, 2013).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Issue 26: DOE seeks historical shipments data for commercial warm 
air furnaces.
    The shipments model will consider three market segments: (1) New 
commercial buildings acquiring equipment; (2) existing buildings 
replacing old equipment; and (3) existing buildings acquiring new 
equipment for the first time. Two stock categories are also considered: 
(1) equipment that has received only normal maintenance repairs; and 
(2) equipment that has had its useful life extended through additional 
repairs. To determine whether a customer would choose to repair rather 
than replace their commercial furnace equipment, the shipments model 
explicitly accounts for the combined effects of changes in purchase 
price, annual operating cost, and the value of commercial floor space 
on the purchase versus repair decision. Changes to the purchase price 
and operating costs due to amended energy conservation standards were 
the drivers for shipment estimates for the standards cases relative to 
the base case (i.e., the case without amended standards).
    Issue 27: DOE requests comment on the approach it intends on using 
to develop the shipments model and shipments forecasts for this 
rulemaking.
    DOE intends to utilize the U.S. Census Bureau data \21\ to 
establish historical new construction floor space, as well as 
historical stock floor space. The Annual Energy Outlook will be used to 
forecast both new construction and stock floor space. Together with 
historical equipment saturation data from CBECS, DOE will estimate 
shipments to the three market segments identified above. The utility 
function to estimate the repair versus replacement decision will be 
based on income per square foot data from the Building Owners and 
Managers Association (BOMA) Commercial Building Survey reports,\22\ 
purchase price data estimated from the Bureau of Labor Statistics,\23\ 
and operating cost data derived from the LCC and PBP analysis.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \21\ U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United 
States: 2011, Table No 933--Construction Contracts--Value of 
Construction and Floor Space of Buildings by Class of Construction 
(Available at: https://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2011/cats/construction_housing/construction_indices_and_value.html) (Last 
accessed April 10, 2013).
    \22\ Building Owners and Managers Association International 
(BOMA). Experience Exchange Report (2013) (Available at: https://www.bomaeer.com/) (Last accessed April 10, 2013).
    \23\ U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. 
Producers Price Index: Industry: Refrigeration and Heating Equipment 
(Available at: http://www.bls.gov/ppi/home.htm) (Last accessed April 
10, 2013).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Issue 28: DOE seeks input on the approach and data sources it 
intends to use in developing the shipments model and shipments 
forecasts for this analysis.

G. National Impact Analysis

    The purpose of the national impact analysis (NIA) is to estimate 
aggregate impacts of potential energy conservation standards at the 
national level. Impacts that DOE reports include the national energy 
savings (NES) from potential standards and the net present value (NPV) 
of the total consumer benefits.
    To develop the NES, DOE calculates annual energy consumption for 
the base case and the standards cases. DOE calculates the annual energy 
consumption using per-unit annual energy use data multiplied by 
projected shipments.
    To develop the national NPV of consumer benefits from potential 
energy conservation standards, DOE calculates annual energy 
expenditures and annual equipment expenditures for the base case and 
the standards cases. DOE calculates annual energy expenditures from 
annual energy consumption by incorporating forecasted energy prices, 
using shipment projections and average energy efficiency projections. 
DOE calculates annual equipment expenditures by multiplying the price 
per unit times the projected shipments. The difference each year 
between energy bill savings and increased equipment expenditures is the 
net savings or net costs.
    A key component of DOE's estimates of NES and NPV are the equipment 
energy efficiencies forecasted over time for the base case and for each 
of the standards cases. To develop the various standards cases, DOE 
plans to develop market-share efficiency data (i.e., data on the 
distribution of equipment shipments by efficiency) for the commercial 
furnace equipment classes DOE is considering. To estimate the impact 
that amended energy conservation standards may have in the year 
compliance becomes required, DOE has used ``roll-up'' and/or ``shift'' 
scenarios in its standards rulemakings. Under the ``roll-up'' scenario, 
DOE assumes: (1) Equipment efficiencies in the base case that do not 
meet the new or amended standard level under consideration would ``roll 
up'' to meet that standard level; and (2) equipment shipments at 
efficiencies above the standard level under consideration would not be 
affected. Under the ``shift'' scenario, DOE retains the pattern of the 
base-case efficiency distribution but re-orients the distribution at 
and above the new or amended minimum energy conservation standard. 
After DOE establishes the average efficiency for the assumed compliance 
date of a standard, it can estimate future efficiency by using the same 
rate of projected efficiency growth as for the base-case efficiency 
trend.
    DOE intends to determine whether there is a rebound effect 
associated with more efficient commercial furnaces. If data indicate 
that there is a rebound effect, DOE will account for the rebound effect 
in its calculation of NES.
    DOE has historically presented NES in terms of primary energy 
savings. On August 18, 2011, DOE published a final statement of policy 
in the Federal Register announcing its intention to use full-fuel-cycle 
(FFC) measures of energy use and greenhouse gas and other emissions in 
the national impact analyses and emissions analyses included in future 
energy conservation standards rulemakings. 76 FR 51281. While DOE 
stated in that notice that it intended to use the Greenhouse Gases, 
Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation (GREET) model to 
conduct the analysis, it also said it would review alternative methods, 
including the use of NEMS. After evaluating both models and the 
approaches discussed in the August 18, 2011 notice, DOE published an 
amended statement of policy, articulating its determination that NEMS 
is a more appropriate tool for this purpose. 77 FR 49701 (Aug. 17, 
2012). Therefore, DOE intends to use the NEMS model to conduct FFC 
analyses. The method used to derive the FFC multipliers will be 
described in the technical support document (TSD).
    Issue 29: In addition to historical efficiency data, DOE also 
requests information on expected trends in efficiency of commercial 
warm air furnaces over the long run.
    Issue 30: DOE requests comment on whether it should pursue a roll-
up or shift approach for potential commercial warm air furnace 
standards in the national impact analysis.

III. Public Participation

    DOE invites all interested parties to submit in writing by June 3, 
2013, comments and information on matters addressed in this notice and 
on any other matters relevant to DOE's consideration of potential 
amended energy conservation standards for commercial warm air furnaces.

[[Page 25635]]

    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 notice of proposed 
rulemaking (NOPR) for commercial warm air furnaces, if DOE determines 
that the statutory criteria have been met for amended energy 
conservation standards for such equipment.
    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name 
and docket number and/or RIN for this rulemaking. No telefacsimilies 
(faxes) will be accepted.
    Docket: The docket is available for review at www.regulations.gov, 
including Federal Register notices, public meeting attendees' lists and 
transcripts, comments, and other supporting documents/materials. All 
documents in the docket are listed in the www.regulations.gov index. 
However, not all documents listed in the index may be publicly 
available, such as information that is exempt from public disclosure.
    A link to the docket Web page can be found at: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=EERE-2013-BT-STD-0021. This Web 
page contains a link to the docket for this notice on the 
www.regulations.gov Web site. The www.regulations.gov Web page contains 
simple instructions on how to access all documents, including public 
comments, in the docket.
    For information on how to submit a comment, review other public 
comments and the docket, or participate in the public meeting, contact 
Ms. Brenda Edwards at (202) 586-2945 or by email: 
Brenda.Edwards@ee.doe.gov.
    DOE considers public participation to be a very important part of 
the process for amending energy conservation standards. DOE actively 
encourages the participation and interaction of the public during the 
comment period in 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 April 26, 2013.
Kathleen B. Hogan,
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, Energy Efficiency and 
Renewable Energy.
[FR Doc. 2013-10388 Filed 5-1-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P