[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 245 (Wednesday, December 21, 2011)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 79135-79137]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-32620]

Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.


Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 245 / Wednesday, December 21, 2011 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 79135]]


10 CFR Part 430

[Docket No. EERE-2009-BT-TP-0004]
RIN 1904-AB94

Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products and Certain 
Commercial and Industrial Equipment: Test Procedures for Residential 
Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps

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

ACTION: Extension of public comment period.


SUMMARY: This document announces a reopening of the comment period for 
interested parties to submit comments on the October 24, 2011 
supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking for residential central air 
conditioner and heat test procedures. The comment period is extended 
until January 20, 2012.

DATES: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will accept comments, data, 
and information regarding the supplemental notice of proposed 
rulemaking for residential central air conditioner and heat test 
procedures received no later than January 20, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Any comments submitted must identify the Supplemental Notice 
of Proposed Rulemaking for Test Procedures for Residential Central Air 
Conditioners and Heat Pumps and provide docket number EERE-2009-BT-TP-
0004 and/or RIN number 1904-AB94. Comments may be submitted using any 
of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Email: [email protected]. Include docket number 
EERE-2009-BT-TP-0004 and/or RIN 1904-AB94 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. Please submit one signed original paper copy.
     Hand Delivery/Courier: Ms. Brenda Edwards, U.S. Department 
of Energy, Building Technologies Program, 950 L'Enfant Plaza SW., 6th 
Floor, Washington, DC 20024. Please submit one signed original paper 
    Docket: The docket is available for review at www.regulations.gov, 
including Federal Register notices, public meeting attendee 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;dct=FR%252BPR%252BN%252BO%252BSR;rpp=10;po=0;D=EERE-
2009-BT-TP-0004. This web page contains a link to the docket for this 
notice on the www.regulations.gov site. The www.regulations.gov web 
page contains simple instructions on how to access all documents, 
including public comments, in the docket.
    For further information on how to submit a public comment, review 
other public comments and the docket, contact Ms. Brenda Edwards at 
(202) 586-2945 or by email: [email protected].


Mr. Wes Anderson, 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) 586-7335. Email: [email protected].
Ms. Jennifer Tiedeman, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the General 
Counsel, GC-71, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-
0121. Telephone: (202) 287-6111. Email: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On October 24, 2011, the U.S. Department of 
Energy (DOE) published a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking 
(SNOPR) in the Federal Register (76 FR 65616) which proposed amendments 
to the laboratory test steps and calculation algorithm that would be 
used to determine off-mode power consumption for residential central 
air conditioners and heat pumps. Specifically, the SNOPR proposed to 
measure a system's off-mode power consumption at two temperatures, 82 
[deg]F and 57 [deg]F, and then average the two measurements to 
determine the system's off-mode rating. The SNOPR required that 
interested parties submit any written comments by November 23, 2011. In 
response to the SNOPR, the California State Investor Owned Utilities 
(CA IOUs), which is appended to this notice, expressed concern about a 
potential loophole regarding the 57 [deg]F test point in DOE's 
proposal. With the lower test point at 57 [deg]F, it is possible for a 
system to be controlled in such a manner that the crankcase heater is 
not on at either test point, but comes on just below 57 [deg]F. The 
result would be an underestimation of a system's energy consumption 
because the energy consumption of the crankcase heater would not be 
included in either measurement.
    Consequently, the CA IOUs recommended an alternative approach to 
the test procedure proposed in the SNOPR. According to this approach, 
manufacturers would be required to specify the temperatures at which a 
crankcase heater turns on and off, and then to run one off-mode test 3-
5 [deg]F below the point at which the crankcase heater turns on and the 
other off-mode test 3-5 [deg]F above the temperature at which the 
crankcase heater turns off. (CA IOUs, No. 33 at p. 2) American Council 
for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the Appliance Standards 
Awareness Project (ASAP), Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) 
and Northwest Power Conservation Council (NPCC) all supported this 
approach. (ACEEE & ASAP, No. 34 at p. 2; NEEA & NPCC, No. 35 at p. 3)
    DOE believes that this proposed approach is advantageous for 
multiple reasons. It will prevent the potential inaccuracies involved 
with requiring 57 [deg]F as the only test point in the DOE

[[Page 79136]]

procedure. If DOE requires just one temperature set point for all 
tested equipment, a potential exists that manufacturers may choose to 
change the temperature at which the crankcase heater turns on solely 
for testing purposes, resulting in an inaccurate power consumption 
measurement. Further, different crankcase heater manufacturers may 
employ different control strategies, which vary with temperature. The 
approach recommended by CA IOUs provides additional flexibility by 
allowing manufacturers to design controls schemes for the crankcase 
heaters at whatever temperature they feel is necessary to avoid damage 
to the compressor in cold outdoor temperatures.
    While this approach will not change the tested results in the 
SNOPR, it will help to reduce the complexity of test procedure because 
the crankcase heater will be on for one temperature test point and off 
for the other. Further, depending on the manufacturer's specified 
crankcase heater on and off temperatures, the testing burden may be 
reduced under this recommended test method as compared to the method 
proposed in the SNOPR. Consequently, DOE is strongly considering the 
adoption of this approach and specifically seeks comment on any aspect 
of this approach.
    In order to provide interested parties with adequate time to review 
and respond to this alternative test method as outlined by the CA IOUs 
in section 1 of their comment, DOE has determined that a re-opening of 
the public comment period is appropriate and has printed the CA IOUs 
comment concurrently with this notice in the Federal Register. DOE will 
consider any comments received on January 20, 2012, and deems any 
comments received between November 23, 2011 and January 20, 2012 to be 
timely submitted.

Further Information on Submitting Comments

    Under 10 CFR 1004.11, any person submitting information that he or 
she believes to be confidential and exempt by law from public 
disclosure should submit two copies: One copy of the document including 
all the information believed to be confidential, and one copy of the 
document with the information believed to be confidential deleted. DOE 
will make its own determination about the confidential status of the 
information and treat it according to its determination.
    Factors of interest to DOE when evaluating requests to treat 
submitted information as confidential include (1) A description of the 
items, (2) whether and why such items are customarily treated as 
confidential within the industry, (3) whether the information is 
generally known by or available from other sources, (4) whether the 
information has previously been made available to others without 
obligation concerning its confidentiality, (5) an explanation of the 
competitive injury to the submitting person which would result from 
public disclosure, (6) when such information might lose its 
confidential character due to the passage of time, and (7) why 
disclosure of the information would be contrary to the public interest.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on December 14, 2011.
Kathleen B. Hogan,
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, Energy Efficiency and 
Renewable Energy.

November 22, 2011

Ms. Brenda Edwards, EE-41, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable 
Energy, Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products, U.S. 
Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 

Docket Number: EERE-2009-BT-TP-0004
RIN: 1904-AB94

    Dear Ms. Edwards: This letter comprises the comments of the Pacific 
Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE) in 
response to the Department of Energy (DOE) Supplementary Notice of 
Proposed Rulemaking (SNOPR) for the Off Mode Test Procedure for 
Residential Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps.
    The signatories of this letter represent some of the largest 
utility companies in the Western United States, serving over 29 million 
customers. As energy companies, we understand the potential of 
appliance efficiency standards to cut costs and reduce consumption 
while maintaining or increasing consumer utility of the products. We 
have a responsibility to our customers to advocate for standards that 
accurately reflect the climate and conditions of our respective service 
areas, so as to maximize these positive effects.
    We acknowledge the difficulty faced by the Department to finalize 
test method procedures for Residential Central Air Conditioners and 
Heat Pumps given the lack of available data and engineering analysis 
applied to the development of these test methods. We are concerned that 
the test procedure revisions presented in this SNOPR would not 
encourage innovative design of the heating system in off-mode and are 
misleading to consumers since reported values are not indicative of 
actual off-mode energy use.
    Therefore, we ask DOE to postpone finalizing the test procedure so 
that more engineering analysis and data can be provided by the PG&E, 
SCE, the efficiency advocates, and other stakeholders to inform DOE on 
accurate updates to the test procedure.
    The current test procedures focus on wattage and simple work-
arounds to account for potentially more efficient designs, such as 
those with multiple compressors. We believe that the test procedure 
should calculate energy use, as opposed to power consumption associated 
with off-mode since the run time in off-mode for these units is 
substantial. It is possible that units with slightly more power 
consumption levels in off mode consume less overall energy since some 
of those controls serve to reduce run-time; design strategies like 
these are not only overlooked, but not encouraged with this type of 
measurement of off-mode power.
    Moreover, we believe that these test method procedures may be 
substantially improved upon with more data gathering and engineering 
analysis, supported by the CA IOUs, other energy efficiency advocates, 
ASHRAE, and AHRI. We suggest that DOE conduct market analysis to 
provide a better understanding across a range of products the 
temperature set points for which the crankcase heater turns on and off. 
We also suggest DOE collect actual test data using the test procedures 
on an array of products to understand anticipated outputs.
    If DOE plans to move forward with the proposal in the SNOPR, we 
urge DOE to consider the following recommendations:
    1) Manufacturers should report ambient air temperature points for 
which the crankcase heater is on and off, and use those points when 
calculating off-mode.
    We are concerned that manufacturers could game the test procedures 
for off-mode power consumption by designing crank case heaters that 
operate outside the assumed bound for the crank-case heater being on at 
an ambient air temperature of 57 degrees Fahrenheit (F). Moreover, we 
think the test procedure would be more accurate if manufacturers tested 
their products at the points at which the crankcase heater is certain 
to be on (P2) and off (P1). Thus we recommend that DOE require that 
manufacturers report these values, and then establish the test 
temperature to be 3-5 degrees F below the point at

[[Page 79137]]

which it turns on, and 3-5 degrees above the point at which it turns 
    2) Instead of applying a simple average to P1 & P2 to calculate 
off-mode power draw, DOE should apply a weighted average reflective of 
the amount of time the crankcase heater is on and off.
    We are concerned that a simple average of P1 & P2 could drastically 
under represent off-mode power draw. Using National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) \1\ data on temperature averages 
between 1971-2000 for 100 U.S. cities, we found that 54% of the tested 
sample had average annual temperatures below 57 degrees F for the 
months of January, April, and October, or simplifying the matter, 3 out 
of 4 seasons or 75% of the year. If we assume that the majority of 
these units are located in uncooled and unheated spaces then we may 
also assume that 75% of the time the unit will operate under P2 (on) 
conditions, and 25% of the time it will operate under P1 (off) 
conditions. We recommend that DOE adopt this weighted average or 
conduct further testing to determine how often a crankcase heater is on 
versus off at different ambient temperature ranges and apply national 
average temperatures across the seasons to determine an appropriate 
weighted average.

    \1\ http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0762183.html, Date Accessed: 

    3) DOE should not adjust the off-mode power draw for systems with 
multiple compressors or apply a scaling factor for extra-large systems 
since this would not represent actual off-mode power consumption.
    We strongly recommend against the use of a scaling factor for 
extra-large units and for systems with multiple compressors since this 
would under represent the actual power associated with off-mode. While 
we understand that DOE does not want to penalize units that may have 
more energy efficient designs, we do not think that it is appropriate 
to apply this work-around to the measurement of off-mode. The merits of 
the potentially increased efficiency during run-mode ought to be 
captured in the run-mode test method, and not in the off-mode 
calculation. Moreover, we are concerned that these changes will make it 
easy for almost any unit on the market to meet the standard, thereby 
negating the point of a standard in the first place. Finally, the test 
procedure should be designed to report the actual value of off-mode. 
These values should be evaluated in a future standards rulemaking.
    For these reasons, we strongly encourage DOE to revisit this test 
method with the help from stakeholders in the rulemaking to develop 
more appropriate test procedures. For instance, there has been 
discussion at utilities to conduct indepth testing of heat pumps and 
central air conditioning units in the coming months. We ask that DOE 
seriously consider postponing this final rule to assess stakeholder 
interest in improving the test method.
    In conclusion, we would like to reiterate our support to DOE for 
updating the test procedures for residential central air conditioners 
and heat pumps. We thank DOE for the opportunity to be involved in this 
process and encourage DOE to carefully consider the recommendations 
outlined in this letter.


Rajiv Dabir,
Manager, Customer Energy Solutions, Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

Ramin Faramarzi, PE,
Manager, Technology Test Centers, Southern California Edison, Design & 
Engineering Services.

[FR Doc. 2011-32620 Filed 12-20-11; 8:45 am]