Manufacturers Respond to DOE Noncompliance Action

On June 3, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued a notice of noncompliance for three manufacturers of evaporative coils: Summit Manufacturing, Aspen Manufacturing, and Advanced Distributor Products (ADP). In response, all three companies stated that there were errors in the data used by DOE to evaluate their compliance with federal energy conservation standards, and that they did not distribute any noncompliant models to consumers.

According to DOE’s press release, the department determined that 61 heat pump models and 1 air conditioner model manufactured by Summit, Aspen, and ADP did not comply with federal energy conservation standards. DOE determined that these models were noncompliant based on certification information submitted by the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) on behalf of the manufacturers. But the manufacturers responded that some of the information in the AHRI database was entered incorrectly by the companies, which made it appear that they were selling noncompliant units.

As part of its action, DOE ordered the manufacturers to stop selling the cited units, and to notify all of their customers that had been sold those units. Currently, the manufacturers are in the process of confirming that they did not distribute any noncompliant models to customers and communicating with DOE to clarify their compliance with federal energy standards.

Steve Yurek, president and CEO of AHRI, said, “We are disappointed that despite our continuous efforts, the Department of Energy continues to issue notices of noncompliance to manufacturers for alleged violations of federal minimum efficiency standards when a simple inquiry would clarify the issues.”

According to Terry Small, CEO of Summit Manufacturing, the combination cited by DOE as noncompliant is not a model sold by his company. The DOE release stated that one air conditioning heat pump model manufactured by Summit failed the energy use standards by about 16 percent. “It was a data input error that resulted in a nonsensical combination,” Small said. “As a data input error, it was not a valid model and thus has no effect on our customers.” He noted that his company is in communication with DOE, and he hopes to straighten everything out.

DOE also cited Aspen Manufacturing for 58 air conditioning heat pump models and one air conditioner model that failed to meet federal energy efficiency standards. According to David Piccione, president of Aspen, his company is an independent manufacturer of evaporator coils and air handlers and does not sell or distribute the outdoor section of any heat pump or air conditioner.

“Aspen inadvertently listed certain combinations of its coils matched with the outdoor units of other OEMs in AHRI’s database, which indicated that the combinations did not meet federal energy efficiency standards,” Piccione said.

He stated that the erroneous listings were all deleted as of March 17, 2010, and that his company does not believe any of those 58 heat pump combinations were actually sold or installed. “Aspen is working with its distributors and DOE to determine if this is correct. Aspen will take necessary action, if any is required, based on the results of this investigation, in coordination with DOE,” he said. And, Piccione noted, “The air conditioner model combination listed did meet federal standards, but was listed with an erroneous rating due to a data input error.”

DOE also stated that two heat pump models manufactured by ADP failed to meet the standard. ADP responded with a statement that its two heat pumps were, in fact, compliant, but that a data entry error had made it appear that units were noncompliant.

According to Howard Schmidt, vice president and general manager, “ADP currently has over 86,000 active energy conservation standards listings. Through a database entry error, ADP incorrectly listed these two heat pumps (both inactive R-22 units) referenced by the DOE as noncompliant. The errors have been corrected and, in fact, both units were compliant.” He added, “ADP fully stands behind the integrity of its certification and rating process.”

Joe Mattingly, general counsel for AHRI, confirmed that the manufacturers’ errors in data entry did not result in sales of noncompliant models. “It appears no noncompliant models were actually distributed in commerce,” he said. He added that AHRI plans to continue aiding manufacturers to comply with DOE regulations and reporting standards with a goal of “minimal to no errors.”

AHRI and all three manufacturers intend to continue cooperating and communicating with DOE to resolve concerns about noncompliance. Yurek said, “AHRI continues to work with DOE on behalf of our member companies to ensure accurate and timely compliance with federal appliance efficiency standard reporting requirements.”

Publication date: 07/05/2010

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