Refrigeration / Freezers & Coolers

EPA Tightens Energy Star Standards

New Specifications Take Effect Oct. 1

Energy Star logoThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published what it described as “The Final Draft Version 3.0” which deals with product specifications for Energy Star-qualified commercial refrigerators and freezers.

The standards will take effect Oct. 1, 2014.

In a Dec. 13, 2013 statement, the EPA said, “Commercial refrigerators and freezers that meet these new criteria will provide significant savings to purchasers. If all commercial refrigerators and freezers in the United States met the new Energy Star specification, the savings in energy costs would grow to more than $360 million each year.”

The statement went on to say that “commercial refrigerators and freezers that earn the label will use, on average, between 40 and 65 percent and 40 and 86 percent less energy than standard models respectively, depending on the equipment class and volume.”

According to a statement from Emerson Climate Technologies, “Roughly half of the reach-ins currently listed as Energy Star-approved will drop off the list, unless efficiency improvements are made. Many units need a 10-20 percent efficiency improvement.”

Test Procedures

As part of the process the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has what it called an open Test Procedure Rulemaking for Commercial Refrigeration Equipment. Once the test procedure is finalized and published, EPA will amend the final version 3.0 specification with the updated test method references and any definition changes.

According to the EPA, manufacturers may now elect to have current products certified to the new standards. Otherwise they can continue to be certified under existing version 2.1 specifications until May 15. Then as of Oct. 1, according to the EPA, “Any product manufactured and labeled as Energy Star must meet Version 3.0 requirements. At this time, all certifications of products to the version 2.1 specification will be invalid for purposes of Energy Star qualification.”

Even Stricter Standards To Come

Meanwhile, Emerson, in its comments on the new standard, also noted that the DOE has “proposed very stringent standards for commercial refrigeration equipment which would go into effect in 2017. Units would have to meet these new requirements to legally be sold in the U.S.A. As of right now, the proposed DOE minimum efficiency levels for many classes of reach-ins are actually more stringent than the new Energy Star levels.

The new standards may be viewed here.

Publication date: 1/27/2014

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