Commercial walk-in freezers are the latest pieces of equipment to gain a consensus agreement on federal energy-efficiency standards.

Commercial refrigeration manufacturers and energy-efficiency advocacy groups have announced that they reached a consensus agreement on first-ever federal energy efficiency standards for commercial walk-in freezers. If enacted by Congress, it will begin affecting the design of new equipment in 2009, according to a statement from the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI), which joined with the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) in negotiating the agreement.

The accord is expected to be the final one for the setting of higher efficiency standards for a wide range of refrigeration equipment. The agreement covers coolers and freezers that have an enclosed, walk-in storage space of less than 3,000 square feet and that are refrigerated to temperatures above, at or below 32°F, respectively. The agreement excludes products that are designed and marketed exclusively for medical, scientific or research purposes.

In 2005, three similar agreements were signed covering a number of commercial products including large-packaged air conditioners and heat pumps, commercial ice makers, and commercial refrigerators, freezers, and refrigerator-freezers. Those agreements were included in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

“At this time, we do not contemplate any additional agreements related to commercial refrigeration,” said ARI President Stephen Yurek. “However, ARI and its members will continue to work with other interested parties to ensure that the timelines contained in the agreement for subsequent commercial refrigeration minimum efficiency standards are met by the Department of Energy.”

He noted, “This agreement has been included in the energy legislation passed by the House of Representatives prior to its August recess. The next step will be for the House and the Senate to conference their two different versions of energy legislation. Once enacted, the provisions of the agreement will be effective for products manufactured after Jan. 1, 2009.”

Much of the agreement is based on legislation already enacted in California. Yurek said, “The California Energy Commission’s Appliance Efficiency Regulations that address walk-ins was considered when negotiating this consensus agreement. Similar to California’s regulation for this equipment, ARI and ACEEE’s agreement does not set explicit energy consumption limits, but instead provides design guidelines for walk-ins per the effective date of the federal standard.”

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Publication date:09/03/2007