Government officials have OK’d an agreement between refrigeration and HVAC market equipment makers and environmental groups to set new efficiency requirements for walk-in freezers.

The agreement, which was accepted by the government’s Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee, will be submitted to the Energy Department for approval and implementation. It will save 80 billion kilowatt hours of energy over three decades, representing the electricity use of 7 million homes, the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute said. The AHRI represents most of the major manufacturers of HVAC sales and refrigeration equipment used in HVAC construction.

"AHRI is pleased to see that, once again, a negotiated rule-making process has proven to be a successful avenue for developing a rule that is both realistic and achievable, while setting the stage for significant energy savings," said AHRI President and CEO Stephen Yurek. "We are hopeful that the Department of Energy will soon adopt this agreement as a rule for these products.”

Kit Kennedy, director of the National Resources Defense Council’s energy and transportation program, also praised the agreement.

"The success of this negotiated rule-making means not only lower energy costs for the thousands of commercial businesses that use walk-in coolers and freezers, but also a substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, which is just the action we need after the historic climate accord in Paris," Kennedy said. "This type of collaboration between industry representatives and efficiency advocates results in an outcome that benefits businesses, manufacturers, and the environment."