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DOE Finally Advances Some Commercial Appliances Standards

Linda Hardesty

commercial freezerIn President Obama’s Climate Action Plan announced in June, he indicated his administration would seek stronger energy efficiency standards for some appliances, and now the Department of Energy has issued two new proposed energy-saving standards for commercial refrigeration equipment, covering commercial refrigerators and freezers and walk-in coolers and freezers.

Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Heather Zichal said in a DOE blog that the proposed rule for commercial refrigeration equipment could, if adopted as final, cut energy bills by up to $4 billion over 30 years, and the proposed rule for walk-in coolers and freezers could cut energy bills by up to $24 billion over 30 years.

Commercial refrigeration equipment, including the equipment covered by the two proposed standards, consumes about 110 billion kWh per year, according to an ACEEE blog.

The ACEEE earlier this year strongly criticized the government for its lengthy delays to move forward with energy efficiency standards. The two proposed rules for commercial refrigeration equipment were each under review by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget for more than 18 months, even though the OMB is supposed to move these things along within 90 days.

The ACEEE blog, citing DOE, estimates that a typical refrigerated display case meeting current standards uses about 17,000 kWh per year. The proposed standards would reduce that by more than 25 percent.

The new standards for commercial refrigerators and freezers can be met by employing a number of measures, says ACEEE, including:

  • higher-efficiency compressors, fan motors, and fan blades;
  • better heat exchangers and insulation;
  • LED lighting;
  • occupancy sensors that turn off lights in a display case when a store is closed or during periods of low customer traffic.

The final standard for commercial refrigerators and freezers should be released in February 2014, and the final standard for walk-ins is due in April 2014.



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