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[Webinar Recap] Preparing for the DOE’s New WICF Energy-Efficiency Standards

Julie Havenar | Product Manager – Condensing Units
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

I recently conducted an E360 Webinar about the Department of Energy’s (DOE) new energy-efficiency standards on walk-in coolers and freezers (WICF). The webinar was presented to help industry stakeholders prepare for compliance by reviewing the ruling’s scope, definitions and potential industry impacts. View an archive of the webinar here and/or read a summary of its key takeaways below.

Ruling overview

On June 3, 2014, the DOE published its final rule on prescribed performance-based standards for WICFs, which specifically apply to the condensing units and unit coolers used in these systems. Then, on July 10, 2017, the DOE issued an update to the ruling and released its minimum efficiency test procedures, which they termed the annual walk-in efficiency factor (AWEF).

AWEF is a metric created by the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) designed to help manufacturers validate compliance. As defined by the AHRI 1250-2009 standard, AWEF minimum efficiency requirements for dedicated condensing units vary per capacity and application (e.g., indoor, outdoor).

Although the compliance date for medium-temperature, dedicated condensing system applications has been in place since 2017, the DOE has established the following enforcement dates for 2020:

  • 1: for medium-temperature WICF applications
  • July 10: for low-temperature WICF applications

Scope and definitions

The scope of the ruling pertains to enclosed WICFs that can be walked into and have a total chilled storage area of less than 3,000 square feet. In addition, the ruling applies only to those condensing units and unit coolers designed to provide one refrigerated load. Products designed and marketed exclusively for medical, scientific or research purposes are excluded from this ruling.

According to the DOE ruling, 32 °F is the point of differentiation between walk-in coolers and freezers. A walk-in cooler is defined as an enclosed storage space refrigerated to temperatures above 32 °F. A walk-in freezer is defined as an enclosed storage space refrigerated to temperatures at or below 32 °F.

The DOE WICF ruling applies to both new and retrofit refrigeration systems, including:

  • Condensing units that are assembled to construct a new WICF
  • Condensing units that are used to replace an existing, previously installed WICF component (retrofit)
  • Condensing units used within packaged systems

Important note: While this does mean that condensing units manufactured after the ruling’s enforcement dates must comply, it does not exclude wholesalers and contractors from using and stocking condensing units that were manufactured before the DOE enforcement dates.

Industry impacts

With the DOE enforcement dates quickly approaching, stakeholders throughout the commercial refrigeration industry need to understand the ruling’s potential impacts on their businesses. Of course, this starts with equipment manufacturers that must not only manufacture compliant products, but also demonstrate certification and compliance through the following: registration with the DOE’s Compliance Certification Management System (CCMS) database; proper disclosure in marketing materials; and permanent nameplate marking.

Impacts to other key stakeholders include:

  • Wholesalers — must be prepared for changing inventories and begin carrying only AWEF-compliant products if they are manufactured after the 2020 enforcement date
  • Contractors — must understand that if they replace a condensing unit with one manufactured after the DOE enforcement date, it must be an AWEF-compliant unit
  • Design consultantsmust be well-versed in the regulatory impacts to advise end users in the selection of energy-compliant, sustainable systems
  • End usersneed to consider selecting future-proof equipment that aligns with their long-term refrigeration strategies

Regardless of your specific role, Emerson offers additional training, resources and expertise to help you prepare for compliance and understand the impacts of the DOE’s WICF ruling. For more information, please view the webinar archive or download our DOE WICF ruling FAQ document.

 

[New E360 Webinar] Preparing for DOE Compliance on Walk-In Coolers and Freezers

Julie Havenar | Product Manager – Condensing Units
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

In 2020, the Department of Energy (DOE) will begin enforcing its new energy-efficiency standards on walk-in coolers and freezers (WICF). With the compliance deadline now on the horizon, the commercial refrigeration supply chain is taking a closer look at the ruling and preparing for its impacts. Our next E360 Webinar, on Thursday, Sept. 26 at 2 p.m. EDT/11 a.m. PDT, will shed light on the details of this rulemaking.

Improving the energy efficiency of refrigeration equipment is a goal shared by most stakeholders in the commercial refrigeration supply chain. But when specific energy reductions are mandated by DOE regulations on a commonly used class of equipment, then these goals take on a much greater sense of urgency. The DOE’s 2020 WICF mandate is no exception.

Generally speaking, the ruling will require 20–40 percent energy reductions in WICFs smaller than 3,000 square feet. But, like many regulations of this kind, when you start digging into the details, you’ll find that they’re complicated and often difficult to interpret.

In our next E360 Webinar, I’ll provide a detailed overview of the DOE’s WICF ruling and discuss how it can impact you — regardless of whether you’re an equipment manufacturer, contractor, end user, design consultant or wholesaler. So, if you’re unsure about how to prepare for compliance or just curious how the ruling may impact you, then be sure to join me on Thursday, Sept. 26 at 2 p.m. EDT/11 a.m. PDT for this informative webinar. Attendees will learn:

  • The full scope of the WICF rulemaking
  • Definitions of key terms, concepts and language used
  • Final enforcement dates per equipment category
  • Examples of WICF system configurations
  • Required efficiency levels per the Annual Walk-in Efficiency Factor (AWEF) metric
  • Impacts to various stakeholders throughout the supply chain
  • How to verify and ensure compliance

As with all E360 Webinars, we will allocate time after the presentation for a question and answer session. To make sure we’re able to address your specific questions, this session will be supported by additional Emerson experts on the DOE WICF regulation, including: Roxanne Scott, senior lead project engineer; and Brian Buynacek, senior consultant. So, register now for this informative webinar and let us help you prepare for the DOE WICF compliance deadline.

 

Understanding the DOE Mandate on Walk-In Coolers and Freezers

Julie Havenar | Product Manager – Condensing Units
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Enforcement of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) energy efficiency standards on walk-in cooler and freezer refrigeration equipment will take place in 2020. While the rulemaking directly impacts original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), it will also affect stakeholders throughout the commercial refrigeration supply chain. This blog summarizes the contents of a new E360 article focused on the DOE’s WICF mandate. You can read the full article here.

Understanding the DOE Mandate on Walk-In Coolers and Freezers

The commercial refrigeration industry is no stranger to energy efficiency mandates. Since 2017, OEMs of new stand-alone, reach-in equipment have been required to comply with the DOE’s standards in this specific equipment class. As 2020 quickly approaches, the DOE’s mandate will take aim at walk-in coolers and freezers (WICFs) — requiring 20–40 percent energy reductions in WICFs smaller than 3,000 square feet that are manufactured after the following enforcement dates:

  • 1, 2020, for WICFs with medium-temperature dedicated condensing systems
  • July 10, 2020, for WICFs with low-temperature dedicated condensing systems

For those keeping tabs on this dynamic regulatory climate, these deadlines have been in effect since June 5, 2017. But with final enforcement dates quickly approaching, many OEMs are now eying these deadlines with new urgency and making the necessary design changes needed to comply.

Impacts to WICF condensing units and components
The DOE’s WICF ruling directly applies to anyone manufacturing, producing, assembling or importing to certify WICF components. From a refrigeration system standpoint, compliant components refer to dedicated and packaged condensing units (indoor and outdoor) used in both new and retrofit applications, including:

  • Condensing units that are assembled to construct a new WICF
  • Condensing units used to replace an existing, previously installed WICF component (retrofit)
  • Condensing units used within packaged systems.

Other than the condensing units, unit coolers (evaporators), doors, panels and lighting are also within the jurisdiction of the DOE’s WICF ruling.

While impacted parties must meet the applicable standards based on the date of manufacture, contractors and wholesalers can still use and stock condensing units that were manufactured before the DOE enforcement dates. However, condensing units manufactured after the enforcement dates must meet the DOE compliance standards.

Meeting the AWEF standard
The DOE uses a metric established by the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) to evaluate the energy efficiency of a complete WICF system. As defined by AHRI, the Annual Walk-In Energy Factor (AWEF) calculation is based on “a ratio of the total heat, not including the heat generated by the operation of refrigeration systems, removed, in Btu, from a walk-in box during a one-year period of usage for refrigeration to the total energy input of refrigeration systems, in watt-hours, during the same period”.

The DOE has defined several WICF equipment classes below the 3,000 square foot limit that must meet or exceed the minimum AWEF ratings based on capacity and application (e.g., medium- or low-temperature, indoor or outdoor). Condensing unit manufacturers and WICF OEMs must follow approved AWEF testing and certification procedures to comply.

How Emerson is helping OEMs
As a manufacturer of condensing units for a wide range of commercial refrigeration applications, we are working to certify our WICF condensing according to the DOE’s minimum AWEF requirements. For WICF OEMs, these certified condensing units will help you achieve compliance in one of your primary refrigeration system components. Simply combine an Emerson AWEF-rated condensing unit with an AWEF-rated unit cooler in order to achieve compliance in a dedicated system.

Emerson also offers AWEF testing and certification services to OEMs through our Design Services Network (DSN). Not only are we helping OEMs to verify AWEF compliance, we’re also helping them to address refrigerant regulations — combining product development efforts into a single design cycle.

If you’re a WICF OEM that’s not sure how to comply with the DOE mandate, Emerson can help guide you through this transition in multiple ways. We will publish our condensing unit compliance data as the enforcement deadlines approach.

 

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