Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards for Consumer Refrigerators, Refrigerator-Freezers, and Freezers, 62470-62482 [2019-24820]

Download as PDF 62470 Proposed Rules Federal Register Vol. 84, No. 221 Friday, November 15, 2019 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY 10 CFR Part 430 [EERE–2017–BT–STD–0003] Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards for Consumer Refrigerators, Refrigerator-Freezers, and Freezers Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of Energy. ACTION: Request for information. AGENCY: The U.S. Department of Energy (‘‘DOE’’) is initiating an effort to determine whether to amend the current energy conservation standards for consumer refrigerators, refrigeratorfreezers, and freezers. Under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, as amended, DOE must review these standards at least once every six years and publish either a notice of proposed rulemaking (‘‘NOPR’’) to propose new standards for consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers or a notice of determination that the existing standards do not need to be amended. This request for information (‘‘RFI’’) solicits information from the public to help DOE determine whether amended standards for consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers would result in a significant amount of additional energy savings and whether those standards would be technologically feasible and economically justified. DOE welcomes written comments from the public on any subject within the scope of this document (including topics not raised in this RFI). DATES: Written comments and information are requested and will be accepted on or before December 30, 2019. ADDRESSES: Interested persons are encouraged to submit comments using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Alternatively, interested persons may SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:31 Nov 14, 2019 Jkt 250001 submit comments, identified by docket number EERE–2017–BT–STD–0003, by any of the following methods: 1. Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. 2. Email: ConsumerRefrigFreezer 2017STD0003@ee.doe.gov. Include the docket number EERE–2017–BT–STD– 0003 in the subject line of the message. 3. Postal Mail: Appliance and Equipment Standards Program, U.S. Department of Energy, Building Technologies Office, Mailstop EE–5B, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20585–0121. Telephone: (202) 287–1445. If possible, please submit all items on a compact disc (‘‘CD’’), in which case it is not necessary to include printed copies. 4. Hand Delivery/Courier: Appliance and Equipment Standards Program, U.S. Department of Energy, Building Technologies Office, 950 L’Enfant Plaza SW, 6th Floor, Washington, DC 20024. Telephone: (202) 287–1445. If possible, please submit all items on a CD, in which case it is not necessary to include printed copies. No telefacsimilies (faxes) will be accepted. For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional information on this process, see section III of this document. Docket: The docket for this activity, which includes Federal Register notices, comments, and other supporting documents/materials, is available for review at http:// www.regulations.gov. All documents in the docket are listed in the http:// www.regulations.gov index. However, some documents listed in the index, such as those containing information that is exempt from public disclosure, may not be publicly available. The docket web page can be found at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docket Detail;D=EERE-2017-BT-TP-0003. The docket web page contains instructions on how to access all documents, including public comments in the docket. See section III for information on how to submit comments through http://www.regulations.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Stephanie Johnson, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Building Technologies Office, EE–5B, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20585–0121. PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Telephone: (202) 287–1943. Email: ApplianceStandardsQuestions@ ee.doe.gov. Mr. Pete Cochran, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the General Counsel, GC–33, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20585–0121. Telephone: (202) 586–9496. Email: Peter.Cochran@hq.doe.gov. For further information on how to submit a comment, review other public comments and the docket, contact the Appliance and Equipment Standards Program staff at (202) 287–1445 or by email: ApplianceStandardsQuestions@ ee.doe.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Contents I. Introduction A. Authority and Background B. Rulemaking Process II. Request for Information and Comments A. Products Covered by This Rulemaking B. Market and Technology Assessment 1. Product/Equipment Classes 2. Technology Assessment C. Screening Analysis D. Engineering Analysis 1. Baseline Efficiency Levels 2. Maximum Available and Maximum Technology Levels 3. Manufacturer Production Costs and Manufacturing Selling Price E. Distribution Channels F. Energy Use Analysis 1. Usage Adjustment Factor 2. Connected Refrigerators, RefrigeratorFreezers, and Freezers G. Repair and Maintenance Costs H. Shipments I. Manufacturer Impact Analysis J. Other Energy Conservation Standards Topics 1. Market Failures 2. Other III. Submission of Comments I. Introduction A. Authority and Background The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, as amended (‘‘EPCA’’),1 among other things, authorizes DOE to regulate the energy efficiency of a number of consumer products and certain industrial equipment. (42 U.S.C. 6291–6317) Title III, Part B 2 of EPCA established the Energy Conservation 1 All references to EPCA in this document refer to the statute as amended through America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, Public Law 115–270 (Oct. 23, 2018). 2 For editorial reasons, upon codification in the U.S. Code, Part B was redesignated Part A. E:\FR\FM\15NOP1.SGM 15NOP1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 221 / Friday, November 15, 2019 / Proposed Rules Program for Consumer Products Other Than Automobiles. These products include consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers, the subject of this document. (42 U.S.C. 6292(a)(1)) EPCA prescribed energy conservation standards for these products (42 U.S.C. 6295(b)(1)–(2)), and directed DOE to conduct three cycles of rulemakings to determine whether to amend these standards. (42 U.S.C. 6295(b)(3)(A)(i), (b)(3)(B)–(C), and (b)(4)) Under EPCA, DOE’s energy conservation program consists essentially of four parts: (1) Testing, (2) labeling, (3) Federal energy conservation standards, and (4) certification and enforcement procedures. Relevant provisions of EPCA specifically include definitions (42 U.S.C. 6291), test procedures (42 U.S.C. 6293), labeling provisions (42 U.S.C. 6294), energy conservation standards (42 U.S.C. 6295), and the authority to require information and reports from manufacturers (42 U.S.C. 6296). Federal energy efficiency requirements for covered products established under EPCA generally supersede State laws and regulations concerning energy conservation testing, labeling, and standards. (42 U.S.C. 6297(a)–(c)) DOE may, however, grant waivers of Federal preemption in limited instances for particular State laws or regulations, in accordance with the procedures and other provisions set forth under 42 U.S.C. 6297(d). DOE completed the first of these rulemaking cycles in 1989 and 1990 by adopting amended performance standards for consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers manufactured on or after January 1, 1993. 54 FR 47916 (Nov. 17, 1989) (setting amended standards to apply starting on January 1, 1993); 55 FR 42845 (Oct. 24, 1990) (making certain corrections to the 1993 standards). DOE completed a second rulemaking cycle to amend the standards for consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers by issuing a final rule in 1997. 62 FR 23102 (Apr. 28, 1997). Most recently, DOE completed a third rulemaking cycle to amend the standards for consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers by publishing a final rule in 2011 (‘‘September 2011 Final Rule’’). 76 FR 57516 (Sep. 15, 2011). The current energy conservation standards are located in title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (‘‘CFR’’) part 430, section 32(a). The currently applicable DOE test procedures for consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers appear at 10 CFR part 430, subpart B, appendices A and B (‘‘Appendix A’’ and ‘‘Appendix B’’). EPCA also requires that, not later than 6 years after the issuance of any final rule establishing or amending a standard, DOE evaluate the energy conservation standards for each type of covered product, including those at issue here, and publish either a notice of determination that the standards do not need to be amended, or a NOPR including new proposed energy conservation standards (proceeding to a final rule, as appropriate). (42 U.S.C. 6295(m)(1)) EPCA further provides that, not later than 3 years after the issuance of a final determination not to amend standards, DOE must publish either a notice of determination that standards for the product do not need to be amended, or a NOPR including new proposed energy conservation standards (proceeding to a final rule, as appropriate). (42 U.S.C. 6295(m)(3)(B)) DOE must make the analysis on which the determination is based publicly available and provide an opportunity for written comment. (42 U.S.C. 6295(m)(2)) In making a determination, DOE must evaluate whether more stringent standards would: (1) Yield a significant savings in energy use and (2) be both technologically feasible and economically justified. (42 U.S.C. 6295(m)(1)(A)) DOE is publishing this RFI to collect data and information to inform its decision consistent with its obligations under EPCA. B. Rulemaking Process DOE must follow specific statutory criteria for prescribing new or amended standards for covered products. EPCA requires that any new or amended energy conservation standard be designed to achieve the maximum improvement in energy or water efficiency that is technologically feasible and economically justified. (42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(2)(A)) EPCA also precludes DOE from adopting any standard that would not result in the significant conservation of energy. (42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(3)(B)) To determine whether a standard is economically justified, EPCA requires that DOE determine whether the benefits of the standard exceed its burdens by considering, to the greatest extent practicable, the following seven factors: (1) The economic impact of the standard on the manufacturers and consumers of the affected products; (2) The savings in operating costs throughout the estimated average life of the product compared to any increases in the initial cost, or maintenance expenses; (3) The total projected amount of energy and water (if applicable) savings likely to result directly from the standard; (4) Any lessening of the utility or the performance of the products likely to result from the standard; (5) The impact of any lessening of competition, as determined in writing by the Attorney General, that is likely to result from the standard; (6) The need for national energy and water conservation; and (7) Other factors the Secretary of Energy (Secretary) considers relevant. (42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(2)(B)(i)(I)–(VII)) DOE fulfills these and other applicable requirements by conducting a series of analyses throughout the rulemaking process. Table I.1 shows the individual analyses that are performed to satisfy each of the requirements within EPCA. TABLE I.1—EPCA REQUIREMENTS AND CORRESPONDING DOE ANALYSIS EPCA requirement Corresponding DOE analysis Significant Energy Savings .................................................................................... Technological Feasibility ........................................................................................ Economic Justification: 1. Economic impact on manufacturers and consumers ........................................ VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:31 Nov 14, 2019 Jkt 250001 PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4702 • • • • • • Shipments Analysis. National Impact Analysis. Energy and Water Use Determination. Market and Technology Assessment. Screening Analysis. Engineering Analysis. • • • • Manufacturer Impact Analysis. Life-Cycle Cost and Payback Period Analysis. Life-Cycle Cost Subgroup Analysis. Shipments Analysis. Sfmt 4702 62471 E:\FR\FM\15NOP1.SGM 15NOP1 62472 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 221 / Friday, November 15, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE I.1—EPCA REQUIREMENTS AND CORRESPONDING DOE ANALYSIS—Continued EPCA requirement Corresponding DOE analysis 2. Lifetime operating cost savings compared to increased cost for the product. 3. Total projected energy savings .......................................................................... 4. Impact on utility or performance ........................................................................ 5. Impact of any lessening of competition ............................................................. 6. Need for national energy and water conservation ............................................ 7. Other factors the Secretary considers relevant ................................................. As detailed throughout this RFI, DOE is publishing this document seeking input and data from interested parties to aid in the development of the technical analyses on which DOE will ultimately rely to determine whether (and if so, how) to amend the standards for consumer refrigerators, refrigeratorfreezers, and freezers. II. Request for Information and Comments The following sections identify a variety of issues on which DOE seeks input to aid its development of the technical and economic analyses regarding whether amended energy conservation standards for consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers may be warranted. DOE also welcomes comments on other issues relevant to this data-gathering process that may not specifically be identified in this document. A. Products Covered by This Rulemaking This RFI covers those products that meet the definitions for refrigerator, refrigerator-freezer, or freezer, as codified in 10 CFR 430.2. The definitions for refrigerators, refrigeratorfreezers, and freezers were most recently amended in a test procedure final rule in a separate rulemaking addressing ‘‘miscellaneous refrigeration products’’ 3 (MREFs), in which DOE removed 3 ‘‘Miscellaneous refrigeration product’’ means a consumer refrigeration product other than a refrigerator, refrigerator-freezer, or freezer, which includes coolers and combination cooler refrigeration products. 10 CFR 430.2. ‘‘Cooler’’ means a cabinet, used with one or more doors, that has a source of refrigeration capable of operating on single-phase, alternating current and is capable of maintaining compartment temperatures either no lower than 39 °F (3.9 °C) or in a range that extends no lower than 37 °F (2.8 °C) but at least as high as 60 °F (15.6 °C). Id. ‘‘Combination cooler refrigeration product’’ means any cooler-refrigerator, coolerrefrigerator-freezer, or cooler-freezer. Id. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:31 Nov 14, 2019 Jkt 250001 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Markups for Product Price Determination. Energy and Water Use Determination. Life-Cycle Cost and Payback Period Analysis. Shipments Analysis. National Impact Analysis. Screening Analysis. Engineering Analysis. Manufacturer Impact Analysis. Shipments Analysis. National Impact Analysis. Emissions Analysis. Utility Impact Analysis. Employment Impact Analysis. Monetization of Emission Reductions Benefits. Regulatory Impact Analysis. reference to food storage, clarified under what conditions the products must be able to maintain compartment temperatures, and excluded products designed to be used without doors, that do not include a compressor and condenser integral to the cabinet assembly, or that would be classified as an MREF. 81 FR 46768 (July 18, 2016). Specifically, as codified, ‘‘refrigerator’’ means a cabinet, used with one or more doors, that has a source of refrigeration that requires single-phase, alternating current electric energy input only and is capable of maintaining compartment temperatures above 32 degrees Fahrenheit (°F) (0 degrees Celsius (°C)) and below 39 °F (3.9 °C). A refrigerator may include a compartment capable of maintaining compartment temperatures below 32 °F (0 °C), but does not provide a separate low temperature compartment capable of maintaining compartment temperatures below 8 °F (¥13.3 °C). A refrigerator does not include: any product that does not include a compressor and condenser unit as an integral part of the cabinet assembly, coolers, or any product that must comply with an applicable miscellaneous refrigeration product energy conservation standard. 10 CFR 430.2. ‘‘Refrigerator-freezer’’ means a cabinet, used with one or more doors, that has a source of refrigeration that requires single-phase, alternating current electric energy input only and consists of two or more compartments where at least one of the compartments is capable of maintaining compartment temperatures above 32 °F (0 °C) and below 39 °F (3.9 °C), and at least one other compartment is capable of maintaining compartment temperatures of 8 °F (¥13.3 °C) and may be adjusted by the user to a temperature of 0 °F (¥17.8 °C) or below. A refrigerator- PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 freezer does not include: any product that does not include a compressor and condenser unit as an integral part of the cabinet assembly, or any product that must comply with an applicable miscellaneous refrigeration product energy conservation standard. Id. ‘‘Freezer’’ means a cabinet, used with one or more doors, that has a source of refrigeration that requires single-phase, alternating current electric energy input only and is capable of maintaining compartment temperatures of 0 °F (¥17.8 °C) or below. A freezer does not include: Any refrigerated cabinet that consists solely of an automatic ice maker and an ice storage bin arranged so that operation of the automatic icemaker fills the bin to its capacity, any product that does not include a compressor and condenser unit as an integral part of the cabinet assembly, or any product that must comply with an applicable miscellaneous refrigeration product energy conservation standard. Id. DOE’s regulations at 10 CFR 430.2 also define sub-categories of refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers, including compact 4 and builtin 5 product configurations. 4 Compact refrigerator/refrigerator-freezer/freezer means any refrigerator, refrigerator-freezer or freezer with a total refrigerated volume of less than 7.75 cubic feet (220 liters). (Total refrigerated volume shall be determined using the applicable test procedure appendix prescribed in 10 CFR part 430 subpart B.) Id. 5 Built-in refrigerator/refrigerator-freezer/freezer means any refrigerator, refrigerator-freezer or freezer with 7.75 cubic feet or greater total volume and 24 inches or less depth not including doors, handles, and custom front panels; with sides which are not finished and not designed to be visible after installation; and that is designed, intended, and marketed exclusively (1) To be installed totally encased by cabinetry or panels that are attached during installation, (2) to be securely fastened to adjacent cabinetry, walls or floor, and (3) to either be equipped with an integral factory-finished face or accept a custom front panel. Id. E:\FR\FM\15NOP1.SGM 15NOP1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 221 / Friday, November 15, 2019 / Proposed Rules Issue A.1 DOE requests comment on whether the definitions for refrigerator, refrigerator-freezer, and freezer require any revisions—and if so, how those definitions should be revised. DOE also requests feedback on whether the subcategory definitions currently in place are appropriate or whether further modifications are needed. If these subcategory definitions need modifying, DOE seeks specific input on how to define these terms. Issue A.2 DOE requests comment on whether additional product definitions are necessary to close any potential gaps in coverage between product types. For example, should the definitions be modified to better account for products that maintain compartment temperatures above 0 °F or 8 °F but less than 32 °F (i.e., between the freezer and refrigerator temperature ranges). DOE also seeks input on whether such products currently exist in the market or whether they are being planned for introduction. DOE also requests comment on opportunities to combine product classes that could reduce regulatory burden. B. Market and Technology Assessment The market and technology assessment that DOE routinely conducts when analyzing the impacts of a potential new or amended energy conservation standard provides information about the consumer refrigerator, refrigerator-freezer, and freezer industries that will be used in DOE’s analysis throughout the rulemaking process. DOE uses qualitative and quantitative information to characterize the structure of the industry and market. DOE identifies manufacturers, estimates market shares and trends, addresses regulatory and non-regulatory initiatives intended to improve energy efficiency or reduce energy consumption, and explores the potential for efficiency improvements in the design and manufacturing of consumer refrigerators, refrigeratorfreezers, and freezers. DOE also reviews product literature, industry publications, and company websites. Additionally, DOE considers conducting interviews with manufacturers to improve its assessment of the market and available technologies for consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers. 1. Product/Equipment Classes When evaluating and establishing energy conservation standards, DOE may divide covered products into product classes by the type of energy used, or by capacity or other performance-related features that justify a different standard. (42 U.S.C. 6295(q)) 62473 In making a determination whether capacity or another performance-related feature justifies a different standard, DOE must consider such factors as the utility of the feature to the consumer and other factors DOE deems appropriate. Id. For consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers, the current energy conservation standards specified in 10 CFR 430.32(a) are based on 42 product classes determined according to the following performancerelated features that provide utility to the consumer, in terms of the type and quantity of items that may be stored, method of access to these items, availability of automatically made ice, defrost requirements, and locations where the product may be installed: Type of unit (refrigerator, refrigeratorfreezer, or freezer), total refrigerated volume (standard or compact), defrost system (manual, partial automatic, or automatic), presence of through-thedoor (‘‘TTD’’) ice service, presence of an automatic icemaker, intended installation (i.e., built-in or freestanding), and configuration of compartments and doors. Table II.1 lists the current 42 product classes for consumer refrigerators, refrigeratorfreezers, and freezers. TABLE II.1—CURRENT CONSUMER REFRIGERATOR, REFRIGERATOR-FREEZER, AND FREEZER PRODUCT CLASSES Product class 1 ...................... 1A ................... 2 ...................... 3 ...................... 3–BI ................ 3I ..................... 3I–BI ............... 3A ................... 3A–BI .............. 4 ...................... 4–BI ................ 4I ..................... 4I–BI ............... 5 ...................... 5–BI ................ 5I ..................... 5I–BI ............... 5A ................... 5A–BI .............. 6 ...................... 7 ...................... 7–BI ................ 8 ...................... 9 ...................... 9I ..................... 9–BI ................ 9I–BI ............... VerDate Sep<11>2014 Refrigerator-freezers and refrigerators other than all-refrigerators with manual defrost. All-refrigerators—manual defrost. Refrigerator-freezers—partial automatic defrost. Refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with top-mounted freezer without an automatic icemaker. Built-in refrigerator-freezer—automatic defrost with top-mounted freezer without an automatic icemaker. Refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with top-mounted freezer with an automatic icemaker without through-the-door ice service. Built-in refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with top-mounted freezer with an automatic icemaker without through-the-door ice service. All-refrigerators—automatic defrost. Built-in all-refrigerators—automatic defrost. Refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with side-mounted freezer without an automatic icemaker. Built-in refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with side-mounted freezer without an automatic icemaker. Refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with side-mounted freezer with an automatic icemaker without through-the-door ice service. Built-in refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with side-mounted freezer with an automatic icemaker without through-the-door ice service. Refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with bottom-mounted freezer without an automatic icemaker. Built-in refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with bottom-mounted freezer without an automatic icemaker. Refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with bottom-mounted freezer with an automatic icemaker without through-the-door ice service. Built-in refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with bottom-mounted freezer with an automatic icemaker without through-thedoor ice service. Refrigerator-freezer—automatic defrost with bottom-mounted freezer with through-the-door ice service. Built-in refrigerator-freezer—automatic defrost with bottom-mounted freezer with through-the-door ice service. Refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with top-mounted freezer with through-the-door ice service. Refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with side-mounted freezer with through-the-door ice service. Built-in refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with side-mounted freezer with through-the-door ice service. Upright freezers with manual defrost. Upright freezers with automatic defrost without an automatic icemaker. Upright freezers with automatic defrost with an automatic icemaker. Built-in upright freezers with automatic defrost without an automatic icemaker. Built-in upright freezers with automatic defrost with an automatic icemaker. 16:31 Nov 14, 2019 Jkt 250001 PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\15NOP1.SGM 15NOP1 62474 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 221 / Friday, November 15, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE II.1—CURRENT CONSUMER REFRIGERATOR, REFRIGERATOR-FREEZER, AND FREEZER PRODUCT CLASSES— Continued Product class 10 .................... 10A ................. 11 .................... 11A ................. 12 .................... 13 .................... 13I ................... 13A ................. 14 .................... 14I ................... 15 .................... 15I ................... 16 .................... 17 .................... 18 .................... Chest freezers and all other freezers except compact freezers. Chest freezers with automatic defrost. Compact refrigerator-freezers and refrigerators other than all-refrigerators with manual defrost. Compact all-refrigerators—manual defrost. Compact refrigerator-freezers—partial automatic defrost. Compact refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with top-mounted freezer. Compact refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with top-mounted freezer with an automatic icemaker. Compact all-refrigerators—automatic defrost. Compact refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with side-mounted freezer. Compact refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with side-mounted freezer with an automatic icemaker. Compact refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with bottom-mounted freezer. Compact refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with bottom-mounted freezer with an automatic icemaker. Compact upright freezers with manual defrost. Compact upright freezers with automatic defrost. Compact chest freezers. For products with an automatic icemaker, DOE’s test procedures specify a constant energy-use adder of 84 kilowatt-hours per year (‘‘kWh/year’’), which represents the annual energy consumed by automatic icemakers in consumer refrigerators, refrigeratorfreezers, and freezers. With this constant adder, the standard levels for product classes with an automatic icemaker are equal to the standards of their counterparts without an icemaker plus the 84 kWh/year. Because the standards for the product classes with and without automatic icemakers are effectively the same, except for the constant adder, there may be an opportunity to merge product classes to limit the total number of overall product classes for consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers. The energy consumption associated with automatic icemaking could then be incorporated into product labeling rather than the energy conservation standard. In the most recent energy conservation standards rulemaking for consumer refrigerators, refrigeratorfreezers, and freezers, DOE considered combining certain product classes that include products with similar features and operation. Specifically, DOE sought feedback on combining product classes 1 and 2, and product classes 11 and 12. 75 FR 59470, 59493–59494 (Sep. 27, 2010). DOE received mixed feedback on this issue, with comments responding to the NOPR for that rulemaking generally favoring the continued separation of these product classes. As a result, DOE did not merge these product classes in the 2011 Final Rule. 76 FR 57516, 57536 (Sept. 15, 2011). VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:31 Nov 14, 2019 Jkt 250001 Issue B.1 DOE requests feedback on the current consumer refrigerator, refrigerator-freezer, and freezer product classes and whether changes to these individual product classes and their descriptions should be made or whether certain classes should be merged or separated (e.g., combining separate product classes equipped with and without automatic icemakers or combining certain classes, such as product classes 1 and 2, or product classes 11 and 12). DOE further requests feedback on whether combining certain classes could impact product utility by eliminating any performance-related features or impact the stringency of the current energy conservation standard for these products. DOE also requests comment on separating any of the existing product classes and whether it would impact product utility by eliminating any performance-related features or reduce any compliance burdens. DOE is also aware that new configurations and features are available for consumer refrigerators, refrigeratorfreezers, and freezers that may not have been available at the time of the last energy conservation standards analysis. Products with multiple compartments, some of which may be intended for storing certain types of food or beverages rather than general fresh food and freezer compartments, may have different energy performance compared to typical product setups. Additionally, product features such as accessible door storage and connected functions may affect product performance compared to those without such features. PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Issue B.2 DOE seeks information regarding any other new product classes it should consider for inclusion in its analysis. Specifically, DOE requests information on the performance-related features (e.g., connected functionality, door-in-door designs, display screens, etc.) that provide unique consumer utility and data detailing the corresponding impacts on energy use that would justify separate product classes (i.e., explanation for why the presence of these performance-related features would increase energy consumption). 2. Technology Assessment In analyzing the feasibility of potential new or amended energy conservation standards, DOE uses information about existing and past technology options and prototype designs to help identify technologies that manufacturers could use to meet and/or exceed a given set of energy conservation standards under consideration. In consultation with interested parties, DOE intends to develop a list of technologies to consider in its analysis. That analysis will likely include a number of the technology options DOE previously considered during its most recent rulemaking for consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers. A complete list of those prior options appears in Table II.2. As certain technologies have progressed since the 2011 Final Rule, Table II.3 lists newer technology options that DOE may also consider in a future consumer refrigerator, refrigerator-freezer, and freezer rulemaking. E:\FR\FM\15NOP1.SGM 15NOP1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 221 / Friday, November 15, 2019 / Proposed Rules 62475 TABLE II.2—PREVIOUSLY CONSIDERED TECHNOLOGY OPTIONS FOR CONSUMER REFRIGERATORS, REFRIGERATORFREEZERS, AND FREEZERS FROM THE 2011 FINAL RULE Insulation: Improved resistivity of insulation Increased insulation thickness Vacuum-insulated panels (VIPs) Gas-filled panels Gasket and Door Design: Improved gaskets Double door gaskets Improved door face frame Reduced heat load for TTD feature Anti-Sweat Heater: Condenser hot gas Electric heater sizing Electric heater controls Compressor: Improved compressor efficiency Variable-speed compressors Linear compressors Evaporator: Increased surface area Improved heat exchange Condenser: Increased surface area Improved heat exchange Forced-convection condenser Fans and Fan Motor: Evaporator fan and fan motor improvements Condenser fan and fan motor improvements Expansion Valve: Improved expansion valves Cycling Losses: Fluid control or solenoid valve Defrost System: Reduced energy for automatic defrost Adaptive defrost Condenser hot gas Control System: Temperature control Air-distribution control Other Technologies: Alternative refrigerants Component location Alternative Refrigeration Cycles/Systems: Lorenz-Meutzner cycle Dual-loop system Two-stage system Control valve system Ejector refrigerator Tandem system Stirling cycle * Thermoelectric * Thermoacoustic * * DOE’s definitions for refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers exclude products that do not include compressor and condenser units as an integral part of the cabinet assembly. 10 CFR 430.2. Therefore, because these options do not meet this requirement, DOE is not seeking information on these refrigeration technologies as part of this RFI. TABLE II.3—NEW TECHNOLOGY OPTIONS FOR CONSUMER REFRIGERATORS, REFRIGERATOR-FREEZERS, AND FREEZERS Insulation: Improved VIPs Improved blowing agents Compressor: Large compressors with phase change material Solid state thermal cooling technology Inert blowing fluid CO2 Issue B.3 DOE seeks information on the technologies listed in Table II.2 regarding their applicability to the current market and how these technologies may impact the efficiency of consumer refrigerators, refrigeratorfreezers, and freezers as measured according to the DOE test procedure. DOE also seeks information on how these technologies may have changed since they were considered in the 2011 Final Rule analysis. Specifically, DOE seeks information on the range of efficiencies or performance characteristics that are currently available for each technology option. Issue B.4 DOE seeks information on the technologies listed in Table II.3 regarding their market adoption, costs, and any concerns with incorporating them into products (e.g., impacts on consumer utility, potential safety concerns, manufacturing/production/ implementation issues, etc.). VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:31 Nov 14, 2019 Jkt 250001 Evaporator: Sequential dual evaporator Condenser: Heat-storage condenser with phase change materials Condensers with microchannel heat exchangers Other Technologies:. Alternative refrigerants—e.g., propane, isobutane Door-in-door design Issue B.5 DOE seeks information on the availability of improved insulation for consumer refrigerators, refrigeratorfreezers, and freezers, specifically on the use of polyurethane (‘‘PU’’) foam and VIPs. At the time of the 2011 Final Rule, vendors indicated that there was ongoing work with PU foam insulation that may lead to improvements in insulation performance. DOE seeks any information on the current and projected future status of improved PU foam insulation as a viable design option for the products at issue, and whether improved PU foam insulation has entered the market. During the 2011 Final Rule analysis, DOE noted that manufacturers had varying levels of success implementing VIPs into their products. DOE also seeks information on what advances, if any, the insulation and consumer refrigerator, refrigeratorfreezer, and freezer industries have made with respect to the incorporation of VIP technologies. PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Issue B.6 DOE seeks comment on other technology options that it should consider for inclusion in its analysis and if these technologies may impact product features or consumer utility. In October 2016, the 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol adopted the Kigali Amendment to reduce consumption and production of hydrofluorocarbons (‘‘HFCs’’). The Kigali Amendment entered into force on January 1, 2019, for those parties who have ratified the Amendment by that time.6 On December 1, 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (‘‘EPA’’) published a final rule in the Federal Register under its Significant New Alternatives Policy (‘‘SNAP’’) program that, amongst other things, changed the status from acceptable to unacceptable of certain HFC-based refrigerants (e.g., R–134a) commonly 6 https://ozone.unep.org/sites/default/files/201907/MP_Handbook_2019.pdf. E:\FR\FM\15NOP1.SGM 15NOP1 62476 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 221 / Friday, November 15, 2019 / Proposed Rules used in consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers as of January 1, 2021. 81 FR 86778. The validity of that approach, however, has been the subject of a legal challenge regarding EPA’s use of its SNAP authority to require manufacturers to replace HFCs with a substitute substance and the December 2016 SNAP rule was partially vacated by the court.7 On August 8, 2018, the EPA published a separate final rule under its SNAP program that modified the use conditions for three flammable refrigerants used in household refrigerators, freezers, and combination refrigerators and freezers. 83 FR 38969. This rule, among other modifications, increased the allowable charge limits for propane and isobutane when used in consumer refrigeration products. DOE understands that, while the United States has not yet ratified the Kigali Amendment, a significant portion of refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers currently use HFC-based refrigerants and may become affected by this Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. DOE plans to account for the impacts, if any, from this Amendment and the SNAP regulations on the consumer refrigerator, refrigeratorfreezer, and freezer markets addressed by this RFI in each of the analytical cases that DOE routinely examines, including the no-new-standards analytical case (i.e., without an amended energy conservation standard). Issue B.7 DOE seeks information related to alternative HFC-free refrigerants, including propane and isobutane. Specifically, DOE seeks information on the availability of such refrigerants and their applicability and/ or penetration in the current market (including whether charge limits or safety standards (for example, Underwriter’s Laboratory’s (‘‘UL’’) Standard 60335–2–24, ‘‘Safety Requirements for Household and Similar Electrical Appliances, Part 2: Particular Requirements for Refrigerating Appliances, Ice-Cream Appliances and Ice-Makers’’ (2nd 6 https://ozone.unep.org/sites/default/files/201907/MP_Handbook_2019.pdf. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:31 Nov 14, 2019 Jkt 250001 Edition, April 28, 2017)) would restrict their use). DOE also requests information on which alternative refrigerant is the most appropriate substitute for R–134a and why. Issue B.8 DOE requests information and data on the fractional change in efficiency and cost associated with converting an HFC-based refrigerator, refrigerator-freezer, or freezer to an HFCfree refrigerator, refrigerator-freezer, or freezer (both per-unit costs and conversion costs). DOE also seeks feedback on whether the conversion to HFC-free refrigeration systems would affect the availability of any product features (e.g., volumes, configurations, etc.) Additionally, if the use of HFC refrigerants were to remain an available option to manufacturers, would this factor impact the efficiency and related costs of these products relative to products that rely on HFC-free refrigerants? If so, how? What would the extent of these efficiency and cost impacts be? Issue B.9 DOE also requests data on the current and historical (past five years) fraction of HFC-free sales by product type (e.g., top-mount, sidemount, and bottom-mount refrigeratorfreezers, or upright and chest freezers). C. Screening Analysis The purpose of the screening analysis is to evaluate the technologies that improve equipment efficiency to determine which technologies will be eliminated from further consideration and which will be passed to the engineering analysis for further consideration. DOE determines whether to eliminate certain technology options from further consideration based on the following criteria: (1) Technological feasibility. Technologies that are not incorporated in commercial products or in working prototypes will not be considered further. (2) Practicability to manufacture, install, and service. If it is determined that mass production of a technology in commercial products and reliable installation and servicing of the technology could not be achieved on the PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 scale necessary to serve the relevant market at the time of the effective date of the standard, then that technology will not be considered further. (3) Impacts on equipment utility or equipment availability. If a technology is determined to have significant adverse impact on the utility of the equipment to significant subgroups of consumers, or result in the unavailability of any covered equipment type with performance characteristics (including reliability), features, sizes, capacities, and volumes that are substantially the same as equipment generally available in the United States at the time, it will not be considered further.8 (4) Adverse impacts on health or safety. If it is determined that a technology will have significant adverse impacts on health or safety, it will not be considered further. 10 CFR part 430, subpart C, appendix A, 4(a)(4) and 5(b). Technology options identified in the technology assessment are evaluated against these criteria using DOE analyses and inputs from interested parties (e.g., manufacturers, trade organizations, and energy efficiency advocates). Technologies that pass through the screening analysis are referred to as ‘‘design options’’ in the engineering analysis. Technology options that fail to meet one or more of the four criteria are eliminated from consideration. Table II.4 summarizes the screened out technology options, and the applicable screening criteria, from the 2011 Final Rule. 7 In August 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated and remanded a July 2015 EPA final rule (80 FR 42870 (July 20, 2015)) to the extent that it required manufacturers to replace HFCs with a substitute substance. See Mexichem Fluor, Inc. v. EPA, 866 F.3d 451 (D.C. Cir. 2017); cert. denied 139 S.Ct. 322 (Oct. 9, 2018). Subsequent to the decision in the Mexichem case, the court vacated the December 2016 EPA final rule to the extent it requires manufacturers to replace HFCs that were previously and lawfully installed as substitutes for ozonedepleting substances. Case No. 17–1024 (D.C. Cir. April 5, 2019). DOE will consider the potential impact, if any, of the court’s decisions and remand on the products addressed by this RFI. E:\FR\FM\15NOP1.SGM 15NOP1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 221 / Friday, November 15, 2019 / Proposed Rules 62477 TABLE II.4—PREVIOUSLY SCREENED OUT TECHNOLOGY OPTIONS FROM THE 2011 FINAL RULE EPCA Criteria (X = basis for screening out) Screened technology option Technological feasibility Improved PU Insulation Resistivity .............................................................. Gas-Filled Panels ........................................................................................ Improved Gaskets, Double Gaskets, Improved Door Frame ...................... Linear Compressors .................................................................................... Improved Heat Exchange ............................................................................ Component Location .................................................................................... Lorenz-Meutzner Cycle ................................................................................ Two-Stage System ...................................................................................... Control Valve System and Tandem System ............................................... Ejector Refrigerator ...................................................................................... Stirling Cycle * .............................................................................................. Thermoelectric* ............................................................................................ Thermoacoustic * ......................................................................................... Practicability to manufacture, install, and service Adverse impact on product utility X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X Adverse impacts on health and safety X * As stated in the note to Table II.2, DOE’s definitions for refrigerator, refrigerator-freezer, and freezer exclude products without compressor and condenser units as an integral part of the cabinet assembly, so DOE would not consider these technology options in a future energy conservation standards rulemaking. Issue C.1 DOE requests feedback on what impact, if any, the four screening criteria described in this section would have on each of the technology options listed in Table II.2 and Table II.3 with respect to consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers. Similarly, DOE seeks information regarding how these same criteria would affect any other technology options not already identified in this document with respect to their potential use in refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers. Issue C.2 With respect to the screened out technology options listed in Table II.4, DOE seeks information on whether these options would, based on current and projected assessments regarding each of them, remain screened out under the four screening criteria described in this section. With respect to each of these technology options, what steps, if any, could be (or have already been) taken to facilitate the introduction of each option as a means to improve the energy performance of consumer refrigerators, refrigeratorfreezers, and freezers and the potential to impact consumer utility of the refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers. D. Engineering Analysis The engineering analysis estimates the cost-efficiency relationship of products at different levels of increased energy efficiency (‘‘efficiency levels’’). This relationship serves as the basis for the cost-benefit calculations for consumers, manufacturers, and the Nation. In determining the costefficiency relationship, DOE estimates VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:31 Nov 14, 2019 Jkt 250001 the increase in manufacturer production cost (‘‘MPC’’) associated with increasing the efficiency of products above the baseline, up to the maximum technologically feasible (‘‘max-tech’’) efficiency level for each product class. DOE historically has used the following three methodologies to generate incremental manufacturing costs and establish efficiency levels (‘‘ELs’’) for analysis: (1) The designoption approach, which provides the incremental costs of adding to a baseline model design options that will improve its efficiency; (2) the efficiency-level approach, which provides the relative costs of achieving increases in energy efficiency levels, without regard to the particular design options used to achieve such increases; and (3) the costassessment (or reverse engineering) approach, which provides ‘‘bottom-up’’ manufacturing cost assessments for achieving various levels of increased efficiency, based on detailed data as to costs for parts and material, labor, shipping/packaging, and investment for models that operate at particular efficiency levels. 1. Baseline Efficiency Levels For each established product class, DOE selects a baseline model as a reference point against which any changes resulting from energy conservation standards can be measured. The baseline model in each product class represents the characteristics of common or typical products in that class. Typically, a baseline model is one that meets the current minimum energy conservation PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 standards and provides basic consumer utility. If it determines that a rulemaking is necessary, consistent with this analytical approach, DOE tentatively plans to consider the current minimum energy conservations standards (which went into effect September 15, 2014) to establish the baseline efficiency levels for each product class. The current standards for each product class are based on the maximum allowable annual energy use in kWh/year and determined according to an equation using the product’s calculated adjusted volume (‘‘AV’’) in cubic feet (‘‘ft3’’). The current standards for consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers are found in 10 CFR 430.32(a). Issue D.1 DOE requests feedback on whether using the current established energy conservation standards for consumer refrigerators, refrigeratorfreezers, and freezers are appropriate baseline efficiency levels for DOE to apply to each product class in evaluating whether to amend the current energy conservation standards for these products. DOE requests data and suggestions to evaluate the baseline efficiency levels in order to better evaluate amending energy conservation standards for these products. Issue D.2 DOE requests feedback on the appropriate baseline efficiency levels for any newly analyzed product classes that are not currently in place or for the contemplated combined product classes, as discussed in section II.B.1 of this document. For newly analyzed product classes, DOE requests energy use data to develop a baseline E:\FR\FM\15NOP1.SGM 15NOP1 62478 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 221 / Friday, November 15, 2019 / Proposed Rules relationship between energy use and adjusted volume. available on the market. For the 2011 Final Rule, DOE did not analyze all 42 consumer refrigerator, refrigeratorfreezer, and freezer product classes. Rather, DOE focused on 11 product classes. Seven of the 11 analyzed product classes represented over 90 percent of product shipments in the 2. Maximum Available and Maximum Technology Levels As part of DOE’s analysis, the maximum available efficiency level is the highest efficiency unit currently market at the time of the analysis. See 76 FR 57516, 57530 and chapter 2 of the preliminary analysis technical support document (‘‘TSD’’) for that rulemaking. The current maximum available efficiencies for these 11 analyzed product classes are included in Table II.5. TABLE II.5—MAXIMUM EFFICIENCY LEVELS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE Rated energy use percentage below maximum allowable limit Product class 3 ............................................................................................................................................................................... 5 ............................................................................................................................................................................... 7 ............................................................................................................................................................................... 9 ............................................................................................................................................................................... 10 ............................................................................................................................................................................. 11 ............................................................................................................................................................................. 18 ............................................................................................................................................................................. 3A–BI ....................................................................................................................................................................... 5–BI .......................................................................................................................................................................... 7–BI .......................................................................................................................................................................... 9I–BI ......................................................................................................................................................................... 14 32 28 25 17 22 26 37 17 9 25 Adjusted volume (ft3) 17 13 32 24 18 3 12 12 11 32, 33, 37 28 Source: DOE Compliance Certification Database (as of April 9, 2019). DOE defines a max-tech efficiency level to represent the theoretical maximum possible efficiency if all available design options are incorporated in a product. In many cases, the max-tech efficiency level is not commercially available because it is not economically feasible. In the 2011 Final Rule, DOE determined max-tech efficiency levels using energy modeling. These energy models were based on use of all design options applicable to the specific product classes. While these product configurations had not likely been tested as prototypes, all of the individual design options had been incorporated in available products. Issue D.3 DOE seeks input and data that would allow it to evaluate the appropriateness and technological feasibility of the maximum available efficiency levels for potential consideration as possible energy conservation standards for the products at issue. DOE also requests feedback on whether the maximum available efficiencies presented in Table II.5 are representative of those for the other consumer refrigerator, refrigeratorfreezer, and freezer product classes not directly analyzed in the 2011 Final Rule. If the range of possible efficiencies is different for the other product classes not directly analyzed, DOE requests alternative approaches that should be considered for those product classes and data and information to support use of the alternative. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:31 Nov 14, 2019 Jkt 250001 Issue D.4 DOE seeks feedback on what design options would be incorporated at a max-tech efficiency level, and the efficiencies associated with those levels. As part of this request, DOE also seeks information as to whether there are limitations on the use of certain combinations of design options. 3. Manufacturer Production Costs and Manufacturing Selling Price As described at the beginning of this section, the main outputs of the engineering analysis are cost-efficiency relationships that describe the estimated increases in manufacturer production cost associated with higher-efficiency products for the analyzed product classes. For the 2011 Final Rule, DOE developed the cost-efficiency relationships by estimating the efficiency improvements and costs associated with incorporating specific design options into the assumed baseline model for each analyzed product class. Issue D.5 DOE requests feedback on how manufacturers would incorporate the technology options listed in Table II.2 and Table II.3 to increase energy efficiency in consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers beyond the baseline. This includes information on the order in which manufacturers would incorporate the different technologies to incrementally improve the efficiencies of products. DOE also requests feedback on whether PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 the increased energy efficiency would lead to other design changes that would not occur otherwise. DOE is also interested in information regarding any potential impact of design options on a manufacturer’s ability to incorporate additional functions or attributes in response to consumer demand. Issue D.6 DOE also seeks input on the increase in MPC associated with incorporating each particular design option. Specifically, DOE is interested in whether and how the costs estimated for design options in the 2011 Final Rule have changed since the time of that analysis. DOE also requests information on the investments necessary to incorporate specific design options, including, but not limited to, costs related to new or modified tooling (if any), materials, engineering and development efforts to implement each design option, and manufacturing/ production impacts. Issue D.7 DOE requests comment on whether certain design options may not be applicable to (or are incompatible with) specific product classes. As described in section II.D.2 of this document, DOE analyzed 11 product classes in the 2011 Final Rule. DOE developed cost-efficiency curves for each of these product classes that were used as the input for the downstream analyses conducted in support of that rulemaking. See chapter 5 of the 2011 Final Rule TSD for the cost-efficiency curves developed in that rulemaking. E:\FR\FM\15NOP1.SGM 15NOP1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 221 / Friday, November 15, 2019 / Proposed Rules Issue D.8 DOE seeks feedback on whether the approach of analyzing a sub-set of product classes is appropriate for a future consumer refrigerator, refrigerator-freezer, and freezer energy conservation standards rulemaking. DOE requests comment on whether it is necessary to individually analyze all 11 product classes used in the 2011 Final Rule. For example, analysis on the builtin product classes may not be necessary if the analysis on the corresponding freestanding product classes is applicable to both product classes. Additionally, DOE requests data and suggestions to evaluate the approach used to apply the analyzed product class results to other product classes. For example, if it is necessary to individually analyze more than 11 product classes used in the 2011 Final Rule, DOE requests information on why aggregating certain products is not appropriate. If this approach is not appropriate, DOE requests alternative approaches and data and information that would support the use of the alternative.9 To account for manufacturers’ nonproduction costs and profit margin, DOE applies a non-production cost multiplier (the manufacturer markup) to the MPC. The resulting manufacturer selling price (‘‘MSP’’) is the price at which the manufacturer distributes a unit into commerce. For the 2011 Final Rule, DOE used a manufacturer markup of 1.26 for all non-built-in products and a manufacturer markup of 1.40 for builtin products. See chapter 6 of the 2011 Final Rule TSD. Issue D.9 DOE requests feedback on whether manufacturer markups of 1.26 and 1.40 are appropriate for non-builtin and built-in products, respectively. E. Distribution Channels In generating end-user price inputs for the life-cycle cost (‘‘LCC’’) analysis and national impact analysis (‘‘NIA’’), DOE must identify distribution channels (i.e., how the products are distributed from the manufacturer to the consumer), and estimate relative sales volumes through each channel. In the 2011 Final Rule, DOE only accounted for the retail outlets distribution channel because data from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (‘‘AHAM’’) 2005 Fact Book indicates that the overwhelming majority of residential appliances were sold through retail outlets. In that rulemaking, DOE did not include a separate distribution channel 9 See chapter 2, section 2.15 in the preliminary analysis TSD published during the rulemaking process leading to the 2011 Final Rule, document #22 on regulations.gov in docket ID EERE–2008– BT–STD–0012. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:31 Nov 14, 2019 Jkt 250001 for refrigeration products included as part of a new home because DOE did not have enough information to characterize which of these products were ‘‘pre-installed’’ by builders in these new homes. Should sufficient information become available, DOE may consider including a separate distribution channel that includes a contractor in addition to the existing retail outlets distribution channel. Issue E.1 DOE requests information on the existence of any distribution channels other than the retail outlet distribution channel that are used to distribute the products at issue into the market. DOE also requests data on the fraction of full-size consumer refrigerator and refrigerator-freezer sales in the residential sector that go through both a wholesaler/retailer and a contractor as well as the fraction of sales that go through any other identified channels. F. Energy Use Analysis As part of the rulemaking process, DOE conducts an energy use analysis to identify how products are used by consumers, and thereby determine the energy savings potential of energy efficiency improvements. DOE bases the energy consumption of consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers on the rated annual energy consumption as determined by the DOE test procedure. Along similar lines, the energy use analysis is meant to represent typical energy consumption in the field. 1. Usage Adjustment Factor In the 2011 Final Rule, DOE incorporated a usage adjustment factor (‘‘UAF’’), which served to correct for differences in a product’s actual energy use in the field and the product’s energy use as determined by the DOE test procedure. Average UAFs were calculated for each product class, and most product classes incorporated an age-dependent UAF, and a distribution of UAFs dependent on the average outdoor temperature, as well as the number of occupants across the household sample in the LCC; additionally, separate UAFs were calculated for primary and secondary refrigerators. Since the publication of the 2011 Final Rule, DOE amended its test procedure for these products. 79 FR 22320 (April 21, 2014). Issue F.1 DOE requests feedback and data on whether a product’s energy use results from the current test procedure accurately reflect the product’s average energy use in the field, thereby rendering an average UAF unnecessary for this rulemaking. If the UAF is still PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 62479 necessary, DOE requests data and information to allow it to better evaluate the representativeness of the current UAF. DOE also requests suggestions and data that would allow DOE to evaluate steps that could be taken to bring these two values into closer harmony. Issue F.2 DOE also requests feedback and data on how a product’s energy use changes with age, how the number of occupants in the household affects the product’s energy use, and whether separate UAFs for primary and secondary refrigerator-freezers are necessary. 2. Connected Refrigerators, RefrigeratorFreezers, and Freezers DOE is aware of the introduction of internet-connected refrigerators and refrigerator-freezers on the market. DOE recently published an RFI on the emerging smart technology appliance and equipment market. 83 FR 46886 (Sept. 17, 2018). In that RFI, DOE sought information to better understand market trends and issues in the emerging market for appliances and commercial equipment that incorporate smart technology. DOE’s intent in issuing the RFI was to ensure that DOE did not inadvertently impede such innovation in fulfilling its statutory obligations in setting efficiency standards for covered products and equipment. Additionally, as discussed in the RFI, DOE lacks data regarding consumer use of connected features. Issue F.3 DOE requests information and data specific to consumer use and the associated power consumption of connected features on internetconnected refrigerators, refrigeratorfreezers, and freezers. G. Repair and Maintenance Costs In the 2011 Final Rule, DOE estimated the increase in repair costs from using specific technology found in some higher efficiency design options; however, DOE excluded maintenance costs from its analysis because there was no evidence that maintenance costs change by efficiency level. In the 2011 Final Rule analysis, DOE used relative component repair rates from a prior rulemaking for commercial refrigeration equipment combined with aggregate survey data from Consumers Union collected in 2009 to estimate the repair rate by product class and efficiency level. To estimate the repair costs, DOE used incremental cost models developed in the engineering analysis in addition to baseline repair cost data from Best Buy Co., Inc. Issue G.1 DOE requests feedback and data on whether maintenance costs differ in comparison to the baseline E:\FR\FM\15NOP1.SGM 15NOP1 62480 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 221 / Friday, November 15, 2019 / Proposed Rules maintenance costs for any of the specific technology options listed in Table II.2 and Table II.3. To the extent that these costs differ, DOE seeks supporting data and the reasons for those differences. Issue G.2 DOE requests information and data on the frequency of repair and repair costs by product class for the technology options listed in Table II.2 and Table II.3. While DOE is interested in information regarding each of the listed technology options, DOE is particularly interested in the impacts on repair frequencies and costs with respect to those products that use VIPs and variable-speed compressors. DOE is also interested in whether consumers simply replace the products when they fail as opposed to repairing them. H. Shipments DOE develops shipments forecasts of consumer refrigerators, refrigeratorfreezers, and freezers to calculate the national impacts of potential amended energy conservation standards on energy consumption, net present value (‘‘NPV’’), and future manufacturer cash flows. DOE shipments projections are based on available historical data broken out by product class, capacity, and efficiency. Current sales estimates allow for a more accurate model that captures recent trends in the market. Issue H.1 DOE requests 2018 annual sales data (i.e., number of shipments) for refrigerators with a top-mounted freezer, TTD refrigerators with a bottommounted freezer, non-TTD refrigerators with a bottom-mounted freezer, refrigerators with a side-mounted freezer, compact refrigerators, chest freezers, and upright freezers. For each category, DOE also requests the fraction of sales that are ENERGY STARqualified. Issue H.2 DOE requests 2018 data on the fraction of sales in the residential and commercial sector for full-size refrigerators, compact refrigerators, and freezers. Issue H.3 DOE requests 2018 data on the fraction of sales of full-size refrigerators, compact refrigerators, and upright freezers that are built-in models. If disaggregated fractions of annual sales are not available at the product type level, DOE requests more aggregated fractions of annual sales at the category level. Issue H.4 If available, DOE requests the same information for the previous five years (2013–2017). Issue H.5 DOE requests available 2018 sales data on the fraction of full-size refrigerator sales by technology for the technology options listed in Table II.2 and Table II.3, and in particular, for VIPs and variable-speed compressors. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:31 Nov 14, 2019 Jkt 250001 DOE also requests information on any expected market trends in the popularity of those technology options. Issue H.6 DOE requests data and information on any trends in the refrigeration market that could be used to forecast expected trends in product class market share, as well as market share of efficiency levels within each product class. DOE also requests data and information on the existence of price learning for refrigeration products, which could impact market shares over the analysis period. Issue H.7 DOE has identified several new features, such as door-in-door configuration and ‘‘smart’’ internetconnected refrigerators, which may impact total energy consumption. DOE requests input on any expected market trends for such features. Issue H.8 An initial analysis of data from the Residential Energy Consumption Surveys (‘‘RECSs’’) from 1993–2015 indicates that consumers are purchasing higher-capacity refrigerators over time. For example, estimates show that purchases of refrigerators greater than or equal to 22.6 cubic feet rose from 10 percent to 50 percent of the market from 2000 to 2015. In the same time period, sales of refrigerators less than 17.6 cubic feet decreased from 43 percent to 6 percent of the market. DOE seeks data and information on whether the trend towards increased sales of higher-capacity units has continued through 2018 or has leveled off. If the trend has continued, DOE requests data on which capacities have seen significant changes from 2009 to 2018 and by how much. DOE requests input on expected capacity market trends over the next 5 years. Additionally, DOE requests feedback on the drivers of this market shift towards larger-capacity refrigerators. Issue H.9 In the 2011 Final Rule, DOE developed a lifetime model for standard-size refrigerator-freezers, standard-size freezers, and compact refrigeration products. In addition, DOE derived a conversion function to model the conversion from primary to secondary refrigerator-freezers. The mean lifetimes were 17.4 years, 22.3 years, 5.6 years, and 7.5 years for standard-size refrigerator-freezers, standard-size freezers, compact refrigerators, and compact freezers, respectively. The primary-to-secondary conversion model indicated that 5.6 percent of standard-size refrigeratorfreezer shipments are sold as new secondary units and that roughly 1.5 percent of surviving refrigerator-freezers are converted from primary to secondary each year. Because the conversion and lifetime models affect PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 the shipments analysis (as well as the LCC and payback period (‘‘PBP’’) analyses), DOE requests data and information to inform the average lifetime of refrigeration products and the conversion of primary to secondary refrigerator-freezers. I. Manufacturer Impact Analysis The purpose of the manufacturer impact analysis (‘‘MIA’’) is to estimate the financial impact of amended energy conservation standards on manufacturers of consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers, and to evaluate the potential impact of such standards on direct employment and manufacturing capacity. The MIA includes both quantitative and qualitative aspects. The quantitative part of the MIA primarily relies on the Government Regulatory Impact Model (‘‘GRIM’’), an industry cash-flow model adapted for each product in this rulemaking, with the key output of industry net present value (‘‘INPV’’). The qualitative part of the MIA addresses the potential impacts of energy conservation standards on manufacturing capacity and industry competition, as well as factors such as product characteristics, impacts on particular subgroups of firms, and important market and product trends. As part of the MIA, DOE intends to analyze impacts of amended energy conservation standards on subgroups of manufacturers of covered products, such as small business manufacturers. DOE intends to use the Small Business Administration’s (‘‘SBA’’) small business size standards to determine whether manufacturers qualify as small businesses, which are listed by the applicable North American Industry Classification System (‘‘NAICS’’) code.10 Manufacturing of consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers is classified under NAICS 335220, ‘‘Major Household Appliance Manufacturing,’’ and the SBA sets a threshold of 1,500 employees or less for a domestic entity to be considered as a small business. This employee threshold includes all employees in a business’ parent company and any other subsidiaries. One aspect of assessing manufacturer burden involves looking at the cumulative impact of multiple DOE standards and the product-specific regulatory actions of other Federal agencies that affect the manufacturers of a covered product or equipment. While any one regulation may not impose a significant burden on manufacturers, 10 Available online at: https://www.sba.gov/ document/support—table-size-standards. E:\FR\FM\15NOP1.SGM 15NOP1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 221 / Friday, November 15, 2019 / Proposed Rules the combined effects of several existing or impending regulations may have serious consequences for some manufacturers, groups of manufacturers, or an entire industry. Assessing the impact of a single regulation may overlook this cumulative regulatory burden. In addition to energy conservation standards, other regulations can significantly affect manufacturers’ financial operations. Multiple regulations affecting the same manufacturer can strain profits and lead companies to abandon product lines or markets with lower expected future returns than competing products. For these reasons, DOE conducts an analysis of cumulative regulatory burden as part of its rulemakings pertaining to appliance efficiency. Issue I.1 To the extent feasible, DOE seeks the names and contact information of any domestic or foreignbased manufacturers that distribute consumer refrigerators, refrigeratorfreezers, and freezers in the United States. Issue I.2 DOE identified small businesses as a subgroup of manufacturers that could be disproportionally impacted by amended energy conservation standards. DOE requests the names and contact information of small business manufacturers, as defined by the SBA’s size threshold, of consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers that distribute products in the United States. In addition, DOE requests comment on any other manufacturer subgroups that could be disproportionally impacted by amended energy conservation standards. DOE requests feedback on any potential approaches that could be considered to address impacts on manufacturers, including small businesses. Issue I.3 DOE requests information regarding the cumulative regulatory burden impacts on manufacturers of consumer refrigerators, refrigeratorfreezers, and freezers associated with (1) other DOE standards applying to different products that these manufacturers may also make and (2) product-specific regulatory actions of other Federal agencies. DOE also requests comment on its methodology for computing cumulative regulatory burden and whether there are any flexibilities it can consider that would reduce this burden while remaining consistent with the requirements of EPCA. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:31 Nov 14, 2019 Jkt 250001 J. Other Energy Conservation Standards Topics 1. Market Failures In the field of economics, a market failure is a situation in which the market outcome does not maximize societal welfare. DOE welcomes comment on any aspect of market failures, especially those in the context of amended energy conservation standards for consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers. 2. Other DOE welcomes comments on other issues relevant to the conduct of this rulemaking that may not specifically be identified in this document. In particular, DOE seeks comment on whether there have been sufficient technological or market changes since the most recent standards update that may justify a new rulemaking to consider more stringent standards. Specifically, DOE seeks data and information that could enable the agency to determine whether a morestringent standard: (1) Would not result in significant additional savings of energy; (2) is not technologically feasible; (3) is not economically justified; or (4) any combination of the foregoing. DOE also notes that under Executive Order 13771, ‘‘Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs,’’ Executive Branch agencies such as DOE are directed to manage the costs associated with the imposition of expenditures required to comply with Federal regulations. See 82 FR 9339 (February 3, 2017). Consistent with that Executive Order, DOE encourages the public to provide input on measures DOE could take to lower the cost of its energy conservation standards rulemakings, recordkeeping and reporting requirements, and compliance and certification requirements applicable to consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers while remaining consistent with the requirements of EPCA. III. Submission of Comments DOE invites all interested parties to submit in writing by December 30, 2019, comments and information on matters addressed in this RFI and on other matters relevant to DOE’s consideration of amended energy conservations standards for consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers. After the close of the comment period, DOE will review the public comments received any may begin collecting data and conducting the analyses discussed in this RFI. PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 62481 Submitting comments via http:// www.regulations.gov. The http:// www.regulations.gov web page requires you to provide your name and contact information. Your contact information will be viewable to DOE Building Technologies Office staff only. Your contact information will not be publicly viewable except for your first and last names, organization name (if any), and submitter representative name (if any). If your comment is not processed properly because of technical difficulties, DOE will use this information to contact you. If DOE cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, DOE may not be able to consider your comment. However, your contact information will be publicly viewable if you include it in the comment or in any documents attached to your comment. Any information that you do not want to be publicly viewable should not be included in your comment, nor in any document attached to your comment. Persons viewing comments will see only first and last names, organization names, correspondence containing comments, and any documents submitted with the comments. Do not submit to http:// www.regulations.gov information for which disclosure is restricted by statute, such as trade secrets and commercial or financial information (hereinafter referred to as Confidential Business Information (‘‘CBI’’)). Comments submitted through http:// www.regulations.gov cannot be claimed as CBI. Comments received through the website will waive any CBI claims for the information submitted. For information on submitting CBI, see the Confidential Business Information section. DOE processes submissions made through http://www.regulations.gov before posting. Normally, comments will be posted within a few days of being submitted. However, if large volumes of comments are being processed simultaneously, your comment may not be viewable for up to several weeks. Please keep the comment tracking number that www.regulations.gov provides after you have successfully uploaded your comment. Submitting comments via email, hand delivery/courier, or postal mail. Comments and documents submitted via email, hand delivery/courier, or postal mail also will be posted to http:// www.regulations.gov. If you do not want your personal contact information to be publicly viewable, do not include it in your comment or any accompanying E:\FR\FM\15NOP1.SGM 15NOP1 62482 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 221 / Friday, November 15, 2019 / Proposed Rules documents. Instead, provide your contact information on a cover letter. Include your first and last names, email address, telephone number, and optional mailing address. The cover letter will not be publicly viewable as long as it does not include any comments. Include contact information each time you submit comments, data, documents, and other information to DOE. If you submit via postal mail or hand delivery/ courier, please provide all items on a CD, if feasible. It is not necessary to submit printed copies. No telefacsimiles (faxes) will be accepted. Comments, data, and other information submitted to DOE electronically should be provided in PDF (preferred), Microsoft Word or Excel, WordPerfect, or text (ASCII) file format. Provide documents that are not secured, written in English and free of any defects or viruses. Documents should not contain special characters or any form of encryption and, if possible, they should carry the electronic signature of the author. Campaign form letters. Please submit campaign form letters by the originating organization in batches of between 50 to 500 form letters per PDF or as one form letter with a list of supporters’ names compiled into one or more PDFs. This reduces comment processing and posting time. Confidential Business Information. According to 10 CFR 1004.11, any person submitting information that he or she believes to be confidential and exempt by law from public disclosure should submit via email, postal mail, or hand delivery/courier two well-marked copies: One copy of the document marked confidential including all the information believed to be confidential, and one copy of the document marked ‘‘non-confidential’’ with the information believed to be confidential deleted. Submit these documents via email or on a CD, if feasible. DOE will make its own determination about the confidential status of the information and treat it according to its determination. It is DOE’s policy that all comments may be included in the public docket, without change and as received, including any personal information provided in the comments (except information deemed to be exempt from public disclosure). DOE considers public participation to be a very important part of the process for developing energy conservation standards. DOE actively encourages the participation and interaction of the public during the comment period in each stage of the rulemaking process. Interactions with and between members VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:31 Nov 14, 2019 Jkt 250001 of the public provide a balanced discussion of the issues and assist DOE in the rulemaking process. Anyone who wishes to be added to the DOE mailing list to receive future notices and information about this process or would like to request a public meeting should contact Appliance and Equipment Standards Program staff at (202) 287– 1445 or via email at ApplianceStandardsQuestions@ ee.doe.gov. Signed in Washington, DC, on October 31, 2019. Alexander N. Fitzsimmons, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. [FR Doc. 2019–24820 Filed 11–14–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450–01–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA–2018–0538; Product Identifier 2012–NE–47–AD] RIN 2120–AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Rolls-Royce plc Turbofan Engines Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM); reopening of comment period. AGENCY: The FAA is revising an earlier proposal for certain Rolls-Royce plc (RR) RB211 Trent 768–60, 772–60, and 772B–60 model turbofan engines. This action revises the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) by modifying the inspection threshold for ultrasonic inspections (UIs) of the affected lowpressure (LP) compressor blades for both standard operations and nonstandard operations (NSO). This action also revises the service information references. The FAA is proposing this airworthiness directive (AD) to address the unsafe condition on these products. Since these actions would impose an additional burden over those in the NPRM, the FAA is reopening the comment period to allow the public the chance to comment on these changes. DATES: The comment period for the NPRM published in the Federal Register on August 14, 2018 (83 FR 40161), is reopened. The FAA must receive comments on this SNPRM by December 30, 2019. ADDRESSES: You may send comments, using the procedures found in 14 CFR SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. • Fax: 202 493 2251. • Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M– 30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12 140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. • Hand Delivery: Deliver to Mail address above between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. For service information identified in this SNPRM, contact Rolls-Royce plc, P.O. Box 31, Derby, DE24 8BJ, United Kingdom; phone: 44 (0)1332 242424; fax: 44 (0)1332 249936; email: https:// www.rolls-royce.com/contact/civil_ team.jsp. You may view this service information at the FAA, Engine and Propeller Standards Branch, 1200 District Avenue, Burlington, MA 01803. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 781–238– 7759. Examining the AD Docket You may examine the AD docket on the internet at https:// www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA–2018– 0538; or in person at Docket Operations between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this SNPRM, the mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI), the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for Docket Operations is listed above. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephen Elwin, Aerospace Engineer, ECO Branch, FAA, 1200 District Avenue, Burlington, MA 01803; phone: 781–238–7236; fax: 781–238–7199; email: stephen.l.elwin@faa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments Invited The FAA invites you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this proposal. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include ‘‘Docket No. FAA–2018–0538; Product Identifier 2012–NE–47–AD’’ at the beginning of your comments. The FAA specifically invites comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this SNPRM. The FAA will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this SNPRM because of those comments. E:\FR\FM\15NOP1.SGM 15NOP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 221 (Friday, November 15, 2019)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 62470-62482]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-24820]


========================================================================
Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.

========================================================================


Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 221 / Friday, November 15, 2019 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 62470]]



DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

10 CFR Part 430

[EERE-2017-BT-STD-0003]


Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards for 
Consumer Refrigerators, Refrigerator-Freezers, and Freezers

AGENCY: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of 
Energy.

ACTION: Request for information.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Energy (``DOE'') is initiating an 
effort to determine whether to amend the current energy conservation 
standards for consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and 
freezers. Under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, as 
amended, DOE must review these standards at least once every six years 
and publish either a notice of proposed rulemaking (``NOPR'') to 
propose new standards for consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-
freezers, and freezers or a notice of determination that the existing 
standards do not need to be amended. This request for information 
(``RFI'') solicits information from the public to help DOE determine 
whether amended standards for consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-
freezers, and freezers would result in a significant amount of 
additional energy savings and whether those standards would be 
technologically feasible and economically justified. DOE welcomes 
written comments from the public on any subject within the scope of 
this document (including topics not raised in this RFI).

DATES: Written comments and information are requested and will be 
accepted on or before December 30, 2019.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are encouraged to submit comments using 
the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow 
the instructions for submitting comments. Alternatively, interested 
persons may submit comments, identified by docket number EERE-2017-BT-
STD-0003, by any of the following methods:
    1. Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow 
the instructions for submitting comments.
    2. Email: [email protected]. Include the 
docket number EERE-2017-BT-STD-0003 in the subject line of the message.
    3. Postal Mail: Appliance and Equipment Standards Program, U.S. 
Department of Energy, Building Technologies Office, Mailstop EE-5B, 
1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20585-0121. Telephone: 
(202) 287-1445. If possible, please submit all items on a compact disc 
(``CD''), in which case it is not necessary to include printed copies.
    4. Hand Delivery/Courier: Appliance and Equipment Standards 
Program, U.S. Department of Energy, Building Technologies Office, 950 
L'Enfant Plaza SW, 6th Floor, Washington, DC 20024. Telephone: (202) 
287-1445. If possible, please submit all items on a CD, in which case 
it is not necessary to include printed copies.
    No telefacsimilies (faxes) will be accepted. For detailed 
instructions on submitting comments and additional information on this 
process, see section III of this document.
    Docket: The docket for this activity, which includes Federal 
Register notices, comments, and other supporting documents/materials, 
is available for review at http://www.regulations.gov. All documents in 
the docket are listed in the http://www.regulations.gov index. However, 
some documents listed in the index, such as those containing 
information that is exempt from public disclosure, may not be publicly 
available.
    The docket web page can be found at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=EERE-2017-BT-TP-0003. The docket web page contains 
instructions on how to access all documents, including public comments 
in the docket. See section III for information on how to submit 
comments through http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: 
    Dr. Stephanie Johnson, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy 
Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Building Technologies Office, EE-5B, 
1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20585-0121. Telephone: 
(202) 287-1943. Email: [email protected].
    Mr. Pete Cochran, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the General 
Counsel, GC-33, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20585-0121. 
Telephone: (202) 586-9496. Email: [email protected].
    For further information on how to submit a comment, review other 
public comments and the docket, contact the Appliance and Equipment 
Standards Program staff at (202) 287-1445 or by email: 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
    A. Authority and Background
    B. Rulemaking Process
II. Request for Information and Comments
    A. Products Covered by This Rulemaking
    B. Market and Technology Assessment
    1. Product/Equipment Classes
    2. Technology Assessment
    C. Screening Analysis
    D. Engineering Analysis
    1. Baseline Efficiency Levels
    2. Maximum Available and Maximum Technology Levels
    3. Manufacturer Production Costs and Manufacturing Selling Price
    E. Distribution Channels
    F. Energy Use Analysis
    1. Usage Adjustment Factor
    2. Connected Refrigerators, Refrigerator-Freezers, and Freezers
    G. Repair and Maintenance Costs
    H. Shipments
    I. Manufacturer Impact Analysis
    J. Other Energy Conservation Standards Topics
    1. Market Failures
    2. Other
III. Submission of Comments

I. Introduction

A. Authority and Background

    The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, as amended 
(``EPCA''),\1\ among other things, authorizes DOE to regulate the 
energy efficiency of a number of consumer products and certain 
industrial equipment. (42 U.S.C. 6291-6317) Title III, Part B \2\ of 
EPCA established the Energy Conservation

[[Page 62471]]

Program for Consumer Products Other Than Automobiles. These products 
include consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers, 
the subject of this document. (42 U.S.C. 6292(a)(1)) EPCA prescribed 
energy conservation standards for these products (42 U.S.C. 6295(b)(1)-
(2)), and directed DOE to conduct three cycles of rulemakings to 
determine whether to amend these standards. (42 U.S.C. 
6295(b)(3)(A)(i), (b)(3)(B)-(C), and (b)(4))
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ All references to EPCA in this document refer to the statute 
as amended through America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, 
Public Law 115-270 (Oct. 23, 2018).
    \2\ For editorial reasons, upon codification in the U.S. Code, 
Part B was redesignated Part A.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Under EPCA, DOE's energy conservation program consists essentially 
of four parts: (1) Testing, (2) labeling, (3) Federal energy 
conservation standards, and (4) certification and enforcement 
procedures. Relevant provisions of EPCA specifically include 
definitions (42 U.S.C. 6291), test procedures (42 U.S.C. 6293), 
labeling provisions (42 U.S.C. 6294), energy conservation standards (42 
U.S.C. 6295), and the authority to require information and reports from 
manufacturers (42 U.S.C. 6296).
    Federal energy efficiency requirements for covered products 
established under EPCA generally supersede State laws and regulations 
concerning energy conservation testing, labeling, and standards. (42 
U.S.C. 6297(a)-(c)) DOE may, however, grant waivers of Federal 
preemption in limited instances for particular State laws or 
regulations, in accordance with the procedures and other provisions set 
forth under 42 U.S.C. 6297(d).
    DOE completed the first of these rulemaking cycles in 1989 and 1990 
by adopting amended performance standards for consumer refrigerators, 
refrigerator-freezers, and freezers manufactured on or after January 1, 
1993. 54 FR 47916 (Nov. 17, 1989) (setting amended standards to apply 
starting on January 1, 1993); 55 FR 42845 (Oct. 24, 1990) (making 
certain corrections to the 1993 standards). DOE completed a second 
rulemaking cycle to amend the standards for consumer refrigerators, 
refrigerator-freezers, and freezers by issuing a final rule in 1997. 62 
FR 23102 (Apr. 28, 1997). Most recently, DOE completed a third 
rulemaking cycle to amend the standards for consumer refrigerators, 
refrigerator-freezers, and freezers by publishing a final rule in 2011 
(``September 2011 Final Rule''). 76 FR 57516 (Sep. 15, 2011). The 
current energy conservation standards are located in title 10 of the 
Code of Federal Regulations (``CFR'') part 430, section 32(a). The 
currently applicable DOE test procedures for consumer refrigerators, 
refrigerator-freezers, and freezers appear at 10 CFR part 430, subpart 
B, appendices A and B (``Appendix A'' and ``Appendix B'').
    EPCA also requires that, not later than 6 years after the issuance 
of any final rule establishing or amending a standard, DOE evaluate the 
energy conservation standards for each type of covered product, 
including those at issue here, and publish either a notice of 
determination that the standards do not need to be amended, or a NOPR 
including new proposed energy conservation standards (proceeding to a 
final rule, as appropriate). (42 U.S.C. 6295(m)(1)) EPCA further 
provides that, not later than 3 years after the issuance of a final 
determination not to amend standards, DOE must publish either a notice 
of determination that standards for the product do not need to be 
amended, or a NOPR including new proposed energy conservation standards 
(proceeding to a final rule, as appropriate). (42 U.S.C. 6295(m)(3)(B)) 
DOE must make the analysis on which the determination is based publicly 
available and provide an opportunity for written comment. (42 U.S.C. 
6295(m)(2)) In making a determination, DOE must evaluate whether more 
stringent standards would: (1) Yield a significant savings in energy 
use and (2) be both technologically feasible and economically 
justified. (42 U.S.C. 6295(m)(1)(A))
    DOE is publishing this RFI to collect data and information to 
inform its decision consistent with its obligations under EPCA.

B. Rulemaking Process

    DOE must follow specific statutory criteria for prescribing new or 
amended standards for covered products. EPCA requires that any new or 
amended energy conservation standard be designed to achieve the maximum 
improvement in energy or water efficiency that is technologically 
feasible and economically justified. (42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(2)(A)) EPCA 
also precludes DOE from adopting any standard that would not result in 
the significant conservation of energy. (42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(3)(B)) To 
determine whether a standard is economically justified, EPCA requires 
that DOE determine whether the benefits of the standard exceed its 
burdens by considering, to the greatest extent practicable, the 
following seven factors:
    (1) The economic impact of the standard on the manufacturers and 
consumers of the affected products;
    (2) The savings in operating costs throughout the estimated average 
life of the product compared to any increases in the initial cost, or 
maintenance expenses;
    (3) The total projected amount of energy and water (if applicable) 
savings likely to result directly from the standard;
    (4) Any lessening of the utility or the performance of the products 
likely to result from the standard;
    (5) The impact of any lessening of competition, as determined in 
writing by the Attorney General, that is likely to result from the 
standard;
    (6) The need for national energy and water conservation; and
    (7) Other factors the Secretary of Energy (Secretary) considers 
relevant. (42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(2)(B)(i)(I)-(VII))
    DOE fulfills these and other applicable requirements by conducting 
a series of analyses throughout the rulemaking process. Table I.1 shows 
the individual analyses that are performed to satisfy each of the 
requirements within EPCA.

       Table I.1--EPCA Requirements and Corresponding DOE Analysis
------------------------------------------------------------------------
            EPCA requirement                Corresponding DOE analysis
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Significant Energy Savings.............   Shipments Analysis.
                                          National Impact
                                          Analysis.
                                          Energy and Water Use
                                          Determination.
Technological Feasibility..............   Market and Technology
                                          Assessment.
                                          Screening Analysis.
                                          Engineering Analysis.
Economic Justification:
1. Economic impact on manufacturers and   Manufacturer Impact
 consumers.                               Analysis.
                                          Life-Cycle Cost and
                                          Payback Period Analysis.
                                          Life-Cycle Cost
                                          Subgroup Analysis.
                                          Shipments Analysis.

[[Page 62472]]

 
2. Lifetime operating cost savings        Markups for Product
 compared to increased cost for the       Price Determination.
 product..
                                          Energy and Water Use
                                          Determination.
                                          Life-Cycle Cost and
                                          Payback Period Analysis.
3. Total projected energy savings......   Shipments Analysis.
                                          National Impact
                                          Analysis.
4. Impact on utility or performance....   Screening Analysis.
                                          Engineering Analysis.
5. Impact of any lessening of             Manufacturer Impact
 competition.                             Analysis.
6. Need for national energy and water     Shipments Analysis.
 conservation.
                                          National Impact
                                          Analysis.
7. Other factors the Secretary            Emissions Analysis.
 considers relevant.
                                          Utility Impact
                                          Analysis.
                                          Employment Impact
                                          Analysis.
                                          Monetization of
                                          Emission Reductions Benefits.
                                          Regulatory Impact
                                          Analysis.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As detailed throughout this RFI, DOE is publishing this document 
seeking input and data from interested parties to aid in the 
development of the technical analyses on which DOE will ultimately rely 
to determine whether (and if so, how) to amend the standards for 
consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers.

II. Request for Information and Comments

    The following sections identify a variety of issues on which DOE 
seeks input to aid its development of the technical and economic 
analyses regarding whether amended energy conservation standards for 
consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers may be 
warranted. DOE also welcomes comments on other issues relevant to this 
data-gathering process that may not specifically be identified in this 
document.

A. Products Covered by This Rulemaking

    This RFI covers those products that meet the definitions for 
refrigerator, refrigerator-freezer, or freezer, as codified in 10 CFR 
430.2. The definitions for refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and 
freezers were most recently amended in a test procedure final rule in a 
separate rulemaking addressing ``miscellaneous refrigeration products'' 
\3\ (MREFs), in which DOE removed reference to food storage, clarified 
under what conditions the products must be able to maintain compartment 
temperatures, and excluded products designed to be used without doors, 
that do not include a compressor and condenser integral to the cabinet 
assembly, or that would be classified as an MREF. 81 FR 46768 (July 18, 
2016).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ ``Miscellaneous refrigeration product'' means a consumer 
refrigeration product other than a refrigerator, refrigerator-
freezer, or freezer, which includes coolers and combination cooler 
refrigeration products. 10 CFR 430.2. ``Cooler'' means a cabinet, 
used with one or more doors, that has a source of refrigeration 
capable of operating on single-phase, alternating current and is 
capable of maintaining compartment temperatures either no lower than 
39 [deg]F (3.9 [deg]C) or in a range that extends no lower than 37 
[deg]F (2.8 [deg]C) but at least as high as 60 [deg]F (15.6 [deg]C). 
Id. ``Combination cooler refrigeration product'' means any cooler-
refrigerator, cooler-refrigerator-freezer, or cooler-freezer. Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Specifically, as codified, ``refrigerator'' means a cabinet, used 
with one or more doors, that has a source of refrigeration that 
requires single-phase, alternating current electric energy input only 
and is capable of maintaining compartment temperatures above 32 degrees 
Fahrenheit ([deg]F) (0 degrees Celsius ([deg]C)) and below 39 [deg]F 
(3.9 [deg]C). A refrigerator may include a compartment capable of 
maintaining compartment temperatures below 32 [deg]F (0 [deg]C), but 
does not provide a separate low temperature compartment capable of 
maintaining compartment temperatures below 8 [deg]F (-13.3 [deg]C). A 
refrigerator does not include: any product that does not include a 
compressor and condenser unit as an integral part of the cabinet 
assembly, coolers, or any product that must comply with an applicable 
miscellaneous refrigeration product energy conservation standard. 10 
CFR 430.2.
    ``Refrigerator-freezer'' means a cabinet, used with one or more 
doors, that has a source of refrigeration that requires single-phase, 
alternating current electric energy input only and consists of two or 
more compartments where at least one of the compartments is capable of 
maintaining compartment temperatures above 32 [deg]F (0 [deg]C) and 
below 39 [deg]F (3.9 [deg]C), and at least one other compartment is 
capable of maintaining compartment temperatures of 8 [deg]F (-13.3 
[deg]C) and may be adjusted by the user to a temperature of 0 [deg]F (-
17.8 [deg]C) or below. A refrigerator-freezer does not include: any 
product that does not include a compressor and condenser unit as an 
integral part of the cabinet assembly, or any product that must comply 
with an applicable miscellaneous refrigeration product energy 
conservation standard. Id.
    ``Freezer'' means a cabinet, used with one or more doors, that has 
a source of refrigeration that requires single-phase, alternating 
current electric energy input only and is capable of maintaining 
compartment temperatures of 0 [deg]F (-17.8 [deg]C) or below. A freezer 
does not include: Any refrigerated cabinet that consists solely of an 
automatic ice maker and an ice storage bin arranged so that operation 
of the automatic icemaker fills the bin to its capacity, any product 
that does not include a compressor and condenser unit as an integral 
part of the cabinet assembly, or any product that must comply with an 
applicable miscellaneous refrigeration product energy conservation 
standard. Id.
    DOE's regulations at 10 CFR 430.2 also define sub-categories of 
refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers, including compact 
\4\ and built-in \5\ product configurations.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ Compact refrigerator/refrigerator-freezer/freezer means any 
refrigerator, refrigerator-freezer or freezer with a total 
refrigerated volume of less than 7.75 cubic feet (220 liters). 
(Total refrigerated volume shall be determined using the applicable 
test procedure appendix prescribed in 10 CFR part 430 subpart B.) 
Id.
    \5\ Built-in refrigerator/refrigerator-freezer/freezer means any 
refrigerator, refrigerator-freezer or freezer with 7.75 cubic feet 
or greater total volume and 24 inches or less depth not including 
doors, handles, and custom front panels; with sides which are not 
finished and not designed to be visible after installation; and that 
is designed, intended, and marketed exclusively (1) To be installed 
totally encased by cabinetry or panels that are attached during 
installation, (2) to be securely fastened to adjacent cabinetry, 
walls or floor, and (3) to either be equipped with an integral 
factory-finished face or accept a custom front panel. Id.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 62473]]

    Issue A.1 DOE requests comment on whether the definitions for 
refrigerator, refrigerator-freezer, and freezer require any revisions--
and if so, how those definitions should be revised. DOE also requests 
feedback on whether the sub-category definitions currently in place are 
appropriate or whether further modifications are needed. If these sub-
category definitions need modifying, DOE seeks specific input on how to 
define these terms.
    Issue A.2 DOE requests comment on whether additional product 
definitions are necessary to close any potential gaps in coverage 
between product types. For example, should the definitions be modified 
to better account for products that maintain compartment temperatures 
above 0 [deg]F or 8 [deg]F but less than 32 [deg]F (i.e., between the 
freezer and refrigerator temperature ranges). DOE also seeks input on 
whether such products currently exist in the market or whether they are 
being planned for introduction. DOE also requests comment on 
opportunities to combine product classes that could reduce regulatory 
burden.

B. Market and Technology Assessment

    The market and technology assessment that DOE routinely conducts 
when analyzing the impacts of a potential new or amended energy 
conservation standard provides information about the consumer 
refrigerator, refrigerator-freezer, and freezer industries that will be 
used in DOE's analysis throughout the rulemaking process. DOE uses 
qualitative and quantitative information to characterize the structure 
of the industry and market. DOE identifies manufacturers, estimates 
market shares and trends, addresses regulatory and non-regulatory 
initiatives intended to improve energy efficiency or reduce energy 
consumption, and explores the potential for efficiency improvements in 
the design and manufacturing of consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-
freezers, and freezers. DOE also reviews product literature, industry 
publications, and company websites. Additionally, DOE considers 
conducting interviews with manufacturers to improve its assessment of 
the market and available technologies for consumer refrigerators, 
refrigerator-freezers, and freezers.
1. Product/Equipment Classes
    When evaluating and establishing energy conservation standards, DOE 
may divide covered products into product classes by the type of energy 
used, or by capacity or other performance-related features that justify 
a different standard. (42 U.S.C. 6295(q)) In making a determination 
whether capacity or another performance-related feature justifies a 
different standard, DOE must consider such factors as the utility of 
the feature to the consumer and other factors DOE deems appropriate. 
Id.
    For consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers, 
the current energy conservation standards specified in 10 CFR 430.32(a) 
are based on 42 product classes determined according to the following 
performance-related features that provide utility to the consumer, in 
terms of the type and quantity of items that may be stored, method of 
access to these items, availability of automatically made ice, defrost 
requirements, and locations where the product may be installed: Type of 
unit (refrigerator, refrigerator-freezer, or freezer), total 
refrigerated volume (standard or compact), defrost system (manual, 
partial automatic, or automatic), presence of through-the-door 
(``TTD'') ice service, presence of an automatic icemaker, intended 
installation (i.e., built-in or freestanding), and configuration of 
compartments and doors. Table II.1 lists the current 42 product classes 
for consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers.

  Table II.1--Current Consumer Refrigerator, Refrigerator-Freezer, and
                         Freezer Product Classes
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           Product class
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.......................  Refrigerator-freezers and refrigerators other
                           than all-refrigerators with manual defrost.
1A......................  All-refrigerators--manual defrost.
2.......................  Refrigerator-freezers--partial automatic
                           defrost.
3.......................  Refrigerator-freezers--automatic defrost with
                           top-mounted freezer without an automatic
                           icemaker.
3-BI....................  Built-in refrigerator-freezer--automatic
                           defrost with top-mounted freezer without an
                           automatic icemaker.
3I......................  Refrigerator-freezers--automatic defrost with
                           top-mounted freezer with an automatic
                           icemaker without through-the-door ice
                           service.
3I-BI...................  Built-in refrigerator-freezers--automatic
                           defrost with top-mounted freezer with an
                           automatic icemaker without through-the-door
                           ice service.
3A......................  All-refrigerators--automatic defrost.
3A-BI...................  Built-in all-refrigerators--automatic defrost.
4.......................  Refrigerator-freezers--automatic defrost with
                           side-mounted freezer without an automatic
                           icemaker.
4-BI....................  Built-in refrigerator-freezers--automatic
                           defrost with side-mounted freezer without an
                           automatic icemaker.
4I......................  Refrigerator-freezers--automatic defrost with
                           side-mounted freezer with an automatic
                           icemaker without through-the-door ice
                           service.
4I-BI...................  Built-in refrigerator-freezers--automatic
                           defrost with side-mounted freezer with an
                           automatic icemaker without through-the-door
                           ice service.
5.......................  Refrigerator-freezers--automatic defrost with
                           bottom-mounted freezer without an automatic
                           icemaker.
5-BI....................  Built-in refrigerator-freezers--automatic
                           defrost with bottom-mounted freezer without
                           an automatic icemaker.
5I......................  Refrigerator-freezers--automatic defrost with
                           bottom-mounted freezer with an automatic
                           icemaker without through-the-door ice
                           service.
5I-BI...................  Built-in refrigerator-freezers--automatic
                           defrost with bottom-mounted freezer with an
                           automatic icemaker without through-the-door
                           ice service.
5A......................  Refrigerator-freezer--automatic defrost with
                           bottom-mounted freezer with through-the-door
                           ice service.
5A-BI...................  Built-in refrigerator-freezer--automatic
                           defrost with bottom-mounted freezer with
                           through-the-door ice service.
6.......................  Refrigerator-freezers--automatic defrost with
                           top-mounted freezer with through-the-door ice
                           service.
7.......................  Refrigerator-freezers--automatic defrost with
                           side-mounted freezer with through-the-door
                           ice service.
7-BI....................  Built-in refrigerator-freezers--automatic
                           defrost with side-mounted freezer with
                           through-the-door ice service.
8.......................  Upright freezers with manual defrost.
9.......................  Upright freezers with automatic defrost
                           without an automatic icemaker.
9I......................  Upright freezers with automatic defrost with
                           an automatic icemaker.
9-BI....................  Built-in upright freezers with automatic
                           defrost without an automatic icemaker.
9I-BI...................  Built-in upright freezers with automatic
                           defrost with an automatic icemaker.

[[Page 62474]]

 
10......................  Chest freezers and all other freezers except
                           compact freezers.
10A.....................  Chest freezers with automatic defrost.
11......................  Compact refrigerator-freezers and
                           refrigerators other than all-refrigerators
                           with manual defrost.
11A.....................  Compact all-refrigerators--manual defrost.
12......................  Compact refrigerator-freezers--partial
                           automatic defrost.
13......................  Compact refrigerator-freezers--automatic
                           defrost with top-mounted freezer.
13I.....................  Compact refrigerator-freezers--automatic
                           defrost with top-mounted freezer with an
                           automatic icemaker.
13A.....................  Compact all-refrigerators--automatic defrost.
14......................  Compact refrigerator-freezers--automatic
                           defrost with side-mounted freezer.
14I.....................  Compact refrigerator-freezers--automatic
                           defrost with side-mounted freezer with an
                           automatic icemaker.
15......................  Compact refrigerator-freezers--automatic
                           defrost with bottom-mounted freezer.
15I.....................  Compact refrigerator-freezers--automatic
                           defrost with bottom-mounted freezer with an
                           automatic icemaker.
16......................  Compact upright freezers with manual defrost.
17......................  Compact upright freezers with automatic
                           defrost.
18......................  Compact chest freezers.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For products with an automatic icemaker, DOE's test procedures 
specify a constant energy-use adder of 84 kilowatt-hours per year 
(``kWh/year''), which represents the annual energy consumed by 
automatic icemakers in consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, 
and freezers. With this constant adder, the standard levels for product 
classes with an automatic icemaker are equal to the standards of their 
counterparts without an icemaker plus the 84 kWh/year. Because the 
standards for the product classes with and without automatic icemakers 
are effectively the same, except for the constant adder, there may be 
an opportunity to merge product classes to limit the total number of 
overall product classes for consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-
freezers, and freezers. The energy consumption associated with 
automatic icemaking could then be incorporated into product labeling 
rather than the energy conservation standard.
    In the most recent energy conservation standards rulemaking for 
consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers, DOE 
considered combining certain product classes that include products with 
similar features and operation. Specifically, DOE sought feedback on 
combining product classes 1 and 2, and product classes 11 and 12. 75 FR 
59470, 59493-59494 (Sep. 27, 2010). DOE received mixed feedback on this 
issue, with comments responding to the NOPR for that rulemaking 
generally favoring the continued separation of these product classes. 
As a result, DOE did not merge these product classes in the 2011 Final 
Rule. 76 FR 57516, 57536 (Sept. 15, 2011).
    Issue B.1 DOE requests feedback on the current consumer 
refrigerator, refrigerator-freezer, and freezer product classes and 
whether changes to these individual product classes and their 
descriptions should be made or whether certain classes should be merged 
or separated (e.g., combining separate product classes equipped with 
and without automatic icemakers or combining certain classes, such as 
product classes 1 and 2, or product classes 11 and 12). DOE further 
requests feedback on whether combining certain classes could impact 
product utility by eliminating any performance-related features or 
impact the stringency of the current energy conservation standard for 
these products. DOE also requests comment on separating any of the 
existing product classes and whether it would impact product utility by 
eliminating any performance-related features or reduce any compliance 
burdens.
    DOE is also aware that new configurations and features are 
available for consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and 
freezers that may not have been available at the time of the last 
energy conservation standards analysis. Products with multiple 
compartments, some of which may be intended for storing certain types 
of food or beverages rather than general fresh food and freezer 
compartments, may have different energy performance compared to typical 
product setups. Additionally, product features such as accessible door 
storage and connected functions may affect product performance compared 
to those without such features.
    Issue B.2 DOE seeks information regarding any other new product 
classes it should consider for inclusion in its analysis. Specifically, 
DOE requests information on the performance-related features (e.g., 
connected functionality, door-in-door designs, display screens, etc.) 
that provide unique consumer utility and data detailing the 
corresponding impacts on energy use that would justify separate product 
classes (i.e., explanation for why the presence of these performance-
related features would increase energy consumption).
2. Technology Assessment
    In analyzing the feasibility of potential new or amended energy 
conservation standards, DOE uses information about existing and past 
technology options and prototype designs to help identify technologies 
that manufacturers could use to meet and/or exceed a given set of 
energy conservation standards under consideration. In consultation with 
interested parties, DOE intends to develop a list of technologies to 
consider in its analysis. That analysis will likely include a number of 
the technology options DOE previously considered during its most recent 
rulemaking for consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and 
freezers. A complete list of those prior options appears in Table II.2. 
As certain technologies have progressed since the 2011 Final Rule, 
Table II.3 lists newer technology options that DOE may also consider in 
a future consumer refrigerator, refrigerator-freezer, and freezer 
rulemaking.

[[Page 62475]]



    Table II.2--Previously Considered Technology Options for Consumer
 Refrigerators, Refrigerator-Freezers, and Freezers From the 2011 Final
                                  Rule
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Insulation:                              Fans and Fan Motor:
    Improved resistivity of insulation      Evaporator fan and fan motor
                                             improvements
    Increased insulation thickness          Condenser fan and fan motor
                                             improvements
    Vacuum-insulated panels (VIPs)       Expansion Valve:
    Gas-filled panels                       Improved expansion valves
Gasket and Door Design:                  Cycling Losses:
    Improved gaskets                        Fluid control or solenoid
                                             valve
    Double door gaskets                  Defrost System:
    Improved door face frame                Reduced energy for automatic
                                             defrost
    Reduced heat load for TTD feature       Adaptive defrost
Anti-Sweat Heater:                          Condenser hot gas
    Condenser hot gas                    Control System:
    Electric heater sizing                  Temperature control
    Electric heater controls                Air-distribution control
Compressor:                              Other Technologies:
    Improved compressor efficiency          Alternative refrigerants
    Variable-speed compressors              Component location
    Linear compressors                   Alternative Refrigeration
                                          Cycles/Systems:
Evaporator:                                 Lorenz-Meutzner cycle
    Increased surface area                  Dual-loop system
    Improved heat exchange                  Two-stage system
Condenser:                                  Control valve system
    Increased surface area                  Ejector refrigerator
    Improved heat exchange                  Tandem system
    Forced-convection condenser             Stirling cycle *
                                            Thermoelectric *
                                            Thermoacoustic *
------------------------------------------------------------------------
* DOE's definitions for refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and
  freezers exclude products that do not include compressor and condenser
  units as an integral part of the cabinet assembly. 10 CFR 430.2.
  Therefore, because these options do not meet this requirement, DOE is
  not seeking information on these refrigeration technologies as part of
  this RFI.


     Table II.3--New Technology Options for Consumer Refrigerators,
                   Refrigerator-Freezers, and Freezers
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Insulation:                              Evaporator:
    Improved VIPs                           Sequential dual evaporator
    Improved blowing agents              Condenser:
Compressor:                                 Heat-storage condenser with
                                             phase change materials
    Large compressors with phase change     Condensers with microchannel
     material                                heat exchangers
    Solid state thermal cooling          Other Technologies:.
     technology
    Inert blowing fluid CO2                 Alternative refrigerants--
                                             e.g., propane, isobutane
                                            Door-in-door design
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Issue B.3 DOE seeks information on the technologies listed in Table 
II.2 regarding their applicability to the current market and how these 
technologies may impact the efficiency of consumer refrigerators, 
refrigerator-freezers, and freezers as measured according to the DOE 
test procedure. DOE also seeks information on how these technologies 
may have changed since they were considered in the 2011 Final Rule 
analysis. Specifically, DOE seeks information on the range of 
efficiencies or performance characteristics that are currently 
available for each technology option.
    Issue B.4 DOE seeks information on the technologies listed in Table 
II.3 regarding their market adoption, costs, and any concerns with 
incorporating them into products (e.g., impacts on consumer utility, 
potential safety concerns, manufacturing/production/implementation 
issues, etc.).
    Issue B.5 DOE seeks information on the availability of improved 
insulation for consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and 
freezers, specifically on the use of polyurethane (``PU'') foam and 
VIPs. At the time of the 2011 Final Rule, vendors indicated that there 
was ongoing work with PU foam insulation that may lead to improvements 
in insulation performance. DOE seeks any information on the current and 
projected future status of improved PU foam insulation as a viable 
design option for the products at issue, and whether improved PU foam 
insulation has entered the market. During the 2011 Final Rule analysis, 
DOE noted that manufacturers had varying levels of success implementing 
VIPs into their products. DOE also seeks information on what advances, 
if any, the insulation and consumer refrigerator, refrigerator-freezer, 
and freezer industries have made with respect to the incorporation of 
VIP technologies.
    Issue B.6 DOE seeks comment on other technology options that it 
should consider for inclusion in its analysis and if these technologies 
may impact product features or consumer utility.
    In October 2016, the 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal 
Protocol adopted the Kigali Amendment to reduce consumption and 
production of hydrofluorocarbons (``HFCs''). The Kigali Amendment 
entered into force on January 1, 2019, for those parties who have 
ratified the Amendment by that time.\6\ On December 1, 2016, the 
Environmental Protection Agency (``EPA'') published a final rule in the 
Federal Register under its Significant New Alternatives Policy 
(``SNAP'') program that, amongst other things, changed the status from 
acceptable to unacceptable of certain HFC-based refrigerants (e.g., R-
134a) commonly

[[Page 62476]]

used in consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers as 
of January 1, 2021. 81 FR 86778. The validity of that approach, 
however, has been the subject of a legal challenge regarding EPA's use 
of its SNAP authority to require manufacturers to replace HFCs with a 
substitute substance and the December 2016 SNAP rule was partially 
vacated by the court.\7\ On August 8, 2018, the EPA published a 
separate final rule under its SNAP program that modified the use 
conditions for three flammable refrigerants used in household 
refrigerators, freezers, and combination refrigerators and freezers. 83 
FR 38969. This rule, among other modifications, increased the allowable 
charge limits for propane and isobutane when used in consumer 
refrigeration products.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ https://ozone.unep.org/sites/default/files/2019-07/MP_Handbook_2019.pdf.
    \7\ In August 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District 
of Columbia Circuit vacated and remanded a July 2015 EPA final rule 
(80 FR 42870 (July 20, 2015)) to the extent that it required 
manufacturers to replace HFCs with a substitute substance. See 
Mexichem Fluor, Inc. v. EPA, 866 F.3d 451 (D.C. Cir. 2017); cert. 
denied 139 S.Ct. 322 (Oct. 9, 2018). Subsequent to the decision in 
the Mexichem case, the court vacated the December 2016 EPA final 
rule to the extent it requires manufacturers to replace HFCs that 
were previously and lawfully installed as substitutes for ozone-
depleting substances. Case No. 17-1024 (D.C. Cir. April 5, 2019). 
DOE will consider the potential impact, if any, of the court's 
decisions and remand on the products addressed by this RFI.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    DOE understands that, while the United States has not yet ratified 
the Kigali Amendment, a significant portion of refrigerators, 
refrigerator-freezers, and freezers currently use HFC-based 
refrigerants and may become affected by this Amendment to the Montreal 
Protocol. DOE plans to account for the impacts, if any, from this 
Amendment and the SNAP regulations on the consumer refrigerator, 
refrigerator-freezer, and freezer markets addressed by this RFI in each 
of the analytical cases that DOE routinely examines, including the no-
new-standards analytical case (i.e., without an amended energy 
conservation standard).
    Issue B.7 DOE seeks information related to alternative HFC-free 
refrigerants, including propane and isobutane. Specifically, DOE seeks 
information on the availability of such refrigerants and their 
applicability and/or penetration in the current market (including 
whether charge limits or safety standards (for example, Underwriter's 
Laboratory's (``UL'') Standard 60335-2-24, ``Safety Requirements for 
Household and Similar Electrical Appliances, Part 2: Particular 
Requirements for Refrigerating Appliances, Ice-Cream Appliances and 
Ice-Makers'' (2nd Edition, April 28, 2017)) would restrict their use). 
DOE also requests information on which alternative refrigerant is the 
most appropriate substitute for R-134a and why.
    Issue B.8 DOE requests information and data on the fractional 
change in efficiency and cost associated with converting an HFC-based 
refrigerator, refrigerator-freezer, or freezer to an HFC-free 
refrigerator, refrigerator-freezer, or freezer (both per-unit costs and 
conversion costs). DOE also seeks feedback on whether the conversion to 
HFC-free refrigeration systems would affect the availability of any 
product features (e.g., volumes, configurations, etc.) Additionally, if 
the use of HFC refrigerants were to remain an available option to 
manufacturers, would this factor impact the efficiency and related 
costs of these products relative to products that rely on HFC-free 
refrigerants? If so, how? What would the extent of these efficiency and 
cost impacts be?
    Issue B.9 DOE also requests data on the current and historical 
(past five years) fraction of HFC-free sales by product type (e.g., 
top-mount, side-mount, and bottom-mount refrigerator-freezers, or 
upright and chest freezers).

C. Screening Analysis

    The purpose of the screening analysis is to evaluate the 
technologies that improve equipment efficiency to determine which 
technologies will be eliminated from further consideration and which 
will be passed to the engineering analysis for further consideration.
    DOE determines whether to eliminate certain technology options from 
further consideration based on the following criteria:
    (1) Technological feasibility. Technologies that are not 
incorporated in commercial products or in working prototypes will not 
be considered further.
    (2) Practicability to manufacture, install, and service. If it is 
determined that mass production of a technology in commercial products 
and reliable installation and servicing of the technology could not be 
achieved on the scale necessary to serve the relevant market at the 
time of the effective date of the standard, then that technology will 
not be considered further.
    (3) Impacts on equipment utility or equipment availability. If a 
technology is determined to have significant adverse impact on the 
utility of the equipment to significant subgroups of consumers, or 
result in the unavailability of any covered equipment type with 
performance characteristics (including reliability), features, sizes, 
capacities, and volumes that are substantially the same as equipment 
generally available in the United States at the time, it will not be 
considered further.\8\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ For example, in the previous rulemaking for refrigerators, 
refrigerator-freezers, and freezers, DOE did not consider cabinet 
wall thickness increases for some product classes due to the 
associated utility impact. See Chapter 4 of the technical support 
document for the 2011 Final Rule.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (4) Adverse impacts on health or safety. If it is determined that a 
technology will have significant adverse impacts on health or safety, 
it will not be considered further.
    10 CFR part 430, subpart C, appendix A, 4(a)(4) and 5(b).
    Technology options identified in the technology assessment are 
evaluated against these criteria using DOE analyses and inputs from 
interested parties (e.g., manufacturers, trade organizations, and 
energy efficiency advocates). Technologies that pass through the 
screening analysis are referred to as ``design options'' in the 
engineering analysis. Technology options that fail to meet one or more 
of the four criteria are eliminated from consideration.
    Table II.4 summarizes the screened out technology options, and the 
applicable screening criteria, from the 2011 Final Rule.

[[Page 62477]]



                 Table II.4--Previously Screened Out Technology Options From the 2011 Final Rule
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                         EPCA Criteria (X = basis for screening out)
                                           ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             Practicability to
        Screened technology option           Technological      manufacture,     Adverse impact  Adverse impacts
                                              feasibility       install, and       on product     on health and
                                                                  service           utility           safety
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Improved PU Insulation Resistivity........               X
Gas-Filled Panels.........................               X                  X
Improved Gaskets, Double Gaskets, Improved                                  X                X
 Door Frame...............................
Linear Compressors........................               X
Improved Heat Exchange....................               X                                   X
Component Location........................                                  X                X                X
Lorenz-Meutzner Cycle.....................               X                  X
Two-Stage System..........................               X                  X
Control Valve System and Tandem System....               X                  X
Ejector Refrigerator......................               X                  X
Stirling Cycle *..........................               X                  X
Thermoelectric*...........................               X                  X
Thermoacoustic *..........................               X                  X
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* As stated in the note to Table II.2, DOE's definitions for refrigerator, refrigerator-freezer, and freezer
  exclude products without compressor and condenser units as an integral part of the cabinet assembly, so DOE
  would not consider these technology options in a future energy conservation standards rulemaking.

    Issue C.1 DOE requests feedback on what impact, if any, the four 
screening criteria described in this section would have on each of the 
technology options listed in Table II.2 and Table II.3 with respect to 
consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers. Similarly, 
DOE seeks information regarding how these same criteria would affect 
any other technology options not already identified in this document 
with respect to their potential use in refrigerators, refrigerator-
freezers, and freezers.
    Issue C.2 With respect to the screened out technology options 
listed in Table II.4, DOE seeks information on whether these options 
would, based on current and projected assessments regarding each of 
them, remain screened out under the four screening criteria described 
in this section. With respect to each of these technology options, what 
steps, if any, could be (or have already been) taken to facilitate the 
introduction of each option as a means to improve the energy 
performance of consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and 
freezers and the potential to impact consumer utility of the 
refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers.

D. Engineering Analysis

    The engineering analysis estimates the cost-efficiency relationship 
of products at different levels of increased energy efficiency 
(``efficiency levels''). This relationship serves as the basis for the 
cost-benefit calculations for consumers, manufacturers, and the Nation. 
In determining the cost-efficiency relationship, DOE estimates the 
increase in manufacturer production cost (``MPC'') associated with 
increasing the efficiency of products above the baseline, up to the 
maximum technologically feasible (``max-tech'') efficiency level for 
each product class.
    DOE historically has used the following three methodologies to 
generate incremental manufacturing costs and establish efficiency 
levels (``ELs'') for analysis: (1) The design-option approach, which 
provides the incremental costs of adding to a baseline model design 
options that will improve its efficiency; (2) the efficiency-level 
approach, which provides the relative costs of achieving increases in 
energy efficiency levels, without regard to the particular design 
options used to achieve such increases; and (3) the cost-assessment (or 
reverse engineering) approach, which provides ``bottom-up'' 
manufacturing cost assessments for achieving various levels of 
increased efficiency, based on detailed data as to costs for parts and 
material, labor, shipping/packaging, and investment for models that 
operate at particular efficiency levels.
1. Baseline Efficiency Levels
    For each established product class, DOE selects a baseline model as 
a reference point against which any changes resulting from energy 
conservation standards can be measured. The baseline model in each 
product class represents the characteristics of common or typical 
products in that class. Typically, a baseline model is one that meets 
the current minimum energy conservation standards and provides basic 
consumer utility.
    If it determines that a rulemaking is necessary, consistent with 
this analytical approach, DOE tentatively plans to consider the current 
minimum energy conservations standards (which went into effect 
September 15, 2014) to establish the baseline efficiency levels for 
each product class. The current standards for each product class are 
based on the maximum allowable annual energy use in kWh/year and 
determined according to an equation using the product's calculated 
adjusted volume (``AV'') in cubic feet (``ft\3\''). The current 
standards for consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and 
freezers are found in 10 CFR 430.32(a).
    Issue D.1 DOE requests feedback on whether using the current 
established energy conservation standards for consumer refrigerators, 
refrigerator-freezers, and freezers are appropriate baseline efficiency 
levels for DOE to apply to each product class in evaluating whether to 
amend the current energy conservation standards for these products. DOE 
requests data and suggestions to evaluate the baseline efficiency 
levels in order to better evaluate amending energy conservation 
standards for these products.
    Issue D.2 DOE requests feedback on the appropriate baseline 
efficiency levels for any newly analyzed product classes that are not 
currently in place or for the contemplated combined product classes, as 
discussed in section II.B.1 of this document. For newly analyzed 
product classes, DOE requests energy use data to develop a baseline

[[Page 62478]]

relationship between energy use and adjusted volume.
2. Maximum Available and Maximum Technology Levels
    As part of DOE's analysis, the maximum available efficiency level 
is the highest efficiency unit currently available on the market. For 
the 2011 Final Rule, DOE did not analyze all 42 consumer refrigerator, 
refrigerator-freezer, and freezer product classes. Rather, DOE focused 
on 11 product classes. Seven of the 11 analyzed product classes 
represented over 90 percent of product shipments in the market at the 
time of the analysis. See 76 FR 57516, 57530 and chapter 2 of the 
preliminary analysis technical support document (``TSD'') for that 
rulemaking. The current maximum available efficiencies for these 11 
analyzed product classes are included in Table II.5.

        Table II.5--Maximum Efficiency Levels Currently Available
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           Rated energy
                                          use percentage
              Product class                below maximum     Adjusted
                                             allowable    volume (ft\3\)
                                               limit
------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.......................................              14              17
5.......................................              32              13
7.......................................              28              32
9.......................................              25              24
10......................................              17              18
11......................................              22               3
18......................................              26              12
3A-BI...................................              37              12
5-BI....................................              17              11
7-BI....................................               9      32, 33, 37
9I-BI...................................              25              28
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: DOE Compliance Certification Database (as of April 9, 2019).

    DOE defines a max-tech efficiency level to represent the 
theoretical maximum possible efficiency if all available design options 
are incorporated in a product. In many cases, the max-tech efficiency 
level is not commercially available because it is not economically 
feasible. In the 2011 Final Rule, DOE determined max-tech efficiency 
levels using energy modeling. These energy models were based on use of 
all design options applicable to the specific product classes. While 
these product configurations had not likely been tested as prototypes, 
all of the individual design options had been incorporated in available 
products.
    Issue D.3 DOE seeks input and data that would allow it to evaluate 
the appropriateness and technological feasibility of the maximum 
available efficiency levels for potential consideration as possible 
energy conservation standards for the products at issue. DOE also 
requests feedback on whether the maximum available efficiencies 
presented in Table II.5 are representative of those for the other 
consumer refrigerator, refrigerator-freezer, and freezer product 
classes not directly analyzed in the 2011 Final Rule. If the range of 
possible efficiencies is different for the other product classes not 
directly analyzed, DOE requests alternative approaches that should be 
considered for those product classes and data and information to 
support use of the alternative.
    Issue D.4 DOE seeks feedback on what design options would be 
incorporated at a max-tech efficiency level, and the efficiencies 
associated with those levels. As part of this request, DOE also seeks 
information as to whether there are limitations on the use of certain 
combinations of design options.
3. Manufacturer Production Costs and Manufacturing Selling Price
    As described at the beginning of this section, the main outputs of 
the engineering analysis are cost-efficiency relationships that 
describe the estimated increases in manufacturer production cost 
associated with higher-efficiency products for the analyzed product 
classes. For the 2011 Final Rule, DOE developed the cost-efficiency 
relationships by estimating the efficiency improvements and costs 
associated with incorporating specific design options into the assumed 
baseline model for each analyzed product class.
    Issue D.5 DOE requests feedback on how manufacturers would 
incorporate the technology options listed in Table II.2 and Table II.3 
to increase energy efficiency in consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-
freezers, and freezers beyond the baseline. This includes information 
on the order in which manufacturers would incorporate the different 
technologies to incrementally improve the efficiencies of products. DOE 
also requests feedback on whether the increased energy efficiency would 
lead to other design changes that would not occur otherwise. DOE is 
also interested in information regarding any potential impact of design 
options on a manufacturer's ability to incorporate additional functions 
or attributes in response to consumer demand.
    Issue D.6 DOE also seeks input on the increase in MPC associated 
with incorporating each particular design option. Specifically, DOE is 
interested in whether and how the costs estimated for design options in 
the 2011 Final Rule have changed since the time of that analysis. DOE 
also requests information on the investments necessary to incorporate 
specific design options, including, but not limited to, costs related 
to new or modified tooling (if any), materials, engineering and 
development efforts to implement each design option, and manufacturing/
production impacts.
    Issue D.7 DOE requests comment on whether certain design options 
may not be applicable to (or are incompatible with) specific product 
classes.
    As described in section II.D.2 of this document, DOE analyzed 11 
product classes in the 2011 Final Rule. DOE developed cost-efficiency 
curves for each of these product classes that were used as the input 
for the downstream analyses conducted in support of that rulemaking. 
See chapter 5 of the 2011 Final Rule TSD for the cost-efficiency curves 
developed in that rulemaking.

[[Page 62479]]

    Issue D.8 DOE seeks feedback on whether the approach of analyzing a 
sub-set of product classes is appropriate for a future consumer 
refrigerator, refrigerator-freezer, and freezer energy conservation 
standards rulemaking. DOE requests comment on whether it is necessary 
to individually analyze all 11 product classes used in the 2011 Final 
Rule. For example, analysis on the built-in product classes may not be 
necessary if the analysis on the corresponding freestanding product 
classes is applicable to both product classes. Additionally, DOE 
requests data and suggestions to evaluate the approach used to apply 
the analyzed product class results to other product classes. For 
example, if it is necessary to individually analyze more than 11 
product classes used in the 2011 Final Rule, DOE requests information 
on why aggregating certain products is not appropriate. If this 
approach is not appropriate, DOE requests alternative approaches and 
data and information that would support the use of the alternative.\9\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ See chapter 2, section 2.15 in the preliminary analysis TSD 
published during the rulemaking process leading to the 2011 Final 
Rule, document #22 on regulations.gov in docket ID EERE-2008-BT-STD-
0012.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To account for manufacturers' non-production costs and profit 
margin, DOE applies a non-production cost multiplier (the manufacturer 
markup) to the MPC. The resulting manufacturer selling price (``MSP'') 
is the price at which the manufacturer distributes a unit into 
commerce. For the 2011 Final Rule, DOE used a manufacturer markup of 
1.26 for all non-built-in products and a manufacturer markup of 1.40 
for built-in products. See chapter 6 of the 2011 Final Rule TSD.
    Issue D.9 DOE requests feedback on whether manufacturer markups of 
1.26 and 1.40 are appropriate for non-built-in and built-in products, 
respectively.

E. Distribution Channels

    In generating end-user price inputs for the life-cycle cost 
(``LCC'') analysis and national impact analysis (``NIA''), DOE must 
identify distribution channels (i.e., how the products are distributed 
from the manufacturer to the consumer), and estimate relative sales 
volumes through each channel. In the 2011 Final Rule, DOE only 
accounted for the retail outlets distribution channel because data from 
the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (``AHAM'') 2005 Fact 
Book indicates that the overwhelming majority of residential appliances 
were sold through retail outlets. In that rulemaking, DOE did not 
include a separate distribution channel for refrigeration products 
included as part of a new home because DOE did not have enough 
information to characterize which of these products were ``pre-
installed'' by builders in these new homes. Should sufficient 
information become available, DOE may consider including a separate 
distribution channel that includes a contractor in addition to the 
existing retail outlets distribution channel.
    Issue E.1 DOE requests information on the existence of any 
distribution channels other than the retail outlet distribution channel 
that are used to distribute the products at issue into the market. DOE 
also requests data on the fraction of full-size consumer refrigerator 
and refrigerator-freezer sales in the residential sector that go 
through both a wholesaler/retailer and a contractor as well as the 
fraction of sales that go through any other identified channels.

F. Energy Use Analysis

    As part of the rulemaking process, DOE conducts an energy use 
analysis to identify how products are used by consumers, and thereby 
determine the energy savings potential of energy efficiency 
improvements. DOE bases the energy consumption of consumer 
refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers on the rated annual 
energy consumption as determined by the DOE test procedure. Along 
similar lines, the energy use analysis is meant to represent typical 
energy consumption in the field.
1. Usage Adjustment Factor
    In the 2011 Final Rule, DOE incorporated a usage adjustment factor 
(``UAF''), which served to correct for differences in a product's 
actual energy use in the field and the product's energy use as 
determined by the DOE test procedure. Average UAFs were calculated for 
each product class, and most product classes incorporated an age-
dependent UAF, and a distribution of UAFs dependent on the average 
outdoor temperature, as well as the number of occupants across the 
household sample in the LCC; additionally, separate UAFs were 
calculated for primary and secondary refrigerators. Since the 
publication of the 2011 Final Rule, DOE amended its test procedure for 
these products. 79 FR 22320 (April 21, 2014).
    Issue F.1 DOE requests feedback and data on whether a product's 
energy use results from the current test procedure accurately reflect 
the product's average energy use in the field, thereby rendering an 
average UAF unnecessary for this rulemaking. If the UAF is still 
necessary, DOE requests data and information to allow it to better 
evaluate the representativeness of the current UAF. DOE also requests 
suggestions and data that would allow DOE to evaluate steps that could 
be taken to bring these two values into closer harmony.
    Issue F.2 DOE also requests feedback and data on how a product's 
energy use changes with age, how the number of occupants in the 
household affects the product's energy use, and whether separate UAFs 
for primary and secondary refrigerator-freezers are necessary.
2. Connected Refrigerators, Refrigerator-Freezers, and Freezers
    DOE is aware of the introduction of internet-connected 
refrigerators and refrigerator-freezers on the market. DOE recently 
published an RFI on the emerging smart technology appliance and 
equipment market. 83 FR 46886 (Sept. 17, 2018). In that RFI, DOE sought 
information to better understand market trends and issues in the 
emerging market for appliances and commercial equipment that 
incorporate smart technology. DOE's intent in issuing the RFI was to 
ensure that DOE did not inadvertently impede such innovation in 
fulfilling its statutory obligations in setting efficiency standards 
for covered products and equipment. Additionally, as discussed in the 
RFI, DOE lacks data regarding consumer use of connected features.
    Issue F.3 DOE requests information and data specific to consumer 
use and the associated power consumption of connected features on 
internet-connected refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers.

G. Repair and Maintenance Costs

    In the 2011 Final Rule, DOE estimated the increase in repair costs 
from using specific technology found in some higher efficiency design 
options; however, DOE excluded maintenance costs from its analysis 
because there was no evidence that maintenance costs change by 
efficiency level. In the 2011 Final Rule analysis, DOE used relative 
component repair rates from a prior rulemaking for commercial 
refrigeration equipment combined with aggregate survey data from 
Consumers Union collected in 2009 to estimate the repair rate by 
product class and efficiency level. To estimate the repair costs, DOE 
used incremental cost models developed in the engineering analysis in 
addition to baseline repair cost data from Best Buy Co., Inc.
    Issue G.1 DOE requests feedback and data on whether maintenance 
costs differ in comparison to the baseline

[[Page 62480]]

maintenance costs for any of the specific technology options listed in 
Table II.2 and Table II.3. To the extent that these costs differ, DOE 
seeks supporting data and the reasons for those differences.
    Issue G.2 DOE requests information and data on the frequency of 
repair and repair costs by product class for the technology options 
listed in Table II.2 and Table II.3. While DOE is interested in 
information regarding each of the listed technology options, DOE is 
particularly interested in the impacts on repair frequencies and costs 
with respect to those products that use VIPs and variable-speed 
compressors. DOE is also interested in whether consumers simply replace 
the products when they fail as opposed to repairing them.

H. Shipments

    DOE develops shipments forecasts of consumer refrigerators, 
refrigerator-freezers, and freezers to calculate the national impacts 
of potential amended energy conservation standards on energy 
consumption, net present value (``NPV''), and future manufacturer cash 
flows. DOE shipments projections are based on available historical data 
broken out by product class, capacity, and efficiency. Current sales 
estimates allow for a more accurate model that captures recent trends 
in the market.
    Issue H.1 DOE requests 2018 annual sales data (i.e., number of 
shipments) for refrigerators with a top-mounted freezer, TTD 
refrigerators with a bottom-mounted freezer, non-TTD refrigerators with 
a bottom-mounted freezer, refrigerators with a side-mounted freezer, 
compact refrigerators, chest freezers, and upright freezers. For each 
category, DOE also requests the fraction of sales that are ENERGY STAR-
qualified.
    Issue H.2 DOE requests 2018 data on the fraction of sales in the 
residential and commercial sector for full-size refrigerators, compact 
refrigerators, and freezers.
    Issue H.3 DOE requests 2018 data on the fraction of sales of full-
size refrigerators, compact refrigerators, and upright freezers that 
are built-in models.
    If disaggregated fractions of annual sales are not available at the 
product type level, DOE requests more aggregated fractions of annual 
sales at the category level.
    Issue H.4 If available, DOE requests the same information for the 
previous five years (2013-2017).
    Issue H.5 DOE requests available 2018 sales data on the fraction of 
full-size refrigerator sales by technology for the technology options 
listed in Table II.2 and Table II.3, and in particular, for VIPs and 
variable-speed compressors. DOE also requests information on any 
expected market trends in the popularity of those technology options.
    Issue H.6 DOE requests data and information on any trends in the 
refrigeration market that could be used to forecast expected trends in 
product class market share, as well as market share of efficiency 
levels within each product class. DOE also requests data and 
information on the existence of price learning for refrigeration 
products, which could impact market shares over the analysis period.
    Issue H.7 DOE has identified several new features, such as door-in-
door configuration and ``smart'' internet-connected refrigerators, 
which may impact total energy consumption. DOE requests input on any 
expected market trends for such features.
    Issue H.8 An initial analysis of data from the Residential Energy 
Consumption Surveys (``RECSs'') from 1993-2015 indicates that consumers 
are purchasing higher-capacity refrigerators over time. For example, 
estimates show that purchases of refrigerators greater than or equal to 
22.6 cubic feet rose from 10 percent to 50 percent of the market from 
2000 to 2015. In the same time period, sales of refrigerators less than 
17.6 cubic feet decreased from 43 percent to 6 percent of the market. 
DOE seeks data and information on whether the trend towards increased 
sales of higher-capacity units has continued through 2018 or has 
leveled off. If the trend has continued, DOE requests data on which 
capacities have seen significant changes from 2009 to 2018 and by how 
much. DOE requests input on expected capacity market trends over the 
next 5 years. Additionally, DOE requests feedback on the drivers of 
this market shift towards larger-capacity refrigerators.
    Issue H.9 In the 2011 Final Rule, DOE developed a lifetime model 
for standard-size refrigerator-freezers, standard-size freezers, and 
compact refrigeration products. In addition, DOE derived a conversion 
function to model the conversion from primary to secondary 
refrigerator-freezers. The mean lifetimes were 17.4 years, 22.3 years, 
5.6 years, and 7.5 years for standard-size refrigerator-freezers, 
standard-size freezers, compact refrigerators, and compact freezers, 
respectively. The primary-to-secondary conversion model indicated that 
5.6 percent of standard-size refrigerator-freezer shipments are sold as 
new secondary units and that roughly 1.5 percent of surviving 
refrigerator-freezers are converted from primary to secondary each 
year. Because the conversion and lifetime models affect the shipments 
analysis (as well as the LCC and payback period (``PBP'') analyses), 
DOE requests data and information to inform the average lifetime of 
refrigeration products and the conversion of primary to secondary 
refrigerator-freezers.

I. Manufacturer Impact Analysis

    The purpose of the manufacturer impact analysis (``MIA'') is to 
estimate the financial impact of amended energy conservation standards 
on manufacturers of consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and 
freezers, and to evaluate the potential impact of such standards on 
direct employment and manufacturing capacity. The MIA includes both 
quantitative and qualitative aspects. The quantitative part of the MIA 
primarily relies on the Government Regulatory Impact Model (``GRIM''), 
an industry cash-flow model adapted for each product in this 
rulemaking, with the key output of industry net present value 
(``INPV''). The qualitative part of the MIA addresses the potential 
impacts of energy conservation standards on manufacturing capacity and 
industry competition, as well as factors such as product 
characteristics, impacts on particular subgroups of firms, and 
important market and product trends.
    As part of the MIA, DOE intends to analyze impacts of amended 
energy conservation standards on subgroups of manufacturers of covered 
products, such as small business manufacturers. DOE intends to use the 
Small Business Administration's (``SBA'') small business size standards 
to determine whether manufacturers qualify as small businesses, which 
are listed by the applicable North American Industry Classification 
System (``NAICS'') code.\10\ Manufacturing of consumer refrigerators, 
refrigerator-freezers, and freezers is classified under NAICS 335220, 
``Major Household Appliance Manufacturing,'' and the SBA sets a 
threshold of 1,500 employees or less for a domestic entity to be 
considered as a small business. This employee threshold includes all 
employees in a business' parent company and any other subsidiaries.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \10\ Available online at: https://www.sba.gov/document/support--
table-size-standards.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    One aspect of assessing manufacturer burden involves looking at the 
cumulative impact of multiple DOE standards and the product-specific 
regulatory actions of other Federal agencies that affect the 
manufacturers of a covered product or equipment. While any one 
regulation may not impose a significant burden on manufacturers,

[[Page 62481]]

the combined effects of several existing or impending regulations may 
have serious consequences for some manufacturers, groups of 
manufacturers, or an entire industry. Assessing the impact of a single 
regulation may overlook this cumulative regulatory burden. In addition 
to energy conservation standards, other regulations can significantly 
affect manufacturers' financial operations. Multiple regulations 
affecting the same manufacturer can strain profits and lead companies 
to abandon product lines or markets with lower expected future returns 
than competing products. For these reasons, DOE conducts an analysis of 
cumulative regulatory burden as part of its rulemakings pertaining to 
appliance efficiency.
    Issue I.1 To the extent feasible, DOE seeks the names and contact 
information of any domestic or foreign-based manufacturers that 
distribute consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers 
in the United States.
    Issue I.2 DOE identified small businesses as a subgroup of 
manufacturers that could be disproportionally impacted by amended 
energy conservation standards. DOE requests the names and contact 
information of small business manufacturers, as defined by the SBA's 
size threshold, of consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and 
freezers that distribute products in the United States. In addition, 
DOE requests comment on any other manufacturer subgroups that could be 
disproportionally impacted by amended energy conservation standards. 
DOE requests feedback on any potential approaches that could be 
considered to address impacts on manufacturers, including small 
businesses.
    Issue I.3 DOE requests information regarding the cumulative 
regulatory burden impacts on manufacturers of consumer refrigerators, 
refrigerator-freezers, and freezers associated with (1) other DOE 
standards applying to different products that these manufacturers may 
also make and (2) product-specific regulatory actions of other Federal 
agencies. DOE also requests comment on its methodology for computing 
cumulative regulatory burden and whether there are any flexibilities it 
can consider that would reduce this burden while remaining consistent 
with the requirements of EPCA.

J. Other Energy Conservation Standards Topics

1. Market Failures
    In the field of economics, a market failure is a situation in which 
the market outcome does not maximize societal welfare. DOE welcomes 
comment on any aspect of market failures, especially those in the 
context of amended energy conservation standards for consumer 
refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers.
2. Other
    DOE welcomes comments on other issues relevant to the conduct of 
this rulemaking that may not specifically be identified in this 
document. In particular, DOE seeks comment on whether there have been 
sufficient technological or market changes since the most recent 
standards update that may justify a new rulemaking to consider more 
stringent standards. Specifically, DOE seeks data and information that 
could enable the agency to determine whether a more-stringent standard: 
(1) Would not result in significant additional savings of energy; (2) 
is not technologically feasible; (3) is not economically justified; or 
(4) any combination of the foregoing.
    DOE also notes that under Executive Order 13771, ``Reducing 
Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs,'' Executive Branch 
agencies such as DOE are directed to manage the costs associated with 
the imposition of expenditures required to comply with Federal 
regulations. See 82 FR 9339 (February 3, 2017). Consistent with that 
Executive Order, DOE encourages the public to provide input on measures 
DOE could take to lower the cost of its energy conservation standards 
rulemakings, recordkeeping and reporting requirements, and compliance 
and certification requirements applicable to consumer refrigerators, 
refrigerator-freezers, and freezers while remaining consistent with the 
requirements of EPCA.

III. Submission of Comments

    DOE invites all interested parties to submit in writing by December 
30, 2019, comments and information on matters addressed in this RFI and 
on other matters relevant to DOE's consideration of amended energy 
conservations standards for consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-
freezers, and freezers. After the close of the comment period, DOE will 
review the public comments received any may begin collecting data and 
conducting the analyses discussed in this RFI.
    Submitting comments via http://www.regulations.gov. The http://www.regulations.gov web page requires you to provide your name and 
contact information. Your contact information will be viewable to DOE 
Building Technologies Office staff only. Your contact information will 
not be publicly viewable except for your first and last names, 
organization name (if any), and submitter representative name (if any). 
If your comment is not processed properly because of technical 
difficulties, DOE will use this information to contact you. If DOE 
cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot 
contact you for clarification, DOE may not be able to consider your 
comment.
    However, your contact information will be publicly viewable if you 
include it in the comment or in any documents attached to your comment. 
Any information that you do not want to be publicly viewable should not 
be included in your comment, nor in any document attached to your 
comment. Persons viewing comments will see only first and last names, 
organization names, correspondence containing comments, and any 
documents submitted with the comments.
    Do not submit to http://www.regulations.gov information for which 
disclosure is restricted by statute, such as trade secrets and 
commercial or financial information (hereinafter referred to as 
Confidential Business Information (``CBI'')). Comments submitted 
through http://www.regulations.gov cannot be claimed as CBI. Comments 
received through the website will waive any CBI claims for the 
information submitted. For information on submitting CBI, see the 
Confidential Business Information section.
    DOE processes submissions made through http://www.regulations.gov 
before posting. Normally, comments will be posted within a few days of 
being submitted. However, if large volumes of comments are being 
processed simultaneously, your comment may not be viewable for up to 
several weeks. Please keep the comment tracking number that 
www.regulations.gov provides after you have successfully uploaded your 
comment.
    Submitting comments via email, hand delivery/courier, or postal 
mail. Comments and documents submitted via email, hand delivery/
courier, or postal mail also will be posted to http://www.regulations.gov. If you do not want your personal contact 
information to be publicly viewable, do not include it in your comment 
or any accompanying

[[Page 62482]]

documents. Instead, provide your contact information on a cover letter. 
Include your first and last names, email address, telephone number, and 
optional mailing address. The cover letter will not be publicly 
viewable as long as it does not include any comments.
    Include contact information each time you submit comments, data, 
documents, and other information to DOE. If you submit via postal mail 
or hand delivery/courier, please provide all items on a CD, if 
feasible. It is not necessary to submit printed copies. No 
telefacsimiles (faxes) will be accepted.
    Comments, data, and other information submitted to DOE 
electronically should be provided in PDF (preferred), Microsoft Word or 
Excel, WordPerfect, or text (ASCII) file format. Provide documents that 
are not secured, written in English and free of any defects or viruses. 
Documents should not contain special characters or any form of 
encryption and, if possible, they should carry the electronic signature 
of the author.
    Campaign form letters. Please submit campaign form letters by the 
originating organization in batches of between 50 to 500 form letters 
per PDF or as one form letter with a list of supporters' names compiled 
into one or more PDFs. This reduces comment processing and posting 
time.
    Confidential Business Information. According to 10 CFR 1004.11, any 
person submitting information that he or she believes to be 
confidential and exempt by law from public disclosure should submit via 
email, postal mail, or hand delivery/courier two well-marked copies: 
One copy of the document marked confidential including all the 
information believed to be confidential, and one copy of the document 
marked ``non-confidential'' with the information believed to be 
confidential deleted. Submit these documents via email or on a CD, if 
feasible. DOE will make its own determination about the confidential 
status of the information and treat it according to its determination.
    It is DOE's policy that all comments may be included in the public 
docket, without change and as received, including any personal 
information provided in the comments (except information deemed to be 
exempt from public disclosure).
    DOE considers public participation to be a very important part of 
the process for developing energy conservation standards. DOE actively 
encourages the participation and interaction of the public during the 
comment period in each stage of the rulemaking process. Interactions 
with and between members of the public provide a balanced discussion of 
the issues and assist DOE in the rulemaking process. Anyone who wishes 
to be added to the DOE mailing list to receive future notices and 
information about this process or would like to request a public 
meeting should contact Appliance and Equipment Standards Program staff 
at (202) 287-1445 or via email at 
[email protected].

    Signed in Washington, DC, on October 31, 2019.
Alexander N. Fitzsimmons,
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, Energy 
Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
[FR Doc. 2019-24820 Filed 11-14-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6450-01-P