[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 151 (Friday, August 5, 2011)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 47518-47520]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-19303]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

10 CFR Parts 430 and 431

[Docket Number EERE-2011-BT-NOA-0038]


Energy Conservation Program: Treatment of ``Smart'' Appliances in 
Energy Conservation Standards and Test Procedures

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

ACTION: Request for information (RFI).

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) seeks information and 
comments related to the analytical treatment of ``smart'' appliances in 
the development of DOE's energy conservation standards, as well as in 
test procedures used to demonstrate compliance with DOE's standards and 
qualification as an ENERGY STAR product.

DATES: Written comments and information are requested on or before 
September 6, 2011.

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-2011-BT-
NOA-0038, by any of the following methods:
     E-mail: to SmartApplianceRFI-2011-NOA-0038@ee.doe.gov. 
Include EERE-2011-BT-NOA-0038 in the subject line of the message.
     Mail: Ms. Brenda Edwards, U.S. Department of Energy, 
Building Technologies Program, Mailstop EE-2J, Energy Conservations 
Standards: Treatment of Smart Appliances, EERE-2011-BT-NOA-0038, 1000

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Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121. Phone: (202) 586-
2945. Please submit one signed paper original.
     Hand Delivery/Courier: Ms. Brenda Edwards, U.S. Department 
of Energy, Building Technologies Program, 6th Floor, 950 L'Enfant 
Plaza, SW., Washington, DC 20024. Phone: (202) 586-2945. Please submit 
one signed paper original.
     Instructions: All submissions received must include the 
agency name and docket number for this rulemaking.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents, or 
comments received, go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information 
may be sent to:
    Ms. Ashley Armstrong, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy 
Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Building Technologies Program, EE-2J, 
1000 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121. Telephone: 
202-586-6590. E-mail: Ashley.Armstrong@ee.doe.gov.
    In the office of the General Counsel, contact Ms. Elizabeth Kohl, 
U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the General Counsel, 1000 
Independence Ave., SW., Room 6A-179, Washington, DC 20585. Telephone: 
202-586-7796; E-mail: Elizabeth.Kohl@hq.doe.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In support of its Energy Conservation 
Standards Rulemakings, DOE conducts in-depth technical and economic 
analyses based on publicly reviewed methodologies. The results of these 
analyses determine whether new or amended standards are appropriate, 
and if so, which standard levels should be adopted. DOE continually 
seeks data and public input to improve the methodologies used to 
conduct these important analyses.
    The impact of ``smart'' appliances in the marketplace affects other 
programs as well. On January 6, 2011, several interested parties of 
consumer products, including manufacturers and energy efficiency 
advocates, submitted a joint petition to the ENERGY STAR program 
regarding smart grid enabled appliances. These stakeholders requested 
the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) consider a five percent 
credit to the ENERGY STAR performance level for smart grid enabled 
appliances that can provide demand response. In its response to 
stakeholders, EPA indicated it would continue to work closely with 
stakeholders to consider the opportunity and appropriate timing for 
ENERGY STAR product specifications to address smart grid functionality. 
EPA recently issued a framework document for residential refrigerators, 
which began discussing the possibilities of a 5-percent credit in the 
specification. DOE, as the lead agency for developing test procedures 
for the ENERGY STAR program, will be developing, to the extent 
necessary, test procedures for smart grid capable products. This RFI is 
intended to support DOE's efforts to develop such test procedures and 
solicit feedback on general issues regarding smart appliances within 
the Appliance Standards Program.
    In this RFI, DOE seeks comment on whether and how to consider 
``smart appliances'' in the development of energy conservation 
standards and test procedures for DOE's Appliance Standards Program and 
the ENERGY STAR Program. ``Smart'' features may enable a variety of 
services, including the ability of an appliance to change its normal 
operating behavior in response to a signal from a utility or another 
agent. Typical examples of operating changes include load shifting and 
load shedding in response to a price signal or a grid reliability 
event. Such capabilities could change the energy use profile of the 
appliance in active and/or standby mode and may require modifications 
to DOE's traditional test procedure and energy conservation standards 
analytical framework used during rulemakings.
    In particular, DOE seeks comment and information on the specific 
topics below:

Definitional Issues

    DOE recognizes that the term ``smart appliance'' may be defined 
differently by different parties and is often used to refer to any 
number of capabilities or bundle of capabilities. If DOE were to 
account for the ``smart'' features of appliances in some manner in its 
test procedures and energy conservation standards analyses, it may be 
necessary to define some of these capabilities. Of the potential 
capabilities under the ``smart'' umbrella, some are specific to demand 
response, some to energy efficiency, and some to consumer control or 
preferences. Many features do more than one of these things. Given the 
foregoing, DOE seeks input on the following definitional issues 
regarding ``smart'' appliances.
    In your responses, to the extent possible, please specify whether 
your comments apply to all DOE covered products or to a specific 
product and whether they are meant for the ENERGY STAR Program, the 
Appliance Standards Program, or both.
     How should ``smart'' appliances be defined for the 
purposes of the Appliance Standards Program and ENERGY STAR test 
procedures? It may be useful to subdivide these ``smart'' capabilities 
into several defined categories. Is there a specific subset of features 
or capabilities that should be part of a ``smart appliance'' 
definition?
     Should the definition of a ``smart'' appliance vary based 
on the product type or should it be the same for all DOE covered 
products? Should it require certain minimum qualifications for all 
products (e.g., the ability to shed or shift load) and then have 
additional qualifications on a product-by-product basis?
     Should the definition of ``smart'' appliances include 
requirements for communication capabilities? For example, should it 
specify the use of one of a set of required communication protocols? 
Should the definition require two-way communication capability? If so, 
what data should the appliance be capable of sending and receiving, and 
how frequently?
     Should ``smart'' appliances be required to have any 
specific technical capabilities (maintenance reminders, certain energy 
savings modes, programmable operations, etc.)?
     To what extent is it important that the definition of 
``smart'' appliances be the same for DOE's regulatory Appliance 
Standards Program and the voluntary ENERGY STAR Program?

Test Procedures

    DOE test procedures are fundamental to the Appliance Standards 
Program because they establish the protocols and metrics for measuring 
the energy use or efficiency of products subject to energy conservation 
standards. Incorporating the measurement and verification of ``smart'' 
capabilities into DOE test procedures may add complexity and 
uncertainty to those test procedures, and potentially increase burden 
on manufacturers required to test their products. DOE is therefore 
interested in stakeholder feedback concerning if and how test 
procedures should be amended to measure and verify the capabilities of 
``smart'' appliances. Presumably, these capabilities would be specified 
in the definition of ``smart'' appliances.
     How, if at all, should DOE test procedures be amended to 
accommodate the particular energy-using characteristics of ``smart'' 
appliances?
     Should the portion of a given test procedure that verifies 
the ``smart'' capabilities of the appliance be an ``add-on'' to the 
existing test procedure's structure, which would essentially

[[Page 47520]]

qualify or disqualify the appliance as ``smart?'' In the alternative, 
should the portion of a given test procedure that verifies the 
``smart'' capabilities of the appliance be integrated into the existing 
test procedure and internalized in the outputted metric on a product-
by-product basis?
     The ``smart'' capabilities of an appliance are considered 
as part of a ``network mode.'' IEC 62301 defines network mode(s) as: 
``Any product modes where the energy using product is connected to a 
mains power source and at least one network function is activated (such 
as reactivation via network command or network integrity communication) 
but where the primary function is not active.'' Does this definition 
apply to all covered products and consumer equipment, or would other 
definitions apply more appropriately to certain products or equipment?
     EPCA authorizes DOE to set standards in active, standby, 
and off mode and to amend the EPCA definitions for these modes as 
appropriate for a given product. DOE requests comments on which of 
these three modes should be used to capture ``network'' mode energy 
use, or whether more than one of these modes should be used.
     How do you expect ``smart'' capabilities to change the 
energy use of an appliance in active and standby modes? What is the 
energy use impact of ``network mode'' and how should it be accounted 
for in test procedures?
     How should test procedures deal with various communication 
standards and protocols?

Implications for Energy Conservation Standards Analyses

    DOE recognizes that ``smart'' appliances, however defined, could 
have implications on the economics and energy use of covered products 
analyzed during the energy conservation standards rulemakings.
     What costs and benefits of ``smart'' appliances can and 
should DOE account for within the appliance standards analytical 
framework? DOE seeks information and data that would help quantify such 
costs and benefits.
     DOE requests information and data on how, if at all, 
product and equipment energy usage profiles change when they are 
equipped with ``smart'' capabilities. DOE specifically seeks data 
related to covered products and equipment.
     DOE seeks estimates and underlying assumptions for market 
share penetration estimates of ``smart'' appliances, as well as other 
complementary technologies (such as smart meters) that may be necessary 
to the realization of ``smart appliance'' benefits.
     DOE seeks information and data from pilot programs or 
studies involving ``smart'' appliances. DOE also requests information 
of international voluntary and regulatory programs addressing ``smart'' 
appliances.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on July 22, 2011.
Kathleen Hogan,
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, Office of Technology 
Development, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
[FR Doc. 2011-19303 Filed 8-4-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P