[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 125 (Friday, June 30, 2017)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 29780-29786]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-13803]


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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.

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Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 125 / Friday, June 30, 2017 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 29780]]



DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

10 CFR Parts 429 and 430

[EERE-2017-BT-TP-0004]


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

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'') is initiating a data 
collection process through this request for information to consider 
whether to amend DOE's test procedures for consumer refrigerators, 
refrigerator-freezers, and freezers. To inform interested parties and 
to facilitate this process, DOE has gathered data, identifying several 
issues associated with the currently applicable test procedures on 
which DOE is interested in receiving comment. The issues outlined in 
this document mainly concern testing products with newly-available 
features, the inclusion of automatic icemaker energy use, built-in 
product test configuration, any issues with the current test procedure 
that need to be addressed, and any additional topics that may inform 
DOE's decisions in a future test procedure rulemaking, including 
methods to reduce regulatory burden while ensuring the procedure's 
accuracy. DOE welcomes written comments from the public on any subject 
within the scope of this document (including topics not raised in this 
request for information).

DATES: Written comments and information are requested and will be 
accepted on or before July 31, 2017.

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-
TP-0004, by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Email: To ConsumerRefrigFreezer2017TP0004@ee.doe.gov. 
Include the docket number EERE-2017-BT-TP-0004 in the subject line of 
the message.
     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) 586-6636. If possible, please submit all items on a 
compact disc (CD), in which case it is not necessary to include printed 
copies.
     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) 
586-6636. 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 the 
rulemaking 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 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-0004. The docket Web page will contain 
simple 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: 
ApplianceStandardsQuestions@ee.doe.gov.
    Mr. Michael Kido, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the General 
Counsel, GC-33, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-
0121. Telephone: (202) 586-8145. Email: Michael.Kido@hq.doe.gov.
    For further information on how to submit a comment, review other 
public comments and the docket, or participate in the public meeting, 
contact the Appliance and Equipment Standards Program staff at (202) 
586-6636 or by email: ApplianceStandardsQuestions@ee.doe.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
    A. Authority and Background
    B. Rulemaking History
II. Request for Information and Comments
    A. Features
    1. Door-in-Door Designs
    2. Display Screens and Connected Functions
    B. Icemaking Energy Consumption
    C. Built-In Test Configuration
    D. Test Procedure Clarifications
    1. Thermocouple Configuration for Freezer Drawers
    2. Definitions
    E. AHAM HRF-1 Standard
    F. Other Test Procedure Topics
III. Public Participation

I. Introduction

    Consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers are 
included in the list of ``covered products'' for which DOE is 
authorized to establish and amend energy conservation standards and 
test procedures. (42 U.S.C. 6292(a)(1)) DOE's test procedures for 
consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers are 
prescribed at title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (``CFR'') 
part 430, subpart B, appendices A and B (``Appendices A and B''). The 
following sections discuss DOE's authority to establish and amend test 
procedures for consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and 
freezers, as well as relevant background information regarding DOE's 
consideration of test procedures for these products.

[[Page 29781]]

A. Authority and Background

    The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (``EPCA'' or ``the 
Act''),\1\ Public Law 94-163 (42 U.S.C. 6311-6317, as codified), among 
other things, authorizes DOE to regulate the energy efficiency of a 
number of consumer products and industrial equipment. Title III, part B 
\2\ of EPCA established the Energy Conservation Program for Consumer 
Products Other Than Automobiles, which sets forth a variety of 
provisions designed to improve energy efficiency. These products 
include consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers, 
the subject of this request for information (RFI). (42 U.S.C. 
6292(a)(1))
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    \1\ All references to EPCA in this document refer to the statute 
as amended through the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015 
(EEIA 2015), Public Law 114-11 (April 30, 2015).
    \2\ For editorial reasons, upon codification in the U.S. Code, 
part B was redesignated part A.
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    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 the Act specifically include 
definitions (42 U.S.C. 6291), energy conservation standards (42 U.S.C. 
6295), test procedures (42 U.S.C. 6293), labeling provisions (42 U.S.C. 
6294), 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. (See 
42 U.S.C. 6297) DOE may, however, grant waivers of Federal preemption 
for particular State laws or regulations, in accordance with the 
procedures and other provisions of EPCA. (42 U.S.C. 6316(b)(2)(D))
    The Federal testing requirements consist of test procedures that 
manufacturers of covered products must use as the basis for: (1) 
Certifying to DOE that their products comply with the applicable energy 
conservation standards adopted pursuant to EPCA (42 U.S.C. 6295(s)), 
and (2) making representations about the efficiency of those consumer 
products (42 U.S.C. 6293(c)). Similarly, DOE must use these test 
procedures to determine whether the products comply with relevant 
standards promulgated under EPCA. (42 U.S.C. 6295(s))
    Under 42 U.S.C. 6293, EPCA sets forth the criteria and procedures 
DOE must follow when prescribing or amending test procedures for 
covered products. EPCA requires that any test procedures prescribed or 
amended under this section be reasonably designed to produce test 
results which measure energy efficiency, energy use or estimated annual 
operating cost of a covered product during a representative average use 
cycle or period of use and not be unduly burdensome to conduct. (42 
U.S.C. 6293(b)(3))
    In addition, if DOE determines that a test procedure amendment is 
warranted, it must publish proposed test procedures and offer the 
public an opportunity to present oral and written comments on them. (42 
U.S.C. 6293(b)(2))
    EPCA also requires that, at least once every 7 years, DOE evaluate 
test procedures for each type of covered product, including consumer 
refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers, to determine 
whether amended test procedures would more accurately or fully comply 
with the requirements for the test procedures to not be unduly 
burdensome to conduct and be reasonably designed to produce test 
results that reflect energy efficiency, energy use, and estimated 
operating costs during a representative average use cycle. (42 U.S.C. 
6293(b)(1)(A)) If amended test procedures are appropriate, DOE must 
publish a final rule to incorporate the amendments. If DOE determines 
that test procedure revisions are not appropriate, DOE must publish its 
determination not to amend the test procedures. DOE is publishing this 
RFI to collect data and information to inform a potential test 
procedure rulemaking to satisfy the 7-year review requirement specified 
in EPCA, which requires that DOE publish, by April 21, 2021, either a 
final rule amending the test procedures or a determination that amended 
test procedures are not required. (42 U.S.C. 6293(b)(1)(A))

B. Rulemaking History

    DOE's current test procedures for refrigerators, refrigerator-
freezers, and freezers are the result of numerous evolutionary steps 
taken since DOE initially established its test procedures for these 
products in a final rule published in the Federal Register on September 
14, 1977 (42 FR 46140). Industry representatives viewed these original 
test procedures as too complex and eventually developed alternative 
test procedures in conjunction with the Association of Home Appliance 
Manufacturers (AHAM) that were incorporated into the 1979 version of 
HRF-1, ``Household Refrigerators, Combination Refrigerator-Freezers, 
and Household Freezers'' (HRF-1-1979). Using this industry-created test 
procedure, DOE revised its test procedures on August 10, 1982 (47 FR 
34517).
    On August 31, 1989, DOE amended the test procedure further when it 
published a final rule establishing test procedures for variable-
defrost control refrigeration products, dual-compressor refrigerator-
freezers, and freezers equipped with ``quick-freeze'' (54 FR 36238).
    DOE amended the test procedures again on March 7, 2003, by 
modifying the test period used for products equipped with long-time 
automatic defrost or variable defrost (68 FR 10957).
    On December 16, 2010, DOE made its most recent significant 
modifications to the test procedures when it published a final and 
interim final rule establishing the test procedures in Appendices A and 
B (75 FR 78810). That rule established a number of comprehensive 
changes to help improve the measurement of energy consumption of 
refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers. These changes 
included, among other things: (1) Adjusting the standardized 
compartment temperatures and volume-adjustment factors, (2) adding new 
methods for measuring compartment volumes, (3) modifying the long-time 
automatic defrost test procedure to measure all energy use associated 
with the defrost function, and (4) adding test procedures for products 
with a single compressor and multiple evaporators with separate active 
defrost cycles. Lastly, the interim final rule addressed icemaking 
energy use by including a fixed energy use adder for those products 
equipped with an automatic icemaker. Using available data submitted by 
the industry, this value was set at 84 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year. 
Id. On January 25, 2012, DOE finalized the test procedures established 
in the interim final rule and incorporated additional amendments to 
improve test accuracy (77 FR 3559).
    On July 10, 2013, DOE proposed further amending the consumer 
refrigerator and refrigerator-freezer test procedure to address 
products with multiple compressors and to allow an alternative method 
for measuring and calculating energy consumption for refrigerator-
freezers and refrigerators with freezer compartments, (78 FR 41610, 
``2013 NOPR''). DOE also proposed to amend certain aspects of the 
consumer refrigerator, refrigerator-freezer, and freezer test 
procedures to ensure better accuracy and repeatability. Additionally, 
DOE solicited comment on a proposed automatic icemaker test procedure 
and on whether built-in

[[Page 29782]]

products should be tested in a built-in configuration. Id. In response 
to the 2013 NOPR, interested parties requested that DOE grant more time 
to respond to the proposal for measuring energy use associated with 
icemaking and to DOE's request for comment regarding testing of built-
in products in a built-in configuration. DOE granted the comment period 
extension request for these two topics (78 FR 53374, Aug. 29, 2013).
    On April 21, 2014, DOE published a final rule for the refrigerator, 
refrigerator-freezer, and freezer test procedures (the ``2014 final 
rule''), (79 FR 22320). The amendments enacted by the 2014 final rule 
addressed products with multiple compressors and established an 
alternative method for measuring and calculating energy consumption for 
refrigerator-freezers and refrigerators with freezer compartments. The 
2014 final rule also amended certain aspects of the test procedures to 
improve test accuracy and repeatability. To allow time to review 
comments and data received during the comment period extension, DOE did 
not address automatic ice making energy use or built-in testing 
configuration in the 2014 final rule. Id.
    On July 18, 2016, DOE published a final rule that established 
coverage and test procedures for a variety of refrigeration products 
collectively described as ``miscellaneous refrigeration products'' 
(``MREFs''), (81 FR 46768). Included within this category are 
refrigeration products that include one or more compartments that 
maintain higher temperatures than typical refrigerator compartments, 
such as wine chillers and beverage coolers. Additionally, the final 
rule amended Appendices A and B to include provisions for testing MREFs 
and to improve the clarity of certain existing test requirements. Id.

II. Request for Information and Comments

    In the following sections, DOE has identified a variety of issues 
on which it seeks input to aid in the development of the technical and 
economic analyses regarding whether amended test procedures for 
consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers may be 
warranted. Specifically, DOE is requesting comment on any opportunities 
to streamline and simplify testing requirements for refrigerators, 
refrigerator-freezers, and freezers.
    Additionally, 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 notes that under E.O. 13771, 
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 (Feb. 3, 2017) (E.O. 13771 
``Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs''). Pursuant to 
that executive order, DOE encourages the public to provide input on 
measures DOE could take to lower the cost of its regulations applicable 
to consumer refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers 
consistent with the requirements of EPCA.

A. Features

1. Door-in-Door Designs
    DOE's test procedures for refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and 
freezers are intended to represent operation in typical room conditions 
with door openings by testing at an elevated ambient temperature with 
no door openings. 10 CFR 430.23(a)(7). The increased thermal load from 
the elevated ambient temperature is intended to represent the thermal 
load that would be associated with both door openings as cool cabinet 
air mixes with warmer ambient air and the loading of warmer items in 
the cabinet.
    DOE is aware of certain products available on the market that 
incorporate a door-in-door design. This feature allows the consumer to 
access items loaded in the door shelves without opening an interior 
door that encloses the inner cabinet. This feature prevents the 
majority of the cool cabinet air from escaping to the room and being 
replaced by warmer ambient air, as would be the case during a typical 
total door opening.
    Because the DOE test procedure requires testing with the cabinet 
doors remaining closed, it would not reflect the potential energy 
savings associated with door-in-door features during typical consumer 
operation with door openings.
    DOE requests comment on test methods for products with door-in-door 
designs that will yield accurate and repeatable results. Specifically, 
DOE seeks information on whether an alternate test method is 
appropriate or whether potential energy savings may be addressed with a 
calculation approach. DOE also seeks information regarding what steps, 
if any, manufacturers are taking to account for the energy use 
characteristics of products that use door-in-door designs. Further, DOE 
requests data, if any, on consumer use of the door-in-door feature, 
including how often the outer door is used in comparison to a total 
door opening, and the corresponding energy impacts of each type of door 
opening.
2. Display Screens and Connected Functions
    Many refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers currently 
available on the market include user control panels or displays located 
on the front of the product. These features, which can control the 
products' function and provide additional user features, such as 
television or internet access, operate with many different control 
schemes, including activation by proximity sensors.
    The DOE test procedure, by referencing AHAM's 2008 version of 
``Energy and Internal Volume of Refrigerating Appliances'' (HRF-1-
2008), requires testing with customer-accessible features, not required 
for normal operation, which are electrically powered, manually 
initiated, and manually terminated, set at their lowest energy usage 
positions when adjustment is provided.
    However, by testing in this manner (i.e., setting consumer features 
in their lowest energy positions), the resulting measurements may not 
accurately represent actual consumer use. DOE requests information on 
how consumers typically use exterior display screens and control 
panels, when available. While any information would be welcome, DOE is 
particularly interested in any survey data that may yield insight into 
the manner and frequency with which consumers use these features. 
Additionally, DOE requests detailed feedback on the appropriate energy-
related settings to use for these types of features during testing to 
best represent consumer use.
    Similarly, many products incorporating these more advanced user 
interfaces include internet connections to allow for additional 
functions. The product controls may consume different amounts of energy 
depending on whether the internet connection is enabled or disabled, 
and if enabled, whether it is connected to a network. DOE requests 
information (such as survey data) on whether consumers typically use an 
internet connection, when available, for refrigerators, refrigerator-
freezers, and freezers. DOE also requests information on the potential 
energy impacts of the refrigeration products equipped with a connected 
configuration, and on the appropriate energy-related settings to use 
for testing.

B. Icemaking Energy Consumption

    In 2010, DOE initiated a test procedure rulemaking to help address 
a

[[Page 29783]]

variety of test procedure-related issues, including energy use 
associated with automatic icemaking. On May 27, 2010, DOE published a 
NOPR (the ``2010 NOPR'') proposing to use a fixed value of 84 kWh per 
year to represent the energy use associated with automatic icemaking 
(75 FR 29824). The 2010 NOPR also indicated that DOE would consider 
adopting an approach based on testing to determine icemaking energy use 
if a suitable test procedure could be developed. Id. at 29846-29847. A 
broad group of interested parties submitted a joint comment supporting 
DOE's proposal to use a temporary fixed placeholder value to represent 
the energy use of automatic icemakers. The joint commenters also urged 
DOE to initiate a rulemaking no later than January 1, 2012, and publish 
a final rule no later than December 31, 2012, to amend the test 
procedures to incorporate a laboratory-based measurement of icemaking 
energy use. (Test Procedure for Refrigerators, Refrigerator-Freezers, 
and Freezers, Docket Number EERE-2009-BT-TP-0003; Joint Comment, No. 20 
at pp. 5-6)
    In January 2012, AHAM provided DOE with a draft test procedure that 
could be used to measure automatic icemaker energy usage. (AHAM 
Refrigerator, Refrigerator-Freezer and Freezer Ice Making Energy Test 
Procedure, Revision 1.0--12/14/11, No. 4) \3\ AHAM then submitted a 
revised automatic icemaker test procedure on July 18, 2012. (AHAM 
Refrigerator, Refrigerator-Freezer and Freezer Ice Making Energy Test 
Procedure, Revision 2.0--7/10/12, No. 5) \4\ In the subsequent 2013 
NOPR, as mentioned in section I.B of this document, DOE proposed a 
method for measuring the energy usage associated with automatic 
icemaking based on the revised approach submitted by AHAM. See 
generally 78 FR 41618-41629. In response to the 2013 NOPR, AHAM 
submitted comments to DOE requesting that DOE grant its members more 
time to respond to the automatic icemaker testing proposal, which DOE 
granted (78 FR 53374, Aug. 29, 2013). In the 2014 final rule, DOE 
established the fixed value adder approach and stated that it would 
review comments received during the comment period extension to address 
the icemaking test procedure issue in a future notice. See 79 FR 22341-
22342.
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    \3\ Document No. 4 in Docket No. EERE-2012-BT-TP-0016, available 
for review at www.regulations.gov.
    \4\ Document No. 5 in Docket No. EERE-2012-BT-TP-0016, available 
for review at www.regulations.gov.
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    A number of interested parties supported the development and 
adoption of a test procedure that measures the energy use of automatic 
icemaking. These commenters cited a number of reasons to justify a 
laboratory-based icemaker energy test procedure, including: (1) A 
direct laboratory test is more accurate and representative of actual 
icemaking energy use, and (2) the fixed adder approach would not reward 
improvements in icemaking efficiency or provide incentives to reduce 
icemaker energy consumption. (BSH Home Appliances Corporation, No. 21 
at p. 1; \5\ Joint Commenters,\6\ No. 42 at pp. 1-5; Samsung 
Electronics America, Inc., No. 39 at p. 2)
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    \5\ A notation in the form ``BSH Home Appliances Corporation, 
No. 21 at p. 1'' identifies a written comment: (1) Made by BSH Home 
Appliances Corporation; (2) recorded in document number 21 that is 
filed in the docket of the test procedure rulemaking (Docket No. 
EERE-2009-BT-TP-0003) and available for review at 
www.regulations.gov; and (3) which appears on page 1 of document 
number 21.
    \6\ ``Joint Commenters'' refers to the Appliance Standards 
Awareness Project, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, 
Consumer Federation of America, National Consumer Law Center, and 
Natural Resources Defense Council.
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    Other interested parties supported the adder approach, noting the 
significant test burden associated with the proposed icemaking test 
procedure and the limited opportunities to reduce icemaking energy 
consumption. (AHAM, No. 37 at p. 2-5; GE Appliances, No. 40 at p. 5; 
Sub-Zero Group, Inc., No. 36 at p. 2) Further, DOE received data 
indicating that consumers likely use less ice than assumed in 
calculating the 84 kWh/year adder. Interested parties commented that 
the updated consumer use data supported an adder as low as 28 kWh/year. 
(AHAM, No. 37 at pp. 2-6; GE Appliances, No. 40 at pp. 2-4; Northwest 
Energy Efficiency Alliance and Northwest Power & Conservation Council, 
No. 41 at p. 2)
    DOE welcomes additional feedback from interested parties on the 
most appropriate approach to account for icemaker energy use. DOE also 
requests any more recent consumer use data, if available, regarding ice 
consumption and automatic icemaker usage in consumer refrigerator-
freezers and freezers. DOE also seeks input regarding whether retention 
of the current fixed adder approach should continue or whether an 
actual test procedure should replace it at this time. If DOE were to 
adopt a test procedure that measures icemaker energy use, DOE seeks 
input on which one to use, for example, the test proposed in the 2013 
NOPR, and what specific technical issues it needs to consider if it 
were to propose such a rule for adoption. To this end, DOE is also 
interested in what impacts, if any, the adoption of an icemaking energy 
measurement test procedure would have on the measured energy use of a 
given product when compared to the fixed energy value adder approach 
used in the current test procedure.
    DOE is also aware of consumer products available on the market that 
use two automatic icemakers. Typically, these products are 
refrigerator-freezers with bottom-mounted freezers, with an icemaker in 
the freezer compartment and another contained in the through-the-door 
ice service in the fresh food compartment. The fresh food icemaker 
serves more frequent through-the-door ice service, while the freezer 
icemaker serves as an in-freezer storage container for infrequent bulk 
ice use.
    DOE requests information on whether products with multiple 
automatic icemakers should be tested differently than the more typical 
single automatic icemaker models--and if so, how. DOE seeks consumer 
use data for these products to inform whether a different energy use 
adder or test procedure would be appropriate for these dual-icemaker 
products.

C. Built-In Test Configuration

    In the 2013 NOPR, DOE presented data indicating that testing in a 
built-in enclosure may affect energy consumption for certain 
configurations of built-in products. Specifically, those products that 
reject condenser heat at the back of the unit showed a potential 
increase in energy use when tested in an enclosure. DOE observed no 
significant change in energy use associated with the test configuration 
for those products that reject heat from the front of the unit. DOE 
requested comment on the appropriate test configuration for built-in 
refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers, (78 FR 46149-
46150). Similar to the icemaking test issue, DOE provided additional 
time to comment on the built-in testing issue prior to the 2014 final 
rule, but did not address the issue in that rule.
    In the rulemaking leading to the 2014 final rule, DOE received 
multiple comments. Some commenters supported testing built-in products 
in an enclosure, as this would represent how the products are used in 
the field. (Joint Commenters, No. 42 at pp. 5-6; Northwest Energy 
Efficiency Alliance and Northwest Power & Conservation Council, No. 41 
at p. 4) Others opposed the enclosure approach, noting the significant 
increase in test burden with little or no corresponding change in

[[Page 29784]]

measured energy consumption. These interested parties also noted that 
for the products showing a difference in measured energy use between 
the freestanding and enclosure setups, the enclosure configuration that 
DOE used (based on Underwriters Laboratories (UL) 250, ``Household 
Refrigerators and Freezers'') was not necessarily consistent with 
manufacturer installation instructions. (AHAM, No. 37 at pp. 16-17; BSH 
Home Appliances Corporation, No. 21 at p. 1; Liebherr-Canada, Ltd., No. 
34 at pp. 1-4; Sub-Zero Group, Inc., No. 36 at p. 2).
    DOE continues to seek comment on the built-in testing issue, 
including consumer installation, test burden, and energy impacts. Among 
the issues of interest to DOE include whether testing a product in its 
built-in condition would generally be more representative of energy 
consumption of a product during its average use cycle or period of use 
and, if so, the extent to which testing in this condition would be 
expected to affect the measured energy use of these products, if any. 
DOE requests information on whether testing all built-in products in an 
enclosure is appropriate, or whether testing in an enclosure would 
affect the test results only for certain built-in product 
configurations, such as those that exhaust condenser heat from the rear 
of the product. DOE is also interested in detailed information on 
whether there would be a significant additional test burden resulting 
from a requirement that specifies these products be tested in a built-
in condition--and if so, the nature and extent of that burden. 
Additionally, DOE is interested in whether alternative methods of 
assessing the energy consumption of built-in products during their 
average use cycle or period of use, such as through a calculation or 
adder approach, are feasible--and if so, what likely degree of accuracy 
could be obtained if such methods were used in lieu of testing in a 
built-in condition.

D. Test Procedure Clarifications

1. Thermocouple Configuration for Freezer Drawers
    As discussed in section II.A.2 of this document, Appendices A and B 
incorporate by reference portions of HRF-1-2008 for testing 
requirements. Section 5.5.5.5 of HRF-1-2008 includes figures specifying 
thermocouple placement for a number of example fresh food and freezer 
compartment configurations. HRF-1-2008 also notes that in situations 
where the interior of a cabinet does not conform to the configurations 
shown in the example figures, measurements must be taken at locations 
chosen to represent approximately the entire cabinet.
    HRF-1-2008 provides a specific thermocouple location diagram for 
freezer compartments in refrigerator-freezers (type 6 in Figure 5-2). 
However, the diagram for this configuration is based on an upright, 
front-opening freezer compartment, and does not explicitly address 
drawer-type freezer compartments. Based on its experience testing these 
products at third-party test laboratories, DOE understands there may be 
confusion over which thermocouple layout is appropriate for drawer-type 
freezer compartments in refrigerator-freezers. DOE believes that sensor 
layout type 6 is appropriate for testing drawer freezer compartments in 
refrigerator-freezers. DOE requests feedback on whether this sensor 
layout or, alternatively, a different thermocouple configuration set 
forth in HRF-1-2008 or elsewhere, is appropriate for testing drawer 
freezer compartments.
2. Definitions
    As discussed in the recent MREF test procedure final rule, DOE's 
test procedures in Appendices A and B frequently use the term 
``compartment'' despite that term not being defined. While DOE 
considered the need for clarifying that term, it did not define it in 
that final rule. See 81 FR 46779.
    DOE is aware of only one specific definition for ``compartment'' in 
finalized international or industry test procedures--specifically, 
Australian/New Zealand testing standard AS/NZS 4474.1-2007. This 
procedure define a compartment as ``an enclosed space within a 
refrigerating appliance, which is directly accessible through one or 
more external doors. A compartment may contain one or more sub-
compartments and one or more convenience features.'' AS/NZS 4474.1-2007 
further defines a ``sub-compartment'' as ``a permanent enclosed space 
within a compartment or sub-compartment which is designated as being a 
different type of food storage space (i.e., has a different compartment 
temperature range) from the compartment or sub-compartment within which 
it is located,'' and ``convenience features,'' as enclosures or 
containers with temperature conditions which may or may not be 
different from the compartment within which they are located.
    However, DOE notes that the AS/NZS 4474.1-2007 approach is not 
fully consistent with all of the uses of the term ``compartment'' 
currently found in the DOE test procedures. In some cases, the term 
denotes all of the space within a refrigeration product that operates 
within a designated temperature range. In other cases, the term refers 
to specific enclosed spaces that operate within a designated 
temperature range. For example, Appendix A, section 5.1.3 uses the term 
in both ways, referring to individual fresh food compartment 
temperatures and volumes to calculate the overall fresh food 
compartment temperature.
    DOE requests information on whether the clarity of Appendices A and 
B would be improved by defining the term ``compartment'' and using the 
term consistently throughout the test procedures. If DOE were to define 
the term ``compartment,'' DOE seeks comment on what that definition 
should be--and whether a definition such as the one included in AS/NZS 
4474.1-2007 would be sufficient to clearly define this term.
    DOE also notes that while Appendix A defines ``cooler 
compartment,'' it does not directly define related terms such as 
``fresh food compartment'' or ``freezer compartment''--although these 
definitions are in HFR-1-2008, which is incorporated by reference into 
Appendices A and B. 10 CFR 430.3. DOE requests comment on whether it 
should directly define these terms in Appendix A--and if so, how?
    DOE also welcomes feedback on the definitions of ``refrigerators,'' 
``refrigerator-freezers,'' and ``freezers'' in 10 CFR 430.2. These 
definitions were most recently amended in DOE's final rule establishing 
coverage and test procedures for MREFs, (81 FR 46768). Prior to that 
final rule, DOE published a supplemental noticed of proposed 
determination (``SNOPD'') in which it proposed to amend these 
definitions. In that SNOPD, DOE noted that the refrigerator and 
refrigerator-freezer product definitions described a freezer 
compartment as a compartment designed for the freezing and storage of 
food at temperatures below 8 [deg]F which may be adjusted by the user 
to a temperature of 0 [deg]F or below, and proposed to amend the 
definitions to refer to a compartment capable of maintaining 
compartment temperatures of 0 [deg]F or below, (81 FR 11454, 11460, 
March 4, 2016). However, because interested parties commented that the 
proposed amendments may affect the scope of the existing refrigerator, 
refrigerator-freezer, and freezer definitions (AHAM, MREF Coverage No. 
24 at pp. 2-3; \7\ Sub Zero, MREF

[[Page 29785]]

Coverage No. 22 at pp. 1-2), DOE did not adopt these proposed 
modifications to the amended definitions. See 81 FR 46777.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \7\ A notation in the form ``AHAM, MREF Coverage No. 24 at pp. 
2-3'' identifies a written comment: (1) Made by the Association of 
Home Appliance Manufacturers; (2) recorded in document number 24 
that is filed in the docket of the MREF coverage determination 
rulemaking (Docket No. EERE-2011-BT-DET-0072-0024) and available for 
review at www.regulations.gov; and (3) which appears on pages 2-3 of 
document number 24.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The proposed amendments would have resolved an inconsistency 
between the definitions and the standardized compartment temperature 
specified in the test procedure. Specifically, while the 8 [deg]F 
threshold for freezer compartments in the definitions for refrigerators 
and refrigerator-freezers is consistent with the fresh food compartment 
and freezer compartment definitions included in HRF-1-2008, Appendix A 
requires that freezer compartments in refrigerator-freezers be tested 
to a standardized compartment temperature of 0 [deg]F. Under the 
existing requirements, a product would meet the refrigerator-freezer 
definition but would not receive an energy use rating under Appendix A 
if the freezer compartment is capable of achieving a temperature below 
8 [deg]F but above 0 [deg]F.
    DOE requests feedback on whether it should address this potential 
definitional and testing issue, and if so, how. DOE also seeks 
information on how to best harmonize the refrigerator and refrigerator-
freezer definitions with any potential updates to the fresh food and 
freezer compartment definitions.

E. AHAM HRF-1 Standard

    As discussed in section II.A.2 of this document, the DOE test 
procedures incorporate by reference certain sections of the AHAM 
industry standard HRF-1-2008. DOE references HRF-1-2008 for 
definitions, installation and operating conditions, temperature 
measurements, and volume measurements. In August 2016, AHAM released an 
updated version of the HRF-1 standard, HRF-1-2016. Based on review of 
the newer standard, DOE notes that the majority of the updates from the 
2008 standard are clarifications or other revisions that harmonize with 
DOE's test procedures. Accordingly, DOE does not expect that updating 
its references to HRF-1-2016 would substantively affect the test 
procedures in Appendices A and B.
    DOE requests feedback on whether its test procedures should 
incorporate by reference certain sections of the most current version 
of HRF-1, HRF-1-2016, rather than HRF-1-2008. DOE also requests whether 
any of the revisions between HRF-1-2008 and HRF-1-2016 would 
substantively affect the requirements currently incorporated by 
reference in Appendices A and B--and if so, how?

F. Other Test Procedure Topics

    In addition to the issues identified earlier in this document, DOE 
welcomes comment on any other aspect of the existing test procedures 
for refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers not already 
addressed by the specific areas identified in this document. DOE 
particularly seeks information that would improve the repeatability, 
reproducibility, and consumer representativeness of the test 
procedures. DOE also requests information that would help DOE create a 
procedure that would limit manufacturer test burden through 
streamlining or simplifying testing requirements. Comments regarding 
repeatability and reproducibility are also welcome.
    DOE also requests feedback on any potential amendments to the 
existing test procedure that could be considered to address impacts on 
manufacturers, including small businesses. Regarding the Federal test 
method, DOE seeks comment on the degree to which the DOE test procedure 
should consider and be harmonized with the most recent relevant 
industry standards for consumer refrigerators, freezers, and 
refrigerator-freezers and whether there are any changes to the Federal 
test method that would provide additional benefits to the public.
    Additionally, DOE requests comment on whether the existing test 
procedures limit manufacturer's ability to provide additional features 
to consumers on refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers. DOE 
particularly seeks information on how the test procedures could be 
amended to reduce the cost of these new or additional features and make 
it more likely that such features are included on consumer 
refrigerators, freezers, and refrigerator-freezers.

III. Submission of Comments

    DOE invites all interested parties to submit in writing by July 31, 
2017, comments and information on matters addressed in this notice and 
on other matters relevant to DOE's consideration of amended test 
procedures for refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers. 
After the close of the comment period, DOE will begin collecting data, 
conducting analyses, and reviewing the public comments, as needed. 
These actions will be taken to aid in the development of a test 
procedure NOPR for refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers 
if DOE determines that amended test procedures may be appropriate for 
these products.
    Submitting comments via http://www.regulations.gov. The http://www.regulations.gov Web page will require you to provide your name and 
contact information. Your contact information will be viewable to DOE 
Building Technologies 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 Web site 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 http://www.regulations.gov provides after you have successfully uploaded your 
comment.
    Submitting comments via email, hand delivery, or mail. Comments and 
documents submitted via email, hand delivery, or 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 documents. Instead,

[[Page 29786]]

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 mail or hand 
delivery, please provide all items on a CD, if feasible. It is not 
necessary to submit printed copies. No facsimiles (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 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.
    Factors of interest to DOE when evaluating requests to treat 
submitted information as confidential include (1) a description of the 
items, (2) whether and why such items are customarily treated as 
confidential within the industry, (3) whether the information is 
generally known by or available from other sources, (4) whether the 
information has previously been made available to others without 
obligation concerning its confidentiality, (5) an explanation of the 
competitive injury to the submitting person which would result from 
public disclosure, (6) when such information might lose its 
confidential character due to the passage of time, and (7) why 
disclosure of the information would be contrary to the public interest.
    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 test procedures and 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 rulemaking should 
contact Appliance and Equipment Standards Program staff at (202) 586-
6636 or via email at ApplianceStandardsQuestions@ee.doe.gov.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on June 23, 2017.
Kathleen B. Hogan,
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, Energy Efficiency and 
Renewable Energy.
[FR Doc. 2017-13803 Filed 6-29-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6450-01-P