Walk-In Coolers and Walk-In Freezers

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As defined in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), “walk-in cooler” and “walk-in freezer” (WICFs) mean an enclosed storage space refrigerated to temperatures, respectively, above, and at or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit that can be walked into, and has a total chilled storage area of less than 3,000 square feet. The terms “walk-in cooler” and “walk-in freezer” do not include products designed and marketed exclusively for medical, scientific, or research purposes. 10 CFR 431, Subpart R. Manufacturers have been required to comply with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) energy conservation standards for WICFs since 2009.

Current Standard | Current Test Procedure | Ongoing Rulemaking for Standards | Ongoing Rulemaking for Test Procedure | Helpful Links


Recent and Ongoing Activities

DOE has published a Federal Register notice undertaking an early assessment review to evaluate whether to amend the energy conservation standards for walk-in coolers and freezers (“walk-ins” or “WICFs”). Specifically, through this request for information (RFI), DOE seeks data and information to evaluate whether amended energy conservation standards would result in significant savings of energy; be technologically feasible; and be economically justified. DOE welcomes written comments from the public on any subject within the scope of this document (including those topics not specifically raised in this RFI), as well as the submission of data and other relevant information concerning this early assessment review.

DOE has published a Federal Register notice undertaking an early assessment review to determine whether amendments are warranted for the test procedures for walk-in coolers and walk-in freezers (WICFs or walk-ins). DOE has identified certain issues associated with the currently applicable test procedures on which DOE is interested in receiving comment. The issues outlined in this document address definitions and equipment classes of walk-in components, test procedure waivers received, and other test procedure issues related to walk-in doors, panels, and refrigeration systems. 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 (RFI).

DOE has published a Federal Register Final Rule pertaining to test procedures for walk-in coolers and walk-in freezers (hot gas defrost unit coolers). This final rule amends the current test procedure for hot gas defrost unit coolers by making it consistent with a recent update to the industry testing standard that is incorporated by reference in the relevant Federal test procedure for walk-in freezer refrigeration systems. This final rule updates the equations used to calculate defrost energy and heat contributions applicable to these systems to provide a consistent performance evaluation between hot gas defrost and electric defrost unit coolers when tested alone.

  • The effective date of this rule April 26, 2021.
  • The final rule changes will be mandatory for product testing starting September 22, 2021.

DOE has published a Federal Register notice proposing to amend the test procedures for walk-in freezers to address an issue affecting hot gas defrost-equipped unit coolers (hot gas defrost unit coolers). DOE is proposing to amend the current test procedure regarding hot gas unit coolers consistent with an update to the industry standard that is incorporated by reference in the DOE test procedure for walk-in freezer refrigeration systems. Given the upcoming energy conservation standards compliance date of July 10, 2020, DOE is limiting the scope of this proposed rulemaking to expediently address how to test a hot gas defrost unit cooler.

For the latest information on the planned timing of future DOE regulatory milestones, see the current Office of Management and Budget Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions. All planned dates are preliminary and subject to change.

Standards

DOE has published a Federal Register notice undertaking an early assessment review to evaluate whether to amend the energy conservation standards for walk-in coolers and freezers. 86FR37687 (July 16, 2021).

DOE undertook a rulemaking which concluded in a  final rule in July 2017 pertaining to energy conservation standards for walk-in coolers and walk-in freezers 82 FR 31808 (July 10, 2017).

The walk-in coolers and walk-in freezers standards rulemaking docket EERE-2015-BT-STD-0016 contains all notices, public comments, public meeting transcripts, and supporting documents pertaining to this rulemaking.

Public Meeting Information:

There is no public meeting scheduled at this time.

Submitting Public Comments

The comment period is closed.

Test Procedure

DOE has published a Federal Register notice undertaking an early assessment review to determine whether amendments are warranted for the test procedures for walk-in coolers and walk-in freezers. 86FR32332 (June 17, 2021).

DOE has published a Federal Register Final Rule pertaining to test procedures for walk-in coolers and walk-in freezers (hot gas defrost unit coolers). 86FR16027 (March 26, 2021).

DOE has published a Federal Register notice of proposed rulenmaking pertaining to test procedures for walk-in freezers to address an issue affecting hot gas defrost-equipped unit coolers (hot gas defrost unit coolers). 85FR60724 (September 27, 2020).

DOE undertook a rulemaking which resulted in a final rule in in December 2016 pertaining to test procedures for walk-in coolers and walk-in freezers. 81 FR 95758 (December 28, 2016). DOE has also published a final rule in the Federal Register further delaying the effective date pertaining to test procedures for walk-in coolers and walk-in freezers 82 FR 14426. (March 21, 2017).

The walk-in coolers and walk-in freezers rulemaking docket EERE-2016-BT-TP-0030 contains all notices, public comments, public meeting transcripts, and supporting documents pertaining to this rulemaking.

Public Meeting Information

There is no public meeting scheduled at this time.

Submitting Public Comments

The comment period is closed.

 


Current Standard

WICFs manufactured and distributed in commerce, as defined by 42 U.S.C. 6311(20), must meet the energy conservation standards specified in the Code of Federal Regulations at 10 CFR 431.306.


Current Test Procedure

To determine that WICFs that are currently manufactured or distributed into commerce are in compliance with DOE standards, manufacturers must follow the test procedure methods specified at 10 CFR 431.304.


Helpful Links

Compliance

DOE has established regulations on certification, compliance, and enforcement in the CFR at 10 CFR Part 429.  These regulations cover statistical sampling plans, certified ratings, certification reports, record retention, and enforcement.  More information on these regulations is available here.

Waivers

For information on current test procedure waivers, see DOE’s Waivers webpage.

For information about obtaining test procedure waivers, see 10 CFR 430.27.

Exceptions

DOE's Office of Hearings and Appeals has not authorized exception relief for WICFs.

For information about obtaining exception relief, see 10 CFR part 1003.

Guidance and Frequently Asked Questions

For information on further guidance and answers to Frequently Asked Questions on all covered products, see DOE’s Further Guidance database.

State Exemptions to Federal Pre-emption

DOE has not exempted any state from this energy conservation standard. States may petition DOE to exempt a state regulation from preemption by the Federal energy conservation standard. States may also petition DOE to withdraw such exemptions. For details, see 10 CFR 431, Subpart V and 10 CFR 431, Subpart W.

Contact information

For more information related to this product, please email:
ApplianceStandardsQuestions@ee.doe.gov


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