April 9, 2020 View Web Version | Text Only Version
In This Issue
AHRI/Industry News
AHRTI Publishes Phase I Refrigerant Sensor Report, Begins Phases II & III
AHRI Membership to Introduce New Services System
Legislative and Regulatory
Appeals Court Rules Again on EPA SNAP Rules
Yurek Provides Testimony on Senate HFC Bill
Standards and Certification
AHRI Launches CEC API for Several Certification Programs
Unitary Small Heating Certification Programs to Include International Ratings
ASHRAE SSPC 62.2 to Consider New Proposal in June
Global
AHRI Submits Comments to Brazil and Egypt on Draft Energy Efficiency Standards
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AHRI/Industry News
AHRTI Publishes Phase I Refrigerant Sensor Report, Begins Phases II & III

AHRTI Project 9014, Refrigerant Detector Characteristics for Use in HVACR Equipment, is assessing refrigerant sensor and refrigerant detector performance requirements for A2L refrigerants, and the capability of currently commercially available refrigerant detectors to meet the requirements of the major refrigerating system safety standards. 

In the recently published Phase I report, contractor Creative Thermal Solutions (CTS) summarized existing and proposed requirements for refrigerant detectors in major safety standards, and evaluated 11 sensors against the requirements. Six sensors with four different sensing principles – including Micro Machined Membrane, Non-Dispersive Infra-Red, and Thermal Conductivity and Metal Oxide Semiconductor – were selected for the experimental assessment. Testing included step-change tests and time-varying tests under the typical leakage scenarios.

Under AHRI members’ guidance, CTS will assess and develop test protocols and conduct testing to assess the reliability and robustness of refrigerant sensors in the next two phases of the program. A kick-off meeting between the AHRTI Project Monitoring Subcommittee and CTS was held on April 8. Contact: Xudong Wang.

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AHRI Membership to Introduce New Services System

Beginning April 27, AHRI will add Membership Services to the ticketing system already providing customer support to AHRI Directory, iSTARS, ACS, and data Subscribers. The addition of Membership Services to the FreshDesk ticketing system is another step toward providing AHRI members with a centralized customer service experience while ensuring efficient communication among members and AHRI. The ticketing system features an option for users to access all submitted tickets, including status and history of responses between the user and AHRI. The ticketing system will allow users to request assistance with AHRI accounts and company rosters, AHRI Connect, sales volume forms and membership dues, as well as initiate the process for becoming an AHRI member, and more. The email address membership@ahrinet.org will no longer be in service, and all requests to Membership Services should be made through the ticketing system that will be available from www.ahrinet.org. Contact: Betz Rother.

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Legislative and Regulatory
Appeals Court Rules Again on EPA SNAP Rules

The United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit again weighed-in this week on the status of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA's) SNAP Rules 20 and 21.

In a 2-1 decision handed down April 7, a panel of the Court ruled in a case brought by the Natural Resources Defense Council that a 2018 Notification of Guidance published in the Federal Register by the EPA was procedurally inappropriate because it constituted a rulemaking and therefore required a period of notice and comment, which the EPA had not provided. 

The court agreed that the original case, Mexichem Fluor v. EPA, required only a partial vacatur, not an elimination, of the requirements of SNAP Rules 20 and 21. Because the 2018 Guidance went farther than was required by the decision in Mexichem, the court held that it was in fact a rulemaking, and not merely a response to a court order.  "Rules" (per the legal definition) must only be promulgated pursuant to notice-and-comment, (unless a narrow exception applies). Therefore, the Court held, because this "rule" was not promulgated pursuant to notice and comment, it must be vacated.

Not all agency actions are "rules" requiring notice and comment, however. The Court found that the EPA could have chosen to follow other procedural options, such as petitioning for rehearing after the Mexichem decision, issuing an interpretive rule to explain its understanding of the Mexichem decision, or exercising its enforcement discretion.  It also could have resolved difficult cases by adjudication, or even invoked a good cause exemption. But, because the EPA issued the 2018 Guidance in the Federal Register without notice-and-comment, the court vacated the 2018 Guidance.

Where does this leave AHRI Members? On one hand, the 2018 Guidance that vacated SNAP Rules 20 and 21 has been vacated, reversing history and putting those rules back on the books as viable regulations. On the other hand, the decision made clear that the Court feels its prior decision in Mexichem is still good law, and that the EPA lacks authority to require those that had already transitioned from ODSs to replace the HFCs that they were using in 2015. The court confirmed the regulatory requirements of SNAP Rules 20 and 21 cannot be eliminated wholesale, but that the EPA also cannot require businesses to replace an HFC with a substitute. The path forward is unclear, and AHRI staff will be consulting with legal experts and conferring with the EPA in the coming days and weeks to obtain some clarification.

In the interim, however, the ruling makes it clear that Congressional action on this issue (in the form of the AIM Act (Senate) and the AIM Leadership Act (House) is more important than ever. Contact: Caroline Davidson-Hood.

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Yurek Provides Testimony on Senate HFC Bill

In written testimony to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, AHRI CEO Stephen Yurek stressed that when Congress, through the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act (S. 2754), establishes a national structure to phase down the production and use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the result will be job creation and trade benefits while ensuring the continued availability of the chemicals for those industries and applications for which no viable alternative is currently available. More information on the AIM Act is available here.

Yurek stressed that the phase down structure created by the bill would not affect equipment currently installed in homes and businesses nor HFC availability for current or future necessary applications. "Importantly, the AIM Act does not prohibit the use of existing equipment, which consumers and business owners remain free to use through the equipment's lifetime, nor does it mandate the purchase of new equipment," Yurek stated. "HFCs also will remain available for servicing and maintenance for decades, due to the 15 percent tail at the end of the phase down period and from the provisions in the AIM Act that enhance the recovery, recycling, and reclaim of used HFCs," he added. He noted that the industry has invested "several billion dollars in R&D" for next generation refrigerants and seeks "an orderly transition" from HFCs to next-generation refrigerants to create "certainty, stability and predictability" for manufacturers as they create "...33,000 new jobs...$12.5 billion in direct manufacturing output, [a] positive swing in the balance of trade, and [a] 25 percent boost in exports." Contact: Francis Dietz.

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Standards and Certification
AHRI Launches CEC API for Several Certification Programs

This week AHRI will launch the application programming interface for the California Energy Commission (CEC) reporting process affecting the following certification programs: commercial and residential boilers, direct heating equipment, heat pump pool heaters, and packaged terminal air conditioners. The API will transmit changed or new records automatically to the CEC every Wednesday, whereas the old process was executed manually once per month. AHRI plans to introduce this feature for all programs over the next several weeks. Contact: Emily Davis.

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Unitary Small Heating Certification Programs to Include International Ratings

AHRI plans to add international ratings functionality to the unitary small heating certification programs on April 27. This change will involve additional fields in the add/edit template and view/download exports, some of which will be published across all search features. Further details will be available in subsequent weekly updates via AHRI Connect. In addition, Austin Kim and Bridge Xue are working closely with manufacturers to provide advance notice of template changes. Contact: Emily Davis.

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ASHRAE SSPC 62.2 to Consider New Proposal in June

In March 2017, a proposal was submitted to ASHRAE SSPC 62.2, Ventilation and Acceptable Indoor Air Quality in Residential Buildings, that would have effectively banned the installation of vent-free appliances in homes designated as 62.2 compliant. It established criteria that were more stringent than the existing ASHRAE Position Document on Unvented Combustion, and included an equation that used maximum input with no cycling provisions or consideration of temperature and human comfort. While many comments were submitted on this proposal, as well as on a second proposal, they were not properly considered and resolved in accordance with the ASHRAE procedures and ANSI Essential Requirements.

Following an official repeal and rejection of the proposal by the ASHRAE Board of Directors, the Standards Committee established an ad hoc working group consisting of members from the Standards Committee, the SSPC, and the vent-free industry. With assistance from the Vent-Free Alliance, the working group recently approved a new proposal that includes cycling and thermostatic controls as well as information from the ASHRAE Position Document on Unvented Combustion Devices and Indoor Air Quality. It will be submitted to the SSPC for consideration during its June 2020 meeting. Contact: Shannon Corcoran.

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Global
AHRI Submits Comments to Brazil and Egypt on Draft Energy Efficiency Standards

AHRI submitted comments (in English and Portuguese) April 3 to the Brazilian National Institute of Metrology, Quality, and Technology (INMETRO) on its draft Resolution 01 from January 27, regarding conformity assessment requirements for air conditioners (mini splits). AHRI commended Brazil for its efforts to set minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) and recommended that the draft include a reference to AHRI Testing and Rating Standard 210/240-2017, Performance Rating of Unitary Air Conditioning& Air-Source Heat Pump Equipment.

On April 6, AHRI submitted comments to the Egyptian Organization for Standardization and Quality Control concerning the draft revision of Egyptian Standard ES 5149-2 for commercial refrigerating appliances, including refrigerated display cabinets and cold rooms. AHRI also commended Egypt for its efforts to set MEPS and recommended that the nation consider referencing AHRI standard 1200 (I-P/2013), Performance Rating of Commercial Refrigerated Display Merchandisers and Storage Cabinets. Contact: MichaelLaGiglia.

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