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Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Information Collection Activities Associated With EPA's ENERGY STAR Program in the Residential Sector; EPA ICR No. 2193.02, OMB Control No. 2060-0586

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), this document announces that EPA is planning to submit a request to renew an existing approved Information Collection Request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This ICR is scheduled to expire on November 30, 2009. Before submitting the ICR to OMB for review and approval, EPA is soliciting comments on specific aspects of the proposed information collection as described below.

DATES:

Comments must be submitted on or before July 28, 2009.

ADDRESSES:

Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2004-0500, by one of the following methods:

  • www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
  • E-mail: a-and-r-Docket@epa.gov.
  • Fax: (202) 566-9744.
  • Mail: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA Docket Center, Air and Radiation Docket, Mailcode 28221T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460.
  • Hand Delivery: Air and Radiation Docket in the EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC), EPA West Building, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Start Printed Page 25733Washington, DC. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket's normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.

Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2004-0500. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through www.regulations.gov or e-mail. The www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an e-mail comment directly to EPA without going through www.regulations.gov, your e-mail address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. For additional information about EPA's public docket, visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at http://www.epa.gov/​epahome/​dockets.htm.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Brian Ng, Energy Star Program, Mailcode 6202J, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 343-9162; fax number: (202) 343-2200; e-mail address: ng.brian@epa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

How Can I Access the Docket and/or Submit Comments?

EPA has established a public docket for this ICR under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2004-0500, which is available for online viewing at www.regulations.gov, or in person viewing at the Air and Radiation Docket in the EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC), EPA West Building, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC. The EPA/DC Public Reading Room is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Reading Room is 202-566-1744, and the telephone number for the Air and Radiation Docket is 202-566-1742.

Use www.regulations.gov to obtain a copy of the draft collection of information, submit or view public comments, access the index listing of the contents of the docket, and to access those documents in the public docket that are available electronically. Once in the system, select “search,” then key in the docket ID number identified in this document.

What Information Is EPA Particularly Interested in?

Pursuant to section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA, EPA specifically solicits comments and information to enable it to:

(i) Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;

(ii) Evaluate the accuracy of the Agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

(iii) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

(iv) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. In particular, EPA is requesting comments from very small businesses (those that employ less than 25) on examples of specific additional efforts that EPA could make to reduce the paperwork burden for very small businesses affected by this collection.

What Should I Consider When I Prepare My Comments for EPA?

You may find the following suggestions helpful for preparing your comments:

1. Explain your views as clearly as possible and provide specific examples.

2. Describe any assumptions that you used.

3. Provide copies of any technical information and/or data you used that support your views.

4. If you estimate potential burden or costs, explain how you arrived at the estimate that you provide.

5. Offer alternative ways to improve the collection activity.

6. Make sure to submit your comments by the deadline identified under DATES.

7. To ensure proper receipt by EPA, be sure to identify the docket ID number assigned to this action in the subject line on the first page of your response. You may also provide the name, date, and Federal Register citation.

What Information Collection Activity or ICR Does This Apply to?

Affected entities: Entities potentially affected by this action are home builders, home owners, home energy verification organizations, lenders, regional energy efficiency programs, home improvement contractors, and national, regional, state, or local government entities and other organizations that serve the home building or home improvement industries.

Title: Information Collection Activities Associated with EPA's ENERGY STAR Program in the Residential Sector.

ICR Numbers: EPA ICR No. 2193.02, OMB Control No. 2060-0586.

ICR Status: This ICR is currently scheduled to expire on November 30, 2009. An Agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information, unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. The OMB control numbers for EPA's regulations in title 40 of the CFR, after appearing in the Federal Register when approved, are listed in 40 CFR part 9 and are displayed either by publication in the Federal Register or by other appropriate means, such as on the related collection instrument or form, if applicable. The display of OMB control numbers in certain EPA regulations is consolidated in 40 CFR part 9.

Abstract: EPA introduced ENERGY STAR in 1992 to label energy efficient computers. Since then, EPA and the Department of Energy (DOE) have expanded the ENERGY STAR Program to promote energy efficiency in products and commercial and residential buildings. Increased energy efficiency through ENERGY STAR provides cost savings to businesses and homeowners, reduces greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, and increases U.S. energy security and reliability.

EPA announced ENERGY STAR for New Homes in 1995 as part of its effort to promote energy efficient construction in the new homes market. EPA rolled Start Printed Page 25734out its existing homes effort in 2000 to promote comprehensive, cost-effective upgrades to the existing homes market. These two efforts promote home envelope improvements such as the proper installation of adequate insulation, sealing of holes and gaps that allow air into the home, and installation of energy efficient windows. In addition to the home envelope, EPA promotes energy efficient heating and cooling equipment, including sealing leaky ducts that distribute conditioned air.

EPA has developed this ICR to obtain authorization to collect information from the public for the activities described below.

ENERGY STAR Partnership: An organization interested in joining ENERGY STAR as a partner is asked to submit a partnership agreement establishing its commitment to promoting ENERGY STAR. Partners agree to undertake efforts such as educating staff and the public about their partnership with ENERGY STAR, developing and implementing a plan to improve energy performance in homes, and highlighting achievements utilizing the ENERGY STAR logos. Partners are encouraged to undertake related activities for added benefit and/or public recognition, such as committing to build 100% ENERGY STAR qualified new homes or offering homebuyers ENERGY STAR's Advanced Lighting Package.

Evaluation: Partners and other program participants are asked to periodically submit information to EPA as needed to assist in evaluating ENERGY STAR's effectiveness in helping organizations promote energy efficiency in homes, to assess partners' level of interest and ability in promoting ENERGY STAR in the residential sector, and to determine the impact that ENERGY STAR has on the supply and demand for energy-efficient homes and home improvement products and services. For example, EPA periodically contacts a subset of partners about their participation in the ENERGY STAR Program to determine how it has impacted their organization and areas for improvement. EPA also provides tools to help educate homeowners about their homes' energy efficiency. For example, a homeowner can input basic information about their home and their utility costs into EPA's Home Energy Yardstick to compare their household's energy use to others and get recommendations for improvement. EPA would like to utilize some of this information to evaluate the tool's usefulness as well as evaluate the impact of energy efficiency improvements as well as other characteristics of the home on home energy efficiency.

Quarterly Reporting: Partners are asked to submit information each calendar quarter to assist EPA in tracking and measuring progress and program implementation. This includes submitting quarterly updates on partners' level of activity in qualifying new homes for the ENERGY STAR label and activity in improving the energy efficiency of existing homes.

ENERGY STAR Awards: Each year partners are eligible for an ENERGY STAR award, which recognizes organizations demonstrating outstanding support in promoting ENERGY STAR. This award program provides partners with public recognition and market differentiation. There is an application form that is submitted to EPA by partners interested in being eligible for an award.

Outreach Partnership: Partners have the opportunity to participate in an outreach partnership with EPA to develop public education campaigns featuring the benefits of ENERGY STAR qualified homes. Partners interested in participating in the outreach program are asked to submit a form detailing their level of participation.

Finally, organizations are encouraged to participate in other voluntary activities under the program, such as pilot projects designed to help EPA find better ways to encourage energy efficiency in new and existing homes.

Burden Statement: The annual burden for joining ENERGY STAR and conducting related activities is estimated to range from about 1 to 100 hours per respondent. This includes time for preparing and submitting the Partnership Agreement and related information, if requested, and carrying out specified activities under the partnership (e.g., verifying site-built homes to see if they qualify for an ENERGY STAR Label). The annual burden for partner evaluations is estimated to range from 15 minutes to 4 hours per respondent. This includes time for responding to EPA's questions posed during a phone interview or other method. The annual burden for quarterly reporting is estimated to range from about 3.5 to 10 hours per respondent. This includes time for submitting specified information to EPA on a quarterly basis. The annual burden for the annual awards is estimated to range from about 10.5 to 30 hours per respondent. This includes time for preparing and submitting the application materials and, if requested, an annual report. The annual burden for the outreach activities is estimated to range from about 1 to 40 hours per respondent. This includes time for preparing and submitting the commitment form and performing outreach activities under the partnership (e.g., implementing an outreach campaign).

Burden means the total time, effort, or financial resources expended by persons to generate, maintain, retain, or disclose or provide information to or for a Federal agency. This includes the time needed to review instructions; develop, acquire, install, and utilize technology and systems for the purposes of collecting, validating, and verifying information, processing and maintaining information, and disclosing and providing information; adjust the existing ways to comply with any previously applicable instructions and requirements which have subsequently changed; train personnel to be able to respond to a collection of information; search data sources; complete and review the collection of information; and transmit or otherwise disclose the information.

The ICR provides a detailed explanation of the Agency's estimate, which is only briefly summarized here:

Estimated total number of potential respondents: 80,000.

Frequency of response: Once, quarterly, annually, on occasion.

Estimated total annual burden hours: 297,997.

Estimated total annual costs: $18.7 million. This includes an estimated cost of approximately $18.6 million for labor and $0.1 million for capital investment, operation and maintenance.

Are There Changes in the Estimates From the Last Approval?

There is an increase of 122,548 hours in the total estimated respondent burden compared with that identified in the ICR currently approved by OMB. This increase results partly from adjustments to EPA's burden estimates of its existing collections (e.g., updates to the number of respondents and activities). The increase also results from some new, voluntary programs that EPA would like to offer industry and homeowners to further promote energy efficiency in new and existing homes. For example, EPA intends to offer a voluntary, online tool for homeowners to compare their home's energy efficiency to other, similar homes. They would enter basic information from their utility bills and their home's size and location to derive comparative information. This would help them take steps to reduce their home's energy usage and costs. Because the tool would be user-friendly and yet beneficial, EPA Start Printed Page 25735estimates that many homeowners would use it (i.e., 75,000 homeowners/yr.).

What Is the Next Step in the Process for this ICR?

EPA will consider the comments received and amend the ICR as appropriate. The final ICR package will then be submitted to OMB for review and approval pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.12. At that time, EPA will issue another Federal Register notice pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.5(a)(1)(iv) to announce the submission of the ICR to OMB and the opportunity to submit additional comments to OMB. If you have any questions about this ICR or the approval process, please contact the technical person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

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Dated: May 21, 2009.

Kathleen Hogan,

Director, Climate Protection Partnerships Division.

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[FR Doc. E9-12467 Filed 5-28-09; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6560-50-P