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Proposed Rule

Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards for Consumer Clothes Dryers, Webinar and Availability of the Preliminary Technical Support Document

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Start Preamble Start Printed Page 20327

AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Notification of a webinar and availability of preliminary technical support document.

SUMMARY:

The U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE” or “the Department”) will hold a webinar to discuss and receive comments on the preliminary analysis it has conducted for purposes of evaluating energy conservation standards for consumer clothes dryers. The webinar will cover the analytical framework, models, and tools that DOE is using to evaluate potential standards for this product; the results of preliminary analyses performed by DOE for this product; the potential energy conservation standard levels derived from these analyses that DOE could consider for this product should it determine that proposed amendments are necessary; and any other issues relevant to the evaluation of energy conservation standards for consumer clothes dryers. In addition, DOE encourages written comments on these subjects. To inform interested parties and to facilitate this process, DOE has prepared an agenda, a preliminary technical support document (“TSD”), and briefing materials, which are available on the DOE website at: https://www1.eere.energy.gov/​buildings/​appliance_​standards/​standards.aspx?​productid=​50&​action=​viewlive.

DATES:

Meeting: DOE will hold a webinar on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. See section IV, “Public Participation,” for webinar registration information, participant instructions, and information about the capabilities available to webinar participants.

Comments: Written comments and information will be accepted on or before, July 6, 2021.

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 by email to the following address: ResClothesDryers2014STD0058@ee.doe.gov. Include “Notification of a webinar and availability of preliminary technical support document” and docket number EERE-2014-BT-STD-0058 and/or RIN number 1904-AD99 in the subject line of the message. Submit electronic comments in WordPerfect, Microsoft Word, PDF, or ASCII file format, and avoid the use of special characters or any form of encryption.

Although DOE has routinely accepted public comment submissions through a variety of mechanisms, including postal mail and hand delivery/courier, the Department has found it necessary to make temporary modifications to the comment submission process in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. DOE is currently accepting only electronic submissions at this time. If a commenter finds that this change poses an undue hardship, please contact Appliance Standards Program staff at (202) 586-1445 to discuss the need for alternative arrangements. Once the Covid-19 pandemic health emergency is resolved, DOE anticipates resuming all of its regular options for public comment submission, including postal mail and hand delivery/courier.

No telefacsimiles (“faxes”) will be accepted. For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional information on this process, see section IV 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 http://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 https://www.regulations.gov/​docket?​D=​EERE-2014-BT-STD-0058. The docket web page contains instructions on how to access all documents, including public comments in the docket. See section IV for information on how to submit comments through http://www.regulations.gov.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mr. Bryan Berringer, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Building Technologies, EE-2J, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20585-0121. Telephone: (202) 586-0371. Email: ApplianceStandardsQuestions@ee.doe.gov.

Ms. Kathryn McIntosh, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the General Counsel, GC-33, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20585-0121. Telephone: (202) 586-2002. Email: Kathryn.McIntosh@hq.doe.gov.

For further information on how to submit a comment, review other public comments and the docket, or participate in the webinar, contact the Appliance and Equipment Standards Program staff at (202) 287-1445 or by email: ApplianceStandardsQuestions@ee.doe.gov.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

I. Introduction

A. Authority

B. Rulemaking Process

II. Background

A. Current Standards

B. Current Process

III. Summary of the Analyses Performed by DOE

A. Engineering Analysis

B. Markups Analysis

C. Energy Use Analysis

D. Life-Cycle Cost and Payback Period Analyses

E. National Impact Analysis

IV. Public Participation

A. Participation in the Webinar

B. Procedure for Submitting Prepared General Statements for Distribution

C. Conduct of the Webinar

D. Submission of Comments

E. Issues on Which DOE Seeks Comment

V. Approval of the Office of the Secretary

I. Introduction

A. Authority

The Energy Policy and Conservation Act, as amended (“EPCA”),[1] among other things, authorizes DOE to regulate the energy efficiency of a number of consumer products and certain industrial equipment. 42 U.S.C. 6291-6317. Title III, Part B [2] of EPCA established the Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products Other Than Automobiles. These products include consumer clothes dryers, the subject of this document. 42 U.S.C. 6292(a)(8). EPCA prescribed energy conservation standards for these products, and directed DOE to conduct two cycles of rulemakings to determine whether to amend these standards. 42 U.S.C. 6295(g)(4). EPCA further provides that, not later than 6 years after the issuance of any final rule establishing or amending a standard, DOE must publish either a notice of Start Printed Page 20328determination that standards for the product do not need to be amended, or a notice of proposed rulemaking (“NOPR”) including new proposed energy conservation standards (proceeding to a final rule, as appropriate). 42 U.S.C. 6295(m)(1). Not later than three years after issuance of a final determination not to amend standards, DOE must publish either a notice of determination that standards for the product do not need to be amended, or a NOPR including new proposed energy conservation standards (proceeding to a final rule, as appropriate). 42 U.S.C. 6295(m)(3)(B).

DOE is publishing this Preliminary Analysis to collect data and information to inform its decision consistent with its obligations under EPCA.

B. Rulemaking Process

DOE must follow specific statutory criteria for prescribing new or amended standards for covered products, including consumer clothes dryers. EPCA requires that any new or amended energy conservation standard prescribed by the Secretary of Energy (“Secretary”) be designed to achieve the maximum improvement in energy efficiency (or water efficiency for certain products specified by EPCA) that is technologically feasible and economically justified. 42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(2)(A). Furthermore, DOE may not adopt any standard that would not result in the significant conservation of energy. 42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(3)(B). The Secretary may not prescribe an amended or new standard that will not result in significant conservation of energy, or is not technologically feasible or economically justified. Id.

On February 14, 2020, DOE published an update to its procedures, interpretations, and policies for consideration in new or revised energy conservation standards and test procedure, i.e., “Procedures, Interpretations, and Policies for Consideration of New or Revised Energy Conservation Standards and Test Procedures for Consumer Products and Certain Commercial/Industrial Equipment” (see 10 CFR part 430, subpart C, appendix A (“Process Rule,”)).[3] 85 FR 8626. In the updated Process Rule, DOE established a significance threshold for energy savings under which DOE employs a two-step approach that considers both an absolute site energy savings threshold and a threshold that is a percent reduction in the energy use of the covered product. Section 6(a) of the Process Rule.

DOE first evaluates the projected energy savings from a potential maximum technologically feasible (“max-tech”) standard over a 30-year period against a 0.3 quadrillion British thermal units (“quads”) of site energy savings threshold. Section 6(b)(2) of the Process Rule. If the 0.3-quad threshold is not met, DOE then compares the max-tech savings to the total energy usage of the covered product to calculate a percentage reduction in energy usage. Section 6(b)(3) of the Process Rule. If this comparison does not yield a reduction in site energy use of at least 10 percent over a 30-year period, the analysis will end and DOE will propose to determine that no significant energy savings would likely result from setting new or amended standards. Section 6(b)(4) of the Process Rule. If either one of the thresholds is reached, DOE will conduct analyses to ascertain whether a standard can be prescribed that produces the maximum improvement in energy efficiency that is both technologically feasible and economically justified and still constitutes significant energy savings at the level determined to be economically justified. Section 6(b)(5) of the Process Rule. This two-step approach allows DOE to ascertain whether a potential standard satisfies EPCA's significant energy savings requirements in 42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(3)(B) to ensure that DOE avoids setting a standard that “will not result in significant conservation of energy.”

EPCA defines “energy efficiency” as the ratio of the useful output of services from a consumer product to the energy use of such product, measured according to the Federal test procedures. (42 U.S.C. 6291(5), emphasis added) EPCA defines “energy use” as the quantity of energy directly consumed by a consumer product at point of use, as measured by the Federal test procedures. (42 U.S.C. 6291(4)) Further, EPCA uses a household energy consumption metric as a threshold for setting standards for new covered products. (42 U.S.C. 6295(l)(1)) Given this context, DOE relies on site energy as the appropriate metric for evaluating the significance of energy savings.

To determine whether a standard is economically justified, EPCA requires that DOE determine whether the benefits of the standard exceed its burdens by considering, to the greatest extent practicable, the following seven factors:

(1) The economic impact of the standard on the manufacturers and consumers of the products subject to the standard;

(2) the savings in operating costs throughout the estimated average life of the covered products in the type (or class) compared to any increase in the price, initial charges, or maintenance expenses for the covered products that are likely to result from the standard;

(3) the total projected amount of energy (or as applicable, water) savings likely to result directly from the standard;

(4) any lessening of the utility or the performance of the products likely to result from the standard;

(5) the impact of any lessening of competition, as determined in writing by the Attorney General, that is likely to result from the standard;

(6) the need for national energy and water conservation; and

(7) other factors the Secretary of Energy (Secretary) considers relevant.

42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(2)(B)(i)(I)-(VII).

DOE fulfills these and other applicable requirements by conducting a series of analyses throughout the rulemaking process. Table I.1 shows the individual analyses that are performed to satisfy each of the requirements within EPCA.Start Printed Page 20329

Table I.1—EPCA Requirements and Corresponding DOE Analysis

EPCA requirementCorresponding DOE analysis
Significant Energy Savings• Shipments Analysis. • National Impact Analysis. • Energy and Water Use Determination.
Technological Feasibility• Market and Technology Assessment. • Screening Analysis. • Engineering Analysis.
Economic Justification:
1. Economic impact on manufacturers and consumers• Manufacturer Impact Analysis. • Life-Cycle Cost and Payback Period Analysis. • Life-Cycle Cost Subgroup Analysis. • Shipments Analysis.
2. Lifetime operating cost savings compared to increased cost for the product• Markups for Product Price Determination. • Energy and Water Use Determination. • Life-Cycle Cost and Payback Period Analysis.
3. Total projected energy savings• Shipments Analysis. • National Impact Analysis.
4. Impact on utility or performance• Screening Analysis. • Engineering Analysis.
5. Impact of any lessening of competition• Manufacturer Impact Analysis.
6. Need for national energy and water conservation• Shipments Analysis. • National Impact Analysis.
7. Other factors the Secretary considers relevant• Employment Impact Analysis. • Utility Impact Analysis. • Emissions Analysis. • Monetization of Emission Reductions Benefits. • Regulatory Impact Analysis.

Further, EPCA establishes a rebuttable presumption that a standard is economically justified if the Secretary finds that the additional cost to the consumer of purchasing a product complying with an energy conservation standard level will be less than three times the value of the energy savings during the first year that the consumer will receive as a result of the standard, as calculated under the applicable test procedure. 42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(2)(B)(iii).

EPCA also contains what is known as an “anti-backsliding” provision, which prevents the Secretary from prescribing any amended standard that either increases the maximum allowable energy use or decreases the minimum required energy efficiency of a covered product. 42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(1). Also, the Secretary may not prescribe an amended or new standard if interested persons have established by a preponderance of the evidence that the standard is likely to result in the unavailability in the United States in any covered product type (or class) of performance characteristics (including reliability), features, sizes, capacities, and volumes that are substantially the same as those generally available in the United States. 42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(4).

Additionally, EPCA specifies requirements when promulgating an energy conservation standard for a covered product that has two or more subcategories. DOE must specify a different standard level for a type or class of product that has the same function or intended use, if DOE determines that products within such group: (A) Consume a different kind of energy from that consumed by other covered products within such type (or class); or (B) have a capacity or other performance-related feature which other products within such type (or class) do not have and such feature justifies a higher or lower standard. 42 U.S.C. 6295(q)(1). In determining whether a performance-related feature justifies a different standard for a group of products, DOE must consider such factors as the utility to the consumer of the feature and other factors DOE deems appropriate. Id. Any rule prescribing such a standard must include an explanation of the basis on which such higher or lower level was established. 42 U.S.C. 6295(q)(2).

Pursuant to the amendments contained in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (“EISA 2007”), Public Law 110-140, any final rule for new or amended energy conservation standards promulgated after July 1, 2010, is required to address standby mode and off mode energy use. 42 U.S.C. 6295(gg)(3). Specifically, when DOE adopts a standard for a covered product after that date, it must, if justified by the criteria for adoption of standards under EPCA (42 U.S.C. 6295(o)), incorporate standby mode and off mode energy use into a single standard, or, if that is not feasible, adopt a separate standard for such energy use for that product. 42 U.S.C. 6295(gg)(3). DOE's current test procedures for consumer clothes dryers address standby mode and off mode energy use. In this rulemaking, DOE intends to incorporate such energy use into any amended energy conservation standards it adopts in the final rule.

Before proposing a standard, DOE seeks public input on the analytical framework, models, and tools that DOE intends to use to evaluate standards for the product at issue and the results of preliminary analyses DOE performed for the product.

DOE is examining whether to amend the current standards for consumer clothes dryers pursuant to its obligations under EPCA. This document announces the availability of the preliminary TSD, which details the preliminary analyses and summarizes the preliminary results of DOE's analyses. In addition, DOE is announcing a webinar to solicit feedback from interested parties on its analytical framework, models, and preliminary results.

II. Background

A. Current Standards

The most recent standards rulemaking for consumer clothes dryers was promulgated on April 21, 2011. Specifically, DOE published a direct final rule (the “2011 Direct Final Rule”) amending the energy conservation standard for consumer clothes dryers. 76 FR 22454 (Apr. 21, 2011). The energy Start Printed Page 20330conservation standards, as amended in the 2011 Direct Final Rule, represent the current standards and are based on the combined energy factor (“CEF”)—a metric that incorporates energy use in active mode, standby mode, and off mode. Compliance with the current standards was required as of January 1, 2015. 76 FR 52852 (Aug. 24, 2011).

Table II.1—Current Consumer Clothes Dryers Standards

Product classCEF (lbs/kWh)
(A) Vented Electric, Standard (4.4 ft3 or greater capacity)3.73
(B) Vented Electric, Compact (120V) (less than 4.4 ft3 capacity)3.61
(C) Vented Electric, Compact (240V) (less than 4.4 ft3 capacity)3.27
(D) Vented Gas3.30
(E) Ventless Electric, Compact (240V) (less than 4.4 ft3 capacity)2.55
(F) Ventless Electric, Combination Washer-Dryer2.08

On December 16, 2020, DOE published a final rule establishing a separate product classes for consumer clothes dryers that offer cycle times for a “normal” cycle [4] of less than 30 minutes. 85 FR 81359 (Dec. 16, 2020) (“December 2020 Final Rule”). Because no such “short-cycle” consumer clothes dryers are currently on the market in the United States, DOE did not include analysis of this newly established product class in the preliminary TSD.

As noted, section 2 of E.O. 13990 directs agencies, in part, to immediately review all existing regulations, orders, guidance documents, policies, and any other similar agency actions (“agency actions”) promulgated, issued, or adopted between January 20, 2017, and January 20, 2021, that are or may be inconsistent with, or present obstacles to, the policy set forth in the Executive Order. E.O. 13990 section 2. In response to this directive, DOE has undertaken a review of the new, short cycle product classes for clothes dryers at this time.

B. Current Process

DOE published a request for information (“RFI”) on March 27, 2015 (the “March 2015 RFI”) describing the approaches and methods DOE will use in evaluating potential amended standards for consumer clothes dryers. 80 FR 16309 (Mar. 27, 2015). In addition, the RFI solicited information from the public to help DOE determine whether amended standards for consumer clothes dryers would result in a significant amount of additional energy savings, and whether those standards would be technologically feasible and economically justified. Id. The March 2015 RFI is available at https://www.regulations.gov/​document?​D=​EERE-2014-BT-STD-0058-0001.

In response to the publication of the March 2015 RFI, DOE received comments regarding DOE's analytical approach from interested parties, including manufacturers, trade associations, environmental and energy efficiency advocates, and other interested parties.

Comments received since publication of the March 2015 RFI have helped DOE identify and resolve issues related to the preliminary analyses. Chapter 2 of the preliminary TSD summarizes and addresses the comments received.

III. Summary of the Analyses Performed by DOE

For the products covered in this preliminary analysis, DOE conducted in-depth technical analyses in the following areas: (1) Engineering; (2) markups to determine product price; (3) energy use; (4) life-cycle cost (“LCC”) and payback period (“PBP”); and (5) national impacts. The preliminary TSD that presents the methodology and results of each of these analyses is available at https://www1.eere.energy.gov/​buildings/​appliance_​standards/​standards.aspx?​productid=​50&​action=​viewlive.

DOE also conducted, and has included in the preliminary TSD, several other analyses that support the major analyses or are preliminary analyses that will be expanded upon if DOE determines that a NOPR is warranted to propose amended energy conservation standards. These analyses include: (1) The market and technology assessment; (2) the screening analysis, which contributes to the engineering analysis; and (3) the shipments analysis, which contributes to the LCC and PBP analysis and the national impact analysis (“NIA”). In addition to these analyses, DOE has begun preliminary work on the manufacturer impact analysis and has identified the methods to be used for the consumer subgroup analysis, the emissions analysis, the employment impact analysis, the regulatory impact analysis, and the utility impact analysis. DOE will expand upon these analyses in the NOPR should one be issued.

A. Engineering Analysis

The purpose of the engineering analysis is to establish the relationship between the efficiency and cost of consumer clothes dryers. There are two elements to consider in the engineering analysis; the selection of efficiency levels to analyze (i.e., the “efficiency analysis”) and the determination of consumer clothes dryer cost at each efficiency level (i.e., the “cost analysis”). In determining the performance of higher-efficiency consumer clothes dryers, DOE considers technologies and design option combinations not eliminated by the screening analysis. For each product class, DOE estimates the baseline cost, as well as the incremental cost for the product at efficiency levels above the baseline. The output of the engineering analysis is a set of cost-efficiency “curves” that are used in downstream analyses (i.e., the LCC and PBP analyses and the NIA).

See Chapter 5 of the preliminary TSD for additional detail on the engineering analysis.

B. Markups Analysis

The markups analysis develops appropriate markups (e.g., retailer markups, distributor markups, contractor markups) in the distribution chain and sales taxes to convert manufacturer production cost (“MPC”) estimates derived in the engineering analysis to consumer prices, which are then used in the LCC and PBP analysis and in the manufacturer impact analysis. At each step in the distribution channel, companies mark up the price of the product to cover business costs and profit margin.

DOE developed baseline and incremental markups for each actor in the distribution chain. Baseline markups are applied to the price of products with baseline efficiency, while incremental markups are applied to the difference in price between baseline and higher-efficiency models (the incremental cost increase). The incremental markup is typically less than the baseline markup and is designed to maintain similar per-unit operating profit before and after new or amended standards.[5]

Start Printed Page 20331

Chapter 6 of the preliminary TSD provides details on DOE's development of markups for consumer clothes dryers.

C. Energy Use Analysis

The purpose of the energy use analysis is to determine the annual energy consumption of consumer clothes dryers at different efficiencies in representative U.S. single-family homes, and multi-family residences, and to assess the energy savings potential of increased consumer clothes dryer efficiency. The energy use analysis estimates the range of energy use of consumer clothes dryers in the field (i.e., as they are actually used by consumers). The energy use analysis provides the basis for other analyses DOE performed, particularly assessments of the energy savings and the savings in consumer operating costs that could result from adoption of amended or new standards.

Chapter 7 of the preliminary TSD addresses the energy use analysis.

D. Life-Cycle Cost and Payback Period Analyses

The effect of new or amended energy conservation standards on individual consumers usually involves a reduction in operating cost and an increase in purchase cost. DOE used the following two metrics to measure consumer impacts:

  • The LCC is the total consumer expense of an appliance or product over the life of that product, consisting of total installed cost (manufacturer selling price, distribution chain markups, sales tax, and installation costs) plus operating costs (expenses for energy use, maintenance, and repair). To compute the operating costs, DOE discounts future operating costs to the time of purchase and sums them over the lifetime of the product.
  • The PBP is the estimated amount of time (in years) it takes consumers to recover the increased purchase cost (including installation) of a more-efficient product through lower operating costs. DOE calculates the PBP by dividing the change in purchase cost at higher efficiency levels by the change in annual operating cost for the year that amended or new standards are assumed to take effect.

Chapter 8 of the preliminary TSD addresses the LCC and PBP analyses.

E. National Impact Analysis

The NIA estimates the national energy savings (“NES”) and the net present value (“NPV”) of total consumer costs and savings expected to result from amended standards at specific efficiency levels (referred to as candidate standard levels).[6] DOE calculates the NES and NPV for the potential standard levels considered based on projections of annual product shipments, along with the annual energy consumption and total installed cost data from the energy use and LCC analyses. For the present analysis, DOE projected the energy savings, operating cost savings, product costs, and NPV of consumer benefits over the lifetime of consumer clothes dryers sold from 2024 to 2053.

DOE evaluates the impacts of new or amended standards by comparing a case without such standards with standards-case projections. The no-new-standards case characterizes energy use and consumer costs for each product class in the absence of new or amended energy conservation standards. For this projection, DOE considers historical trends in efficiency and various forces that are likely to affect the mix of efficiencies over time. DOE compares the no-new-standards case with projections characterizing the market for each product class if DOE adopted new or amended standards at specific energy efficiency levels for that class. For each efficiency level, DOE considers how a given standard would likely affect the market shares of products with efficiencies greater than the standard.

DOE uses a spreadsheet model to calculate the energy savings and the national consumer costs and savings from each efficiency level. Interested parties can review DOE's analyses by changing various input quantities within the spreadsheet. The NIA spreadsheet model uses typical values (as opposed to probability distributions) as inputs. Critical inputs to this analysis include shipments projections, estimated product lifetimes, product installed costs and operating costs, product annual energy consumption, the no-new-standards case efficiency projection, and discount rates.

DOE estimates a combined total of 2.61 quads of site energy savings at the max- tech efficiency levels for consumer clothes dryers (Efficiency Level 6 for vented electric standard and compact units, Efficiency Level 4 for vented gas standard and compact units, and Efficiency Level 2 for ventless electric units). Combined site energy savings at Efficiency Level 1 for all product classes are estimated to be 0.48 quads. Therefore, DOE has determined the potential energy savings for consumer clothes dryers are more than the 0.3 quads of site energy threshold established by the Process Rule and are considered significant under EPCA. (42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(3)(B)) DOE seeks comment on the estimated combined total site energy savings, and the determination that the energy savings potential for consumer clothes dryers are more than the 0.3-quad threshold established by the Process Rule.

Chapter 10 of the preliminary TSD addresses the NIA.

IV. Public Participation

DOE invites public input in this process through participation in the webinar and submission of written comments and information. After the webinar and the closing of the comment period, DOE will consider all timely-submitted comments and additional information obtained from interested parties, as well as information obtained through further analyses. Following such consideration, the Department will publish either a proposed determination that the standards for consumer clothes dryers need not be amended or a proposed rule to amend the current standards. Members of the public would be given an opportunity to submit written and oral comments on either proposal.

A. Participation in the Webinar

The time and date of the webinar are listed in the DATES section at the beginning of this document. Webinar registration information, participant instructions, and information about the capabilities available to webinar participants will be published on DOE's website at https://cms.doe.gov/​eere/​buildings/​public-meetings-and-comment-deadlines. Participants are responsible for ensuring their systems are compatible with the webinar software.

DOE encourages those who wish to participate in the webinar to obtain the preliminary TSD from DOE's website and to be prepared to discuss its contents. Once again, a copy of the preliminary TSD is available at: https://www1.eere.energy.gov/​buildings/​appliance_​standards/​standards.aspx?​productid=​50&​action=​viewlive. However, webinar participants need not limit their comments to the topics identified in the preliminary TSD; DOE is also interested in receiving views concerning other relevant issues that participants believe would affect energy conservation standards for this product or that DOE should address in a NOPR should one be issued.

B. Procedure for Submitting Prepared General Statements for Distribution

Any person who has an interest in the topics addressed in this document, or who is representative of a group or class Start Printed Page 20332of persons that has an interest in these issues, may request an opportunity to make an oral presentation at the webinar. Such persons may submit such request to ApplianceStandardsQuestions@ee.doe.gov. Persons who wish to speak should include with their request a computer file in WordPerfect, Microsoft Word, PDF, or text (ASCII) file format that briefly describes the nature of their interest in this rulemaking and the topics they wish to discuss. Such persons should also provide a daytime telephone number where they can be reached.

Persons requesting to speak should briefly describe the nature of their interest in this rulemaking and provide a telephone number for contact. DOE requests persons selected to make an oral presentation to submit an advance copy of their statements at least two weeks before the webinar. At its discretion, DOE may permit persons who cannot supply an advance copy of their statement to participate, if those persons have made advance alternative arrangements with the Building Technologies Office. As necessary, requests to give an oral presentation should ask for such alternative arrangements.

C. Conduct of the Webinar

DOE will designate a DOE official to preside at the webinar/public meeting and may also use a professional facilitator to aid discussion. The meeting will not be a judicial or evidentiary-type public hearing, but DOE will conduct it in accordance with section 336 of EPCA. 42 U.S.C. 6306. A court reporter will be present to record the proceedings and prepare a transcript. DOE reserves the right to schedule the order of presentations and to establish the procedures governing the conduct of the webinar. There shall not be discussion of proprietary information, costs or prices, market share, or other commercial matters regulated by U.S. anti-trust laws. After the webinar and until the end of the comment period, interested parties may submit further comments on the proceedings and any aspect of the rulemaking.

The webinar will be conducted in an informal, conference style. DOE will present summaries of comments received before the webinar, allow time for prepared general statements by participants, and encourage all interested parties to share their views on issues affecting this rulemaking. Each participant will be allowed to make a general statement (within time limits determined by DOE), before the discussion of specific topics. DOE will permit, as time permits, other participants to comment briefly on any general statements.

At the end of all prepared statements on a topic, DOE will permit participants to clarify their statements briefly. Participants should be prepared to answer questions by DOE and by other participants concerning these issues. DOE representatives may also ask questions of participants concerning other matters relevant to this rulemaking. The official conducting the webinar/public meeting will accept additional comments or questions from those attending, as time permits. The presiding official will announce any further procedural rules or modification of the above procedures that may be needed for the proper conduct of the webinar.

A transcript of the webinar will be included in the docket, which can be viewed as described in the Docket section at the beginning of this document. In addition, any person may buy a copy of the transcript from the transcribing reporter.

D. Submission of Comments

DOE will accept comments, data, and information regarding this preliminary analysis no later than the date provided in the DATES section at the beginning of this Notification of a webinar and availability of preliminary technical support document. Interested parties may submit comments using any of the methods described in the ADDRESSES section at the beginning of this document.

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 itself 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. Otherwise, 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 website 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. Comments and documents submitted via email 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, provide your contact information in 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. No telefacsimiles (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, that are written in English, and that are 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 Start Printed Page 20333compiled into one or more PDFs. This reduces comment processing and posting time.

Confidential Business Information. Pursuant 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 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. DOE will make its own determination about the confidential status of the information and treat it according to its determination.

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).

E. Issues on Which DOE Seeks Comment

DOE is interested in receiving comments from interested parties on all aspects of the preliminary TSD, especially comments or data that might improve DOE's analyses. DOE welcomes data or information that will help resolve the following specific issues, which were raised during preparation of the preliminary TSD.

1. Consumer Clothes Dryer Product Classes and Ventless Electric Standard Clothes Dryers

DOE requests comment on the current product classes for consumer clothes dryers. DOE also seeks feedback on current and projected shipments of ventless electric standard clothes dryers, which are not currently considered a separate product class as this configuration has only recently been introduced on the market.

2. Baseline Efficiency

To establish baseline efficiency levels for each of the product classes, DOE relied on test data using Appendix D2 from products in the DOE test sample. DOE seeks comment and additional test data from interested parties to characterize the baseline efficiency levels for each product class. In particular, DOE requests Appendix D2 test data disaggregated into standby mode/off mode and active mode energy use for each product class, as well as the type of automatic termination controls (e.g., electronic versus electromechanical controls, temperature sensing versus moisture sensing, etc.).

3. Incremental Efficiency Levels

DOE developed efficiency levels based on its review of market data and product testing consistent with products available on the U.S. market. DOE requests comment from interested parties on whether these efficiency levels are appropriate for this analysis.

4. Standby Power

DOE measured a range of standby power among the consumer clothes dryers in its test sample. However, through testing and reverse-engineering, DOE did not identify any design options for improving efficiency in standby mode or off mode. All of the products in the DOE test sample that were equipped with electronic controls used switch-mode power supplies, as opposed to less efficient linear power supplies, and automatically powered down the display after a period of user inactivity. DOE seeks comment on whether there are any design options or control strategies available to reduce standby mode power consumption.

5. Design Options and Cost Estimates

As discussed further in chapters 3 through 5 of the preliminary TSD, DOE developed a preliminary list of technology options and design paths for improving consumer clothes dryer efficiency. DOE requests feedback on whether there are additional technologies available that may improve consumer clothes dryer performance. DOE also seeks comment on whether the manufacturer production costs at each efficiency level are appropriate given the associated incremental changes manufacturers would likely make to meet these levels.

6. Energy Use Analysis

DOE relied on usage information for consumer clothes dryers as determined from the Residential Energy Consumption Survey (“RECS”) 2015 to establish the annual number of cycles for consumer clothes dryers. DOE requests input on its proposed method for determining usage hours and energy use.

7. Maintenance and Repair Costs

DOE seeks input from interested parties on characterizing maintenance and repair costs for more-efficient consumer clothes dryers.

8. Efficiency Distribution of Consumer Clothes Dryers

DOE requests data from interested parties to characterize the current mix of consumer clothes dryer efficiencies in the market.

9. Historical Shipments of Consumer Clothes Dryers

DOE requests historical shipments data for consumer clothes dryers, disaggregated by product class. DOE also seeks historical shipments data showing percentage of shipments by efficiency level for as many product classes as possible.

10. Product Lifetime

As discussed in chapter 8 of the preliminary TSD, the 2014 issue of Appliance magazine provides estimates of 7, 15, and 11 years for electric clothes dryers and 7, 16, and 12 years for gas clothes dryers, as the respective low, high, and average lifetimes. These estimates represent the expert judgment of Appliance staff based on input obtained from various sources. Because the basis for the estimates in the magazine was uncertain, DOE developed a method using household survey data to estimate the distribution of consumer clothes dryer lifetimes in the field. RECS records the presence and age of various appliances in each household. Data from the U.S. Census's American Housing Survey (“AHS”), which surveys all housing, including vacant and second homes, enabled DOE to adjust the most recent RECS data to reflect the presence of appliances outside of primary residences. By combining the results of both surveys with the known history of appliance shipments, DOE estimated the percentage of appliances of a given age still in operation and developed the appliance survival function in the form of a cumulative Weibull distribution, providing an average and a median appliance lifetime. DOE's approach yields an average age of 14 years for both electric and gas clothes dryers, with a distribution ranging between 2 and 30 years with varying probability of survival.

DOE requests comment from interested parties on the appropriateness of the two sources (DOE's approach of using survey data and Appliance magazine) for the current analysis. In the case of Appliance magazine's estimates, DOE welcomes any supporting evidence or data from stakeholders that corroborates the magazine's estimate.

11. National Impact Analysis

DOE seeks comment on the estimated combined total site energy savings, and the determination that the energy savings potential for consumer clothes dryers are more than the 0.3-quad threshold established by the Process Rule.Start Printed Page 20334

12. Manufacturer Subgroups

DOE seeks comment on any other potential manufacturer subgroups, besides small business manufacturers, that could be disproportionally affected by potential amended energy conservation standards for consumer clothes dryers.

V. Approval of the Office of the Secretary

The Secretary of Energy has approved publication of this notification of a webinar and availability of preliminary technical support document.

Signing Authority

This document of the Department of Energy was signed on April 11, 2021, by Kelly Speakes-Backman, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, pursuant to delegated authority from the Secretary of Energy. That document with the original signature and date is maintained by DOE. For administrative purposes only, and in compliance with requirements of the Office of the Federal Register, the undersigned DOE Federal Register Liaison Officer has been authorized to sign and submit the document in electronic format for publication, as an official document of the Department of Energy. This administrative process in no way alters the legal effect of this document upon publication in the Federal Register.

Start Signature

Signed in Washington, DC, on April 13, 2021.

Treena V. Garrett,

Federal Register Liaison Officer, U.S. Department of Energy.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

Footnotes

1.  All references to EPCA in this document refer to the statute as amended through the Energy Act of 2020, Public Law 116-260 (Dec. 27, 2020).

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2.  For editorial reasons, upon codification in the U.S. Code, Part B was redesignated Part A.

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3.  On January 20, 2021, the President issued Executive Order 13990, Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis. Exec. Order No. 13,990, 86 FR 7037 (Jan. 25, 2021) (“E.O. 13990”). E.O. 13990 affirms the Nation's commitment to empower our workers and communities; promote and protect our public health and the environment; and conserve our national treasures and monuments. To that end, the stated policies of E.O. 13990 include: improving public health and protecting our environment; ensuring access to clean air and water; and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. E.O. 13990 section 1. Section 2 of E.O. 13990 directs agencies, in part, to immediately review all existing regulations, orders, guidance documents, policies, and any other similar agency actions (“agency actions”) promulgated, issued, or adopted between January 20, 2017, and January 20, 2021, that are or may be inconsistent with, or present obstacles to, the policy set forth in the Executive Order. E.O. 13990 section 2. In addition, section 2(iii) of E.O. 13990 specifically directs DOE to, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, publishing for notice and comment a proposed rule suspending, revising, or rescinding the updated Process Rule. In response to this directive, DOE has undertaken a review of the updated Process Rule at this time.

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4.  Section 3.3.2 of Appendix D2 requires that the “normal” program shall be selected for the test cycle; for clothes dryers that do not have a “normal” program, the cycle recommended by the manufacturer for drying cotton or linen clothes shall be selected.

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5.  Because the projected price of standards-compliant products is typically higher than the price of baseline products, using the same markup for the incremental cost and the baseline cost would result in higher per-unit operating profit. While such an outcome is possible, DOE maintains that in markets that are reasonably competitive it is unlikely that standards would lead to a sustainable increase in profitability in the long run.

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6.  The NIA accounts for impacts in the 50 states and U.S. territories.

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[FR Doc. 2021-07823 Filed 4-16-21; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6450-01-P