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Proposed Rule

Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards for Consumer Products; Early Assessment Review; Dehumidifiers

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Request for information.

SUMMARY:

The U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) is undertaking an early assessment review for amended energy conservation standards for dehumidifiers to determine whether to amend applicable energy conservation standards for this product. Specifically, through this request for information (“RFI”), DOE seeks data and information that could enable the agency to determine whether DOE should propose a “no-new-standard” determination because a more stringent standard: Would not result in a significant savings of energy; is not technologically feasible; is not economically justified; or any combination of the foregoing. 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.

DATES:

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 https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Alternatively, interested persons may submit comments, identified by docket number EERE-2019-BT-STD-0043, by any of the following methods:

1. Federal eRulemaking Portal: https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

2. Email: To Dehumidifiers2019STD0043@ee.doe.gov. Include docket number EERE-2019-BT-STD-0043 in the subject line of the message.

No telefacsimilies (“faxes”) will be accepted. For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional information on this process, see section III of this document.

Although DOE has routinely accepted public comment submissions through a variety of mechanism, including the Federal eRulemaking Portal, email, postal mail, or 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 suspending receipt of public comments via postal mail and hand delivery/courier. 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.

Docket: The docket for this activity, which includes Federal Register notices, comments, and other supporting documents/materials, is available for review at https://www.regulations.gov. All documents in the docket are listed in the https://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/​#!docketDetail;​D=​EERE-2019-BT-STD-0043. The docket web page contains instructions on how to access all documents, including public comments, in the docket. See section III for information on how to submit comments through https://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 Office, EE-5B, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20585-0121. Telephone: (202) 586-0371. Email: ApplianceStandardsQuestions@ee.doe.gov.

Mr. Pete Cochran, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the General Counsel, GC-33, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20585-0121. Telephone: (202) 586-9496. Email: Peter.Cochran@hq.doe.gov.

For further information on how to submit a comment or review other public comments and the docket 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:Start Printed Page 29965

Table of Contents

I. Introduction

A. Authority

B. Rulemaking History

II. Request for Information

A. Significant Savings of Energy

B. Technological Feasibility

C. Economic Justification

III. Submission of Comments

I. Introduction

DOE has established an early assessment review process to conduct a more focused analysis of a specific set of facts or circumstances that would allow DOE to determine that, based on one or more statutory criteria, a new or amended energy conservation standard is not warranted. The purpose of this review is to limit the resources, from both DOE and stakeholders, committed to rulemakings that will not satisfy the requirements in Energy Policy and Conservation Act, as amended (“EPCA”)[1] that a new or amended energy conservation standard save a significant amount of energy, and be economically justified and technologically feasible. See 85 FR 8626, 8653-8654 (Feb. 14, 2020).

As part of the early assessment, DOE publishes a RFI in the Federal Register, announcing that DOE is considering initiating a rulemaking proceeding and soliciting comments, data, and information on whether a new or amended energy conservation standard would save a significant amount of energy and be technologically feasible and economically justified. Based on the information received in response to the RFI and DOE's own analysis, DOE will determine whether to proceed with a rulemaking for a new or amended energy conservation standard.

If DOE makes an initial determination based upon available evidence that a new or amended energy conservation standard would not meet the applicable statutory criteria, DOE would engage in notice and comment rulemaking before issuing a final determination that new or amended energy conservation standards are not warranted. Conversely, if DOE makes an initial determination that a new or amended energy conservation standard would satisfy the applicable statutory criteria or DOE's analysis is inconclusive, DOE would undertake the preliminary stages of a rulemaking to issue a new or amended energy conservation standard. Beginning such a rulemaking, however, would not preclude DOE from later making a determination that a new or amended energy conservation standard cannot satisfy the requirements in the EPCA, based upon the full suite of DOE's analyses. See 85 FR 8626, 8654 (Feb. 14, 2020).

A. Authority

EPCA, 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 dehumidifiers, the subject of this document. (42 U.S.C. 6295(cc))

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 EPCA specifically include definitions (42 U.S.C. 6291), test procedures (42 U.S.C. 6293), labeling provisions (42 U.S.C. 6294), energy conservation standards (42 U.S.C. 6295), 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. (42 U.S.C. 6297(a)-(c)) DOE may, however, grant waivers of Federal preemption for particular State laws or regulations, in accordance with the procedures and other provisions set forth under 42 U.S.C. 6297(d).

EPCA also requires that, not later than six years after the issuance of any final rule establishing or amending a standard, DOE evaluate the energy conservation standards for each type of covered product, including those at issue here, and publish either a notification of determination that the standards do not need to be amended, or a notice of proposed rulemaking (“NOPR”) that includes new proposed energy conservation standards (proceeding to a final rule, as appropriate). (42 U.S.C. 6295(m)(1))

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

B. Rulemaking History

On June 13, 2016, DOE published a final rule establishing the current energy conservations for dehumidifiers, and for which compliance has been required beginning June 13, 2019. 81 FR 38338 (“June 2016 Final Rule”). The current energy conservation standards are located in title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (“CFR”) part 430, section 32, subsection v. The currently applicable DOE test procedure for dehumidifiers appears at 10 CFR part 430, subpart B, appendix X1 (“Appendix X1”).

II. Request for Information

DOE is publishing this RFI to collect data and information during the early assessment review to inform its decision, consistent with its obligations under EPCA, as to whether the Department should proceed with an energy conservation standards rulemaking. Accordingly, in the following sections, DOE has identified specific issues on which it seeks input to aid in its analysis of whether an amended standard for dehumidifiers would not save a significant amount of energy or be technologically feasible or economically justified. In particular, DOE is interested in any information indicating that there has not been sufficient technological or market changes since DOE last conducted an energy conservation standards rulemaking analysis for dehumidifiers to suggest a more-stringent standard could satisfy these criteria. DOE also welcomes comments on other issues relevant to its early assessment that may not specifically be identified in this document.

A. Technological Feasibility

During the June 2016 Final Rule, DOE considered a number of technology options that manufacturers could use to reduce energy consumption in dehumidifiers. DOE seeks comment on any changes to these technology options that could affect whether DOE could propose a “no-new-standards” determination, such as an insignificant increase in the range of efficiencies and performance characteristics of these technology options. DOE also seeks comment on whether there are any other technology options that DOE should consider in its analysis.

While DOE's request for information is not limited to the following issues, DOE is particularly interested in comment, information, and data on the following.

Issue 1: DOE seeks information on the extent of availability and efficiency of dehumidifiers with variable-speed compressors. At the time of the June 2016 Final Rule, variable-speed dehumidifiers had not yet been implemented in residential dehumidifiers, limiting available Start Printed Page 29966information on the potential efficiency improvements achievable through their use.

Issue 2: DOE seeks input on whether the maximum available efficiency levels presented below are appropriate and technologically feasible for potential consideration as possible energy conservation standards for the products at issue—and if not, why not.

Maximum Efficiency Levels Currently Available

  • Portable, ≤25.00 pints/day, 1.70 L/kWh
  • Portable, 25.01-50.00 pints/day, 1.9 L/kWh
  • Portable, ≥50.01 pints/day, 3.30 L/kWh
  • Whole-home, case volume ≤8.0 cubic feet, 2.09 L/kWh
  • Whole-home, case volume >8.0 cubic feet, 3.30 L/kWh

Source: DOE Compliance Certification Management System (“CCMS”) database, as of December 7, 2020.

Issue 3: DOE requests comment on design options that may not be applicable to (or incompatible with) specific product classes.

B. Significant Savings of Energy

On June 13, 2016, DOE established energy conservation standards for dehumidifiers that are expected to result in 0.10 quadrillion Btu (“quads”) site energy savings, or 6.7 percent relative to the expected energy use without amending the standards, over a 30-year period.[3] 81 FR 38338, 38340. Additionally, in the June 2016 Final Rule, DOE estimated that an energy conservation standard established at an energy efficiency level equivalent to that achieved using the maximum available technology (“max-tech”) would have resulted in 0.19 additional quads of site energy savings. This represents a 13.0 percent reduction in energy use compared to the estimated national energy use at the established energy conservation standard level. If DOE determines that a more-stringent energy conservation standard would not result in an additional 0.3 quads of site energy savings or an additional 10-percent reduction in site energy use over a 30-year period, DOE would propose to make a no-new-standards determination. DOE seeks comment on energy savings that could be expected from more-stringent standards for dehumidifiers.

C. Economic Justification

In determining whether a proposed energy conservation standard is economically justified, DOE analyzes, among other things, the potential economic impact on consumers, manufacturers, and the Nation. DOE seeks comment on whether there are economic barriers to the adoption of more-stringent energy conservation standards. DOE also seeks comment and data on any other aspects of its economic justification analysis from the June 2016 Final Rule that may indicate whether a more-stringent energy conservation standard would not be economically justified or cost effective.

While DOE's request for information is not limited to the following issues, DOE is particularly interested in comment, information, and data on the following.

Issue 4: DOE seeks information on the cost of implementing variable-speed compressors in dehumidifiers.

III. Submission of Comments

DOE invites all interested parties to submit in writing by July 6, 2021, comments and information on matters addressed in this notice and on other matters relevant to DOE's early assessment of whether more-stringent energy conservation standards are not warranted for dehumidifiers.

Submitting comments via https://www.regulations.gov. The https://www.regulations.gov web page requires 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. If this instruction is followed, 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 https://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 https://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 https://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 https://www.regulations.gov provides after you have successfully uploaded your comment.

Submitting comments via email. Comments and documents submitted via email will be posted to https://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. Faxes will not 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.Start Printed Page 29967

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 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 to Dehumidifiers2019STD0043@ee.doe.gov. 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).

DOE considers public participation to be a very important part of the process for developing energy conservation standards. DOE actively encourages the participation and interaction of the public during the comment period in each stage of this process. Interactions with and between members of the public provide a balanced discussion of the issues and assist DOE in the process. Anyone who wishes to be added to the DOE mailing list to receive future notices and information about this process should contact Appliance and Equipment Standards Program staff at (202) 287-1445 or via email at ApplianceStandardsQuestions@ee.doe.gov.

Signing Authority

This document of the Department of Energy was signed on May 21, 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 May 24, 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).

Back to Citation

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

Back to Citation

3.  Energy savings values for the adopted standard reported in 81 FR 38338, 38340 (0.30 quads savings, or 7.4 percent reduction in energy use relative to the expected energy use without amending standards) are evaluated based on the full-fuel cycle.

Back to Citation

[FR Doc. 2021-11253 Filed 6-3-21; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6450-01-P