Final Commercial Refrigeration Rule Published
Apr 21, 2014
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A final rule, published by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on April 21, revises and reorganizes test procedures for commercial refrigeration equipment (CRE) to clarify terms, procedures, and compliance dates, with an aim of improving repeatability and removing ambiguity from testing.

The scope of the category "commercial refrigeration" is quite broad, and some of the clarifications made by the new rule pertains to Salad Bars, Buffet Tables, and Other Refrigerated Holding and Serving Equipment—types of commercial refrigeration equipment to store and display perishable items temporarily during food preparation or service. DOE has noted that such types of equipment have special attributes—such as open or easily accessible bins—differentiating them from refrigeration equipment for storage or retailing. While such equipment is covered by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act definition of commercial refrigeration, DOE said that current standards do not apply because of the unique operation of such equipment. If standards are to be developed for such equipment it will have to wait for future rulemakings.

Another equipment category given special consideration in the rulemaking was Chef Bases and Griddle Stands, which are designed to be placed directly under a commercial grill or other cooking equipment. To keep food at safe temperatures while operating in very hot environments, such equipment will be equipped with more powerful refrigeration systems, which may include larger compressors than that of equipment designed to work in more typical ambient temperatures. Naturally, such equipment uses more energy than comparably sized equipment used in lower-temperature environments.

DOE has said that such equipment can be tested using DOE test procedures, but also said that current energy-use standards do not apply to such equipment.

Full details on this rule can be found in the Federal Register at:

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