Upcoming Walk-in Cooler and Freezer Regulations

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    By Nate Winans

    Nate_W_AIn just a few weeks, the Department of Energy (DOE) will be updating their regulations on walk-in coolers and freezers (WICF). These regulations are proposed to improve energy efficiency, upwards of about 24% over the next 30 years. In addition to energy savings, C02 emissions are also predicted to drop. Emissions equal to the amount of electricity produced from 780,000 homes annually is expected to be removed.

    Why regulations now?

    The regulations will require a 20 to 40% reduction in energy for specific WICFs. These include those which are smaller than 3,000 square feet and manufactured after Jan 1, 2020 for WICFs with a medium-temperature dedicated condensing system For WICFs with low-temperature dedicated condensing systems, the target date is July 10, 2020. These are the first regulations on WICFs for the first time since 2017, 

    What defines a WICF?

    Defined by the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), a WICF is a unit that comprises a total chilled storage area of less than 3,000 square feet. They can be walked into and have a temperature about 32 degrees Fahrenheit for walk-in coolers and at or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit for walk-in freezers. Refrigeration products designed and marketed specifically for scientific, medical, or research purposes are not included in this definition.

    Which products will be effected?

    • Walk-in coolers and freezers with 3,000 or less square feet.
    • Condensing units and unit coolers used in walk-in coolers and freezers up to 3,000 square feet
    • Unit coolers used in supermarket refrigeration systems in dedicated walk-in coolers and freezers under 3,000 square feet
    • Doors and panels used to construct walk-in coolers and freezers

    Excluded products include-

    • Coolers and freezers greater than 3,000 square feet
    • Water cooled condensing units, air-cooled condensers, or remote condensers
    • Coolers and freezers dedicated to medical, scientific, and research purposes
    • Multi-compressor condensing units or supermarket racks

    Will this effect you?

    Contractors- if they replace a condensing unit with one manufactured after the DOE enforcement dates, it must be AWEF compliant.

    Wholesalers- with inventory changing, they'll need to begin carrying only AWEF compliant condensing units manufactured after the 2020 enforcement dates for WICF applications.

    Customers- they'll need to select future-proof equipment which aligns with their long-term refrigeration strategies.

    OEMs- they need to complete the engineering design cycle, testing, and certification in 2019 to sell new compliant equipment in 2020.


    Whether this will or won't affect you, it's important to know what's happening in your industry. Be sure to stock up and let your customers know what's happening in regards to their WICFs. To stay up-to-date with industry news, be sure to subscribe to our blog!

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