The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) said in a notice to be published in the Aug. 13 Federal Register that it is proposing to determine that natural draft commercial packaged boilers meet the criteria for covered equipment under Part A-1 of Title III of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA).
DOE proposes that classifying this as covered equipment is necessary to carry out the purpose of Part A-1 of EPCA, which is to improve the efficiency of certain industrial equipment to conserve U.S. energy resources.
DOE has previously conducted energy conservation standards rulemakings for natural draft commercial packaged boilers. DOE is undertaking this new coverage determination to explicitly clarify its statutory authority under EPCA to cover natural draft commercial packaged boilers. Following public comment, DOE intends to issue a final determination of coverage for this equipment, and said it would consider amended energy conservation standards and test procedures for this equipment as part of its upcoming rulemaking for commercial packaged boilers.
With respect to test procedures, DOE’s existing test procedures for commercial packaged boilers contain provisions for measuring the energy efficiency of natural draft commercial packaged boilers. As with any of DOE’s test procedures, the current test procedure allows for measurement of the energy efficiency, energy use, or estimated annual operating cost of natural draft commercial packaged boilers during a representative average use cycle or period of use in a manner that is not unduly burdensome to conduct.
Although DOE’s existing test procedure has generally proven adequate for testing natural draft commercial packaged boilers, DOE said it may consider any necessary amendments to these test procedures in the context of its upcoming “7-year-lookback” test procedure rulemaking.
In a typical test procedure rulemaking, DOE initially prepares a test procedure notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) and allows interested parties to present oral and written data, views, and arguments on the proposals. In amending test procedures, DOE takes into account relevant information, including technological developments relating to energy use or energy efficiency of natural draft commercial packaged boilers.
With respect to energy conservation standards, DOE typically prepares initially an energy conservation standards rulemaking Framework Document (the Framework Document). That document explains the issues, analyses, and process that it is considering for the development of energy conservation standards. After DOE receives comments on the Framework Document, the agency typically prepares an energy conservation standards rulemaking preliminary analysis and technical support document (TSD) for the preliminary analysis. The preliminary analysis typically provides initial draft analyses of potential energy conservation standards on consumers, manufacturers, and the U.S. overall. These steps are not legally required.
A natural draft commercial packaged boiler as a a commercial packaged boiler designed to operate with negative pressure in the firebox and in the flue connection created by a chimney or the height of the unit itself, up to the draft control device. Such boilers do not require mechanical drafting equipment to vent combustion gases, but may include mechanical devices such as mechanical flue or stack dampers to limit the heat losses through the flue vent during offcycle.