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DOE Releases Proposed Determination

DOE Releases Proposed Determination

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On Wednesday, December 31st, the Department of Energy (DOE) posted a Proposed Determination entitledProposed Determination of Hearth Products as Covered Consumer Products.”  The rulemaking seeks to establish “coverage” over essentially all gas hearth products; there are no energy standards directly proposed or put into place by this proposed determination, but DOE does indicate that adoption would be seen as “positively determin[ing] that future standards may be warranted and should be explored in subsequent energy conservation standards and test procedure rulemakings.”

 

The proposed DOE definition of “hearth product” is “a gas-fired appliance that simulates a solid-fueled fireplace or presents a flame pattern (for aesthetics or other purpose) and that may provide space heating directly to the space in which it is installed.”

DOE goes on to say that the “proposed definition includes (but is not necessarily limited to) all vented and unvented hearth products.  More specifically, it includes vented decorative hearth products, vented heater hearth products, vented gas logs, gas stoves, outdoor hearth products, and ventless hearth products.”

Although it is not certain DOE will seek efficiency requirements on every product listed above if the Proposed Determination is adopted, by virtue of classification as a covered product, they would have the ability to do so.

The final Proposed Determination has been published in the Federal Register, starting a 30-day comment period that ends January 30, 2014. Comments can be submitted electronically here. While DOE will accept comments on any aspect of the Proposed Determination, comments are specifically being sought on:

•   The proposed definition of “hearth product”;

•   Whether classifying hearth products as a covered product is necessary or appropriate to carry out the purposes of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA);

•   Calculations and values for average household energy consumption of hearth products;

and

•   Availability or lack of availability of technologies for improving the energy efficiency of hearth products.

It is a virtual certainty that DOE is anticipating a future rulemaking to address efficiency standards for at least some gas hearth products. While it is not yet known exactly on which products DOE will seek to apply efficiency standards, the reality is that this rulemaking would open the door for them to do so for any of the products listed. HPBA’s court victory from earlier this year essentially anticipated standards only for "vented hearth heaters."

Your HPBA Government Affairs staff is working with consultants and affected manufacturers to determine the most appropriate and encompassing response legislatively and in our comments to DOE.

If you have any questions about the DOE Proposed Determination, please contact Ryan Carroll, Associate Director of Government Affairs at carroll@hpba.org or at (703) 522-0086, ext. 112.

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