Skip to main content
  • News Story

New Enforcement Dates for Refrigeration Systems Used in Walk-In Coolers and Freezers

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has established minimum energy efficiency standards that will start to be enforced as early as Jan. 1, 2020, for certain walk-in cooler and freezer (WICF) equipment classes.

WICF Image
September 6, 2019

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has established minimum energy efficiency standards that will start to be enforced as early as Jan. 1, 2020, for certain walk-in cooler and freezer (WICF) equipment classes.

Manufacturers of WICFs have been required to comply with DOE energy conservation standards since 2009 for certain components; however, the equipment that comprises the refrigeration systems has previously not been subject to DOE scrutiny. The June 3, 2014, DOE Final Rule regarding WICFs adopted amended energy conservation standards for the main components of WICFs. The efficiency metric established by the DOE for refrigeration systems is the annual walk-in energy factor (AWEF). Much has happened since the June 3, 2014, final ruling and the DOE enforcement dates are quickly approaching. 

The following table summarizes the current status of the WICF energy conservation standards (minimum AWEF) and the DOE enforcement dates:

WICF refrigeration system equipment class

AWEF* enforcement date**

Dedicated condensing system - medium temp, indoor

Jan. 1, 2020

Dedicated condensing system - medium temp, indoor

 Jan. 1, 2020

Dedicated condensing system - low temp, indoor

July 10, 2020

Dedicated condensing system - low temp, outdoor

 July 10, 2020

Unit cooler - medium temp

 July 10, 2020

Unit cooler - low temp

 July 10, 2020

*Refer to DOE Subpart R for the complete listing of the minimum required AWEF values

**For refrigeration system equipment manufactured on or after those dates

WICF refrigeration systems manufactured on or after the enforcement dates, and distributed for commerce within the U.S. and Canada, must comply with the minimum AWEF values. For the U.S., the equipment AWEF values may be self-reported by the manufacturer with certification reports submitted electronically to the DOE. For Canada, the Natural Resources of Canada (NRCan) has harmonized with the DOE’s mandated minimum AWEF values along with the enforcement dates; however, NRCan requires third-party verification of WICF refrigeration system AWEF values for all refrigeration system equipment imported into Canada and shipped between provinces.

UL has developed a Data Acceptance Program (DAP) specific to WICF refrigeration systems. Under the DAP, UL will accept manufacturers’ test data as it relates to the determination of AWEF values. A manufacturer utilizing DAP for WICF refrigeration systems must first have their test facilities and test methods validated for compliance to the applicable standards. For the U.S., UL will report the AWEF values to the DOE. For Canada, UL will report the AWEF values to NRCan, along with providing a UL energy efficiency Verification Mark for the equipment.

We know that the 2020 compliance dates are quickly approaching, and we are here to help. If you have any questions or are ready to comply with the standard updates, please contact [email protected] to determine how we can help you comply with these new requirements.

To learn more about this standard update, visit UL’s industry file review website.

Get in touch

Have questions, need specifics? Let's get this conversation started.

Help and support

How can we help?