Commercial refrigeration manufacturers and energy-efficiency advocacy groups recently announced that they reached a consensus agreement on the first-ever federal energy-efficiency standards for commercial walk-in freezers and coolers that, if enacted by Congress, will begin affecting the design of new equipment in 2009.Download a copy of the agreement.

This agreement, which was negotiated over the last several months by the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) and the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), is the latest in a series of successful negotiations between industry and energy-efficiency advocates.

Under this new agreement, the signatories jointly recommend to Congress prescriptive design requirements to improve the efficiency of this equipment and direct the U.S. Department of Energy to develop performance standards by 2012.

The agreement covers coolers and freezers with an enclosed, walk-in storage space of less than 3,000 ft2that are refrigerated to temperatures above, at or below 32°F, respectively. The agreement excludes products that are designed and marketed exclusively for medical, scientific or research purposes.

In 2005, three similar agreements were signed covering a number of commercial products, including large-packaged air conditioners and heat pumps; commercial icemakers; and commercial refrigerators, freezers and refrigerator-freezers. Those agreements were included in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.