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.

The agreement 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). Under the agreement, the signatories jointly recommend to Congress prescriptive design requirements to improve the efficiency of these products 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 sq. ft. that 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.