The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) introduced a new set of energy efficiency standards for refrigeration equipment manufacturers. New requirements regarding reach-ins will be effective March 27, 2017 while regulations on walk-ins begin in January 2020.

The new requirements include a 30 percent to 50 percent reduction in energy usage for reach-in refrigerators and a reduction of 20 percent to 40 percent for walk-ins.

A group of organizations including North American Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM) and the Air-Conditioning Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) recently launched a petition to review the DOE’s test procedures and efficiency standards noting many allegedly flawed aspects of the new regulations. However, on August 8, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit denied the petition for review and now all manufacturers must be ready to comply on March 27 of next year.

Master-Bilt sources say the refrigeration products manufacturer is answering the challenge of the DOE’s new energy saving requirements, and will provide the most comprehensive line of products approved in advance of the published timelines.

Master-Bilt® self-contained products, including reach-in and all applicable refrigerated cabinets, will meet DOE 2017 standards by the March 27, 2017 deadline.

Walk-in coolers and freezers will meet the WICF (Walk-In Cooler Freezers) standards at the component level by June 5, 2017. These standards include the MEC (Maximum Energy Consumption) for doors and the minimum R-value for panels.

The new standards are in addition to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program. SNAP calls for the elimination of certain refrigerants with a high global warming potential (GWP) and replacing them with more natural alternatives like propane or refrigerant blends with a lower GWP.

As a pathway to compliance with SNAP, Master-Bilt recently launched the AIR Initiative. The AIR Initiative originally outlined the use of HFO blended refrigerants and foaming agents to meet SNAP guidelines. Sources say Master-Bilt is expanding the program to include not only blends but natural refrigerants such as R-290 (propane). Adding natural refrigerants to the mix allows Master-Bilt to provide the most complete product line in the industry including remote and self-contained cabinets, walk-ins, single compressor condensing units and multi-compressor rack refrigeration

Read more about the AIR Initiative online, at