Products covered by standards change as manufacturers add new features to their products and update designs in order to compete for consumers. Innovation and product development occasionally cause products to change in ways that either (1) make the results of a test procedure unrepresentative of actual energy use or efficiency, or (2) make it impossible to test in accordance with the relevant test procedure. For this reason, the Department of Energy (DOE) considers petitions for waivers from test procedures under certain circumstances.
In general, any interested party—typically a manufacturer—may submit a petition for a test procedure waiver for a basic model of a covered product if the basic model's design prevents it from being tested according to the test procedures, or if the test procedure yields materially inaccurate or unrepresentative energy or water use data.
When a petition is submitted, DOE publishes it in the Federal Register and solicits public comments and information on it. A waiver granted by DOE remains in effect until DOE amends it regulations so as to eliminate any need for it, pursuant to 10 CFR 430.27(m) (consumer products) and 10 CFR 431.401(g) (commercial and industrial equipment).
Petitioners may also apply for an interim waiver of the applicable test procedure requirements, so that the product or equipment can be tested while DOE considers the petition and any public comments received. When granted by DOE, an interim waiver is effective for 180 days unless extended by DOE for an additional 180 days.
Additional details on the petition for waiver process can be found at 10 CFR 430.27 (consumer products) and 10 CFR 431.401 (commercial and industrial equipment). Current waiver petitions, waivers currently in effect, and expired waivers can be found on the Current Test Procedure Waivers page.