Commercial Refrigeration Equipment


Commercial refrigeration equipment includes refrigerators and freezers used in supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants and commercial kitchens. Commercial refrigeration equipment can either be “self-contained,” where the refrigerated case and the complete refrigeration system are combined into a single physical unit, or “remote condensing,” where the condensing unit is located remotely (typically outdoors) from the refrigerated case.


The Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005 set standards for “reach-in” refrigerators and freezers which went into effect January 1, 2010. In January 2009, DOE issued new standards broadening the scope to include ice-cream freezers, self-contained equipment without doors, and remote-condensing equipment. These standards went into effect January 1, 2012.

In February 2014, DOE published a final rule updating the standard levels. The standards for commercial refrigeration equipment include separate product classes for equipment with and without doors, and the standards are much less stringent for open cases than for cases with doors. The new standards will reduce energy consumption by more than 40% for solid-door “reach-in” refrigerators and freezers, and by 28% and 12% for glass-door supermarket refrigerator and freezer cases. DOE estimates that commercial refrigerators and freezers meeting the new standards sold over thirty years will reduce U.S. electricity consumption by 340 billion kilowatt hours and save businesses $12 billion. The standards will reduce CO2 emissions by 142 million metric tons, which is equivalent to the annual emissions of 30 million cars.

The standards go into effect in March 2017.


Refrigeration accounts for about 7% of the total energy consumed by commercial buildings. Technology options for improving the efficiency of commercial refrigeration equipment include LED lighting and occupancy sensors, high-performance glass doors, and high efficiency motors.

Projected Savings

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Federal Date States
Potential Effective Date of Updated Standard 2023
Updated DOE Standard Due 2020
3rd Federal Standard Effective 2017
Test Procedure - Last Revised - Active Mode 2014
3rd Federal Standard Adopted (DOE) 2014
Initial Federal Legislation Enacted 2012
2nd Federal Standard Effective 2012
2010 NJ Standard Effective *
2010 AZ Standard Effective *
2010 RI Standard Effective *
2010 NY Standard Effective *
1st Federal Standard Effective 2010
2nd Federal Standard Adopted (DOE) 2009
2008 CT Standard Effective
2008 OR Standard Effective
2007 WA Standard Effective
2005 MD Standard Effective
1st Federal Standard Adopted (Congress) 2005
EPACT Initial Federal Legislation Enacted 2005
2005 NJ Standard Adopted
2005 WA Standard Adopted
2005 AZ Standard Adopted
2005 RI Standard Adopted
2005 OR Standard Adopted
2005 NY Standard Adopted
2004 CT Standard Adopted
2004 MD Standard Adopted
2003 CA Standard Effective
2002 CA Standard Adopted

* State standard never went into effect due to preemption by federal standard.

Timeline reflects state standards from 2001 to present; federal standards from inception to present.