Automatic commercial ice makers (ACIMs) make and harvest ice and may include a means for storing and dispensing ice. They are typically found in hotels, restaurants, health care facilities, and educational settings. Ice makers include both batch-type and continuous-type equipment. Batch-type ice-makers operate with alternate freezing and harvesting periods and typically produce cube-type ice. Continuous-type ice-makers continually freeze and harvest ice at the same time and primarily produce flake or nugget ice.
Congress established the first national standards for ACIMs as part of the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005, and they took effect in 2010. The standards applied to cube-type ice makers with capacities between 50 and 2,500 pounds per 24-hour period and were based on state standards adopted earlier by Arizona, California, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington. The standards for energy use are expressed as energy use (in kWh) per 100 pounds of ice produced and vary based on capacity and equipment type. There are also water use requirements that limit the condenser water use for water-cooled equipment.
In 2015, DOE finalized new standards for ACIMs. The standards, which took effect in 2018, extend coverage to flake, nugget, and tube-type machines and to capacities up to 4,000 pounds per 24 hours.
The minimum amount of water necessary to produce 100 pounds of ice is 12 gallons. However, additional water is consumed with batch-type machines, largely due to any remaining water often being purged after harvest cycles. Technology options for improving the energy efficiency of ice makers include improved heat exchangers and more-efficient compressors, fans, and motors.