In 2020, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) of new stand-alone, Walk-In Cooler and Freezer (WICF) refrigeration equipment are required to comply with the United States Department of Energy’s (DOE) latest energy-efficiency standard, the Annual Walk-in Energy Factor (AWEF). The objective of this new regulation is to reduce energy consumption by 40% for all WICF units.

RefPlus has always strived to innovate and stay ahead of the industry needs and requirements.  Therefore, we are pleased to announce that all of our units impacted by these new regulations now meet or surpass the new AWEF regulations, as of July 10th, 2020.


RefPlus units impacted by the regulation:

  • IE & OE condensing units (debuted in 2015) and OM condensing units (debuted in 2016) for medium temp applications.
  • Low temp IE, OE and OM condensing units and LS, LP, LA, LO, EK, EM evaporators.

What is the AWEF regulation:

The Annual Walk-In Energy Factor (AWEF) is a regulatory efficiency metric created by the Department of Energy (DOE) that measures electrical energy input versus the cooling capacity of the system. The DOE recently proposed and implemented a set of standards to regulate energy consumption in the United States. The law mandates every product that consumes energy should follow a set standard defined by DOE. All commercial refrigeration equipment manufacturers should comply with the Annual Walk-In Energy Factor (AWEF) rating defined by the DOE. Fundamentally, the ruling will reduce energy consumption and increase efficiency of commercial refrigeration equipment.


Products that must comply:

  • Walk in coolers and freezers less than 3,000 ft2.
  • Air cooled condensing units, medium and low temperature for the < 3,000 ft2 boxes
  • Medium and low temperature evaporators, for WICF and supermarket applications of < 3,000 ft2.


Products that are excluded:

  • Refrigeration systems for medical, laboratory or research applications
  • Water-cooled condensing units, remote condensing units, parallel pack (racks), air-cooled condensers and fluid coolers
  • CO2 systems


Regulation summary:

  • No specified capacity limitations
  • Medium temperature: between 32°F – 55°F
  • Low temperature: below 32°F
  • The regulation applies to a single circuit condensing unit and one refrigeration load
  • One or more evaporators in the cold room
  • The condensing unit may use one or two fixed or variable capacity compressors, but in a common circuit.
  • Requires compliance for both new equipment installations and equipment replacement
  • Equipment built before the compliance date can be sold, installed and operated after the compliance date
  • All parties are responsible for compliance


Who is impacted by this regulation:

  • The DOE’s WICF ruling directly applies to anyone manufacturing, producing, assembling or importing to certify WICF components and equipment
  • Individuals and companies such as contracting companies, end users, wholesalers and OEMs selecting equipment should use compliant equipment.
  • Any party who selects or uses non-compliant equipment for applications requiring compliance can bear liability.



  • Industry personnel are best able to identify non-compliant installations & equipment.
  • The DOE will conduct random checks to ensure equipment meets advertised efficiencies and required minima.
  • DOE will provide for an “express lane” of communication to report violators so it is important to be compliant to avoid severe penalties.


Questions on AWEF?

Send an email to or visit the DOE’s official website to learn more.


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