Update on AGA/American Public Gas Association (APGA) Appeals at the August 31 and September 3rd International Code Council (ICC) Appeals Panel Hearings.
As previously reported in End Use Codes and Standards Updates, AGA and APGA filed  joint appeals addressing four code actions that presented two major issues, which AGA and APGA contend should have been prevented to be published by the ICC staff during the Group B Code Development process.  They are:
·                Potential violations of federal pre-emption of minimum efficiency standards for appliances and equipment (RE107 and RE126), and
·                Setting of code requirements that are outside the boundaries of the “Intent” sections of the IECC (RE147-19 and CE217-19, Parts I and II).
The AGA and APGA appeals are seeking removal of specific proposed code provisions in the next edition (2022) of the International Energy  Conservation Code (IECC) that are detrimental to natural gas applications.  Conducted virtually via Webex Event,  the AGA and APGA joint appeals on alleged violations of federal pre-emption has also been appealed by AHRI and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). That appeal was heard on August 31st. This week, the Appeals Board issued its decision  on the federal pre-emption provisions and they “found that the appellants did not provide ample information of a violation of any written process or procedure.” The Appeals Board “ further recommended that the Code Council Board of Directors consider whether the code change in question is consistent with the spirit, intent and the mission of the Code Council, its codes and standards. In making this recommendation, the Appeals Board suggests that the “Code Council Board initiate an analysis of the preemption issue and determine whether any remedial action should be taken in connection with RE107 and RE126”. In addition, the Appeals Board recommended “that the Code Council Board of Directors refer the issue of preemption generally for consideration by the Board Committee on the Long Term Code Development Process” . The ICC Board of Directors will hear the Appeals Board decision on Wednesday September16 and AGA and APGA as well as AHRI and  NAHB will have an opportunity to present testimony that the provisions are indeed, “not with the spirt, intent and the mission of the Code Council”.
The  AGA and APGA joint appeal on the provisions that we believe violated the intent of the IECC (requiring electrical hookups in the proximately of the water heater and furnace – RE147-19 and CE217-19, Parts I and II) and has also been appealed by the Leading Builders of America (LBA) and (NAHB)  was heard on September 3.   The Appeals Panel recommendations on that appeal has not been issued and we will provide that decision when available.  
Industry Group Gears Up to Challenge Reconsideration of ASHRAE Standard 62.2 Addendum “a.”
As discussed in the August 28th “Friday Update,” SSPC 62.2 voted to reconsider Addendum “a,” which effectively bans residential unvented gas-fired heating appliances.  Reconsideration would challenge ASHRAE staff determination that Addendum “a” was dismissed from the ASHRAE standards process by ASHRAE Board action against the Addendum and referral of the document to SSPC 62.2, and at the same time, SSPC action to abandon the compromise proposal developed cooperatively by industry, ASHRAE Standards Committee members, and historical opponents of unvented heaters.  Last week, industry efforts lead by voting members of SSPC 62.2 representing the National Propane Gas Association (NPGC), the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), and the Vent-Free Gas Products Alliance began discussions concerning challenging the decision of SSPC 62.2 before the Standards Committee at its upcoming meeting and to enlist leadership of ASHRAE’s standards development staff to participate to represent the justification of its prior determination in implementing the ASHRAE Board action.  AGA is fully supportive of these efforts, although it is unclear whether AGA would seek to participate in the Standards Committee meeting.  Likewise, it is unclear whether the Standards Committee will accommodate the industry group’s interest in making a presentation to the Committee.  As a voting member of SSPC 62.2, AGA maintains its view that the issues that lead to the Board vote against Addendum “a” remain, including the failure of SSPC 62.2 to address negative public comments, and more recently the refusal of SSPC 62.2 to refer technical issues of Addendum “a” and attempts to resolve these issues to a cognizant SSPC 62.2 technical subcommittee where they could be addressed before SSPC voting.  AGA also holds that the treatment of Addendum “c” was contrary to ASHRAE’s interest in seeking technical consensus and normal standards development procedures, as documented in AGA’s negative ballot explanation presented in the August 28th “Friday Update.”
Industry Draft Work Scope for Residential Gas Cooking Products Emission Testing Delivered to Prospective Testing Organizations.
Led by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM),  a draft work scope for residential gas-fired range emission testing was sent to three prospective testing organizations to obtain feedback on the emissions testing covering nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, particulate matter and acrolein from combustion products.  The work scope, originally developed by AGA and now with essential modifications from AHAM, will be used to solicit technical comments and questions and potential initial bids for the testing work.  In addition to AGA and AHAM sponsorship, AGA has renewed contact with the Propane Education Research Council (PERC) to join the activity as a potential sponsor and technical contributor.  Dialogue with PERC had been paused while AHAM staff coordinated efforts with appliance manufacture members concerning testing needs and protocols and the development of products criteria for testing.  AHAM members will be supplying ranges for testing as an in-kind contribution to the project.  AGA still envisions completion of the testing by the end of the calendar year, provided the next steps in testing organization selection and instrumentation selection can be completed by early October.
AGA Delivers “Negative” Vote on American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) Proposed Standard for Gas Quality Requirements for Natural Gas Vehicles (NGV).
Reluctantly, AGA issued its negative vote on Draft #7 of the ASTM proposed requirements because limits in the proposal for total sulfur in NGV fuel where overly restrictive when tariff limits and experience suggested higher levels of total sulfur better represented gases delivered within the U. S. natural gas system.  Also, technical justification for the limits proposed were not technically justified.  (Total sulfur limits apply to compressed natural gas since liquefied natural gas (LNG) and compressed gas produced from LNG is essentially sulfur free).  AGA has worked with a variety of natural gas industry interests to develop its position on total sulfur limits, as explained in the reason for its negative vote:
“The [ASTM Committee D03] Working Group still does not have consensus on total sulfur limits for natural gases used in CNG fuel supplied to vehicle engines. Since LNG is essentially sulfur free, this proposal addresses limits as they would apply to CNG. Based upon review of the proposed numerical limits in Table 1 [from Draft #7] for total sulfur, general agreement has been offered that the limits shown in the table are impractically and unduly limiting of gases suitable for delivery for CNG fueling facilities. This assessment is based upon data and guidance provided in AGA Report 4A covering guidance for pipeline tariffs, amounting to an order of magnitude or more higher levels of total sulfur than would be allowed by Table 1 in its current form. In response, participants in AGA’s gas quality discussions offer that the current and actual gas compositions are likely, in fact, well below the Report 4A reported levels and guidance. In response, AGA has attempted to address comments of several groups among its membership and allies and offers a compromise proposal based upon discussions with AGA members, authors of the AGA “Gas Quality Management Manual” (developed in 2014 by the AGA Transmission Measurement Committee), and the NGV America Gas Quality Working Group. Although specifics of the AGA compromise proposal have not been reviewed in detail by these groups, the proposed numerical limits attempt to capture the “middle ground” of these interests. The attached counter-proposal [shown below] takes into account an approach from federal ambient air quality regulations that account to average thresholds and excursions above these aver-age values by accounting for higher, frequency-limited thresholds.  This approach recognizes the inevitable exceedance of relatively low average thresholds (calculated as annual averages). The compromise proposal might be implemented by other means or by using other frequency-related higher threshold criteria. This proposal is offered as a first step toward a two-tier approach of higher and lower thresholds, the former being based on some measure of frequency of exceeding average levels of total sulfur. The proposed approach does not presume enforcement responsibilities or segments of the CNG fuel supply chain up to vehicle engines where requirements would be enforced only what might be reasonably adequate for delivery to engines and downstream exhaust emissions measures. The proposal also adjusts the ppmv thresholds to agree with commonly-quoted total sulfur limits expressed in rounded grains per 100 scf, currently implemented in the SAE J1616, “Recommended Practice “of 16 ppm /= 1 grain per 100 scf of total sulfur.”
Total Sulfur (includes odorant)
ppmv, max
Annual Average
98th Percentile of Maximum Annual Concentrations
Resolution of the AGA negative vote and four other negatives is needed for the standard to go forward to the full D03 Committee.  It bears mentioning that various other standards activities are awaiting finalizing of the ASTM standards beyond SAE, including NFPA Standard 52, “Vehicular Natural Gas Fuel Systems Code,” which has pending proposals to delete its gas quality requirements in favor of the ASTM limits.  Codes and Standards staff does not see that consensus on total sulfur limits in the ASTM standard will require a protracted debate.
DOE Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) Provides a Potential Roadmap for Separate Product Class Treatment of “Condensing” and “Non-Condensing” Gas-Fired Products.
The NOPR covering minimum efficiency rules for residential clothes washers and clothes dryers responded to a petition from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) emphasizing unique consumer “utility” provided by top-loading and front-loading appliances and differences in cycle time requirements for different duty cycles.  The CEI sets a useful precedent for use of 42 CFR Section 6295(q) for justifying separate product class treatment of covered products within a minimum efficiency rulemaking based on consumer “features” and “utility,” which could put into play DOE’s previous Notice of Interpretation covering separate product class treatment based upon arguments similar to those of CEI.  The Notice of Interpretation responded to a gas industry petition granted by DOE in 2019 but which did not propose specific standards levels or product class definitions in forthcoming rules, only on whether or not DOE could define product classes on gas appliance venting system differences as providing unique “features” and “utility” in line with 42 CFR Section 6295(n).  At next week’s BECS Committee meeting, there   will  be a discussion to have a follow up immediately on the CEI success with a similar petition and  a move forward  for a minimum efficiency rulemaking on residential gas furnaces under the “condensing” and “non-condensing furnace product class structure.  DOE might have to pursue this approach via new supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNOPR) to replace a 2016 SNOPR, which used a flawed concept for separate product classes based upon furnace input.
State Codes Activity Update
[This is a weekly feature of the “Friday Update” covering state code calendar activities as presented by the online utility “Fiscal Note,” which is sponsored by APGA and AGA Code and Standards.]
Recent and Upcoming Activity Alerts
Recent Code Body Meetings
Subcommittee of Building Officials Meeting
Board of Building Regulations and Standards
Bills with Recent Activity
Bill #
Bill Title
Primary Sponsor(s)
Last Action
Last Action Date
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions on any of these items.