What You Need to Know About AWEF: Compliance

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What You Need to Know About AWEF: Compliance

What You Need to Know About AWEF Compliance

As we’re all well aware of by now, the Department of Energy (DOE) and Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN) implemented new energy efficiency rules, regularly referred to as “AWEF.” Since coming into effect on January 1, 2020 we have received a number of frequently asked questions surrounding these new regulations, especially questions in regard to compliance.

Staying true to Our Continued Commitment to the Refrigeration Professional, we are here to answer any and all of your AWEF questions.

Achieving Compliance Through AWEF Standards

To evaluate the energy efficiency of a complete walk-in cooler and freezer (WICF) system, the DOE uses a metric called the Annual Walk-In Energy Factor (AWEF) created by the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI).

According to AHRI, this calculation is based on “a ratio of the total heat, not including the heat generated by the operation of refrigeration systems, removed, in Btu, from a walk-in box during a one-year period of usage for refrigeration to the total energy input of refrigeration systems, in watt-hours, during the same period.”

As mentioned in previous articles, these regulations apply to WICFs smaller than 3,000 square feet. This includes a number of WICF product types that must meet or exceed the minimum AWEF ratings based on capacity and application.

We know this is a lot to keep track of which is why we have put together the following table detailing the minimum AWEF rating per product type.

Minimum AWEF Per Equipment Class

Product Type

Minimum AWEF (Btu/W-h)

Dedicated condensing system — medium, indoor


Dedicated condensing system — medium, outdoor


Dedicated condensing system — low, indoor with a net capacity (qnet*) of:

< 6,500 Btu/h

9.091 × 10-5 × qnet + 1.81

≥ 6,500 Btu/h


Dedicated condensing system — low, outdoor with a net capacity (qnet *) of:

< 6,500 Btu/h

6.522 × 10-5 × qnet + 2.73

≥ 6,500 Btu/h


Unit cooler – medium


Unit cooler – low, with a net capacity (qnet) of:

< 15,500 Btu/h

1.575 × 10-5 × qnet + 3.91

≥ 15,500 Btu/h


* qnet is net capacity as determined in accordance with Section 431.304 of Title 10 of the United States Code of Federal Regulations.

**Resource: NRCAN (https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/walk-coolers-and-freezers/19543?wbdisable=true#wb-cont)

Who’s Responsible for Making Sure Products and Equipment Are Compliant?

It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to certify its equipment to be manufactured and sold as compliant. It is the responsibility of those assembling/installing the system to use certified equipment for retrofitting existing jobs and/or for new installations. This includes:

  • Wholesalers/Salesperson/OEM: to ensure correct equipment is selected
  • Contractors: to ensure equipment supplied is compliant

How is KeepRite Refrigeration Helping Wholesalers/OEMs/Contractors?

There are a variety of ways we are helping members within the WICF supply chain achieve compliance.

As a manufacturer of condensing units for a wide range of commercial refrigeration applications, we are producing certified WICF condensing units that meet and exceed the DOE’s minimum AWEF requirements.

Where Do I Find Specifications on KeepRite Refrigeration’s Compliant Products?

Our website always provides the most up-to-date product information available:

In addition, our KQ Quiet Condensing Units, KMS/KMD and KVS/KVD Condensing Units can also be used in applications requiring compliance:

Can I Get Non-Compliant Equipment for an Exempted Application?

We will continue to offer legacy models for use where the new regulations are not required (subject to change based on market dynamics). Follow the links below to legacy model literature:

Do I Have to Be Compliant?

To sum up all of this information into one word, the answer is, yes. Yes, you do have to be compliant.

If you’re unsure or think that you may be exempted from these regulations, we highly suggest purchasing a compliant unit anyways since they are more up-to-date and will perform better overall for your commercial refrigeration application.

If you’re unsure how to proceed with these new regulations and ensuring your commercial refrigeration equipment is AWEF compliant, KeepRite Refrigeration can help guide you in a number of ways. First off, be sure to check out our AWEF FAQ page for answers to other questions surrounding AWEF.

In addition, feel free to call your local sales representative or our Small Condensing Units product specialists at 1-844-893-3222 ext. 521.

With a wide range of compliant products to choose from along with over 75 years of expertise, you can count on KeepRite Refrigeration to help you achieve compliance.