Programs will help OEMs and end users navigate a more regulated environment for U.S. pumps.
by Robert K. Asdal, Hydraulic Institute

As the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) develops new regulations to improve pump performance and efficiency, the Hydraulic Institute (HI) has been on the forefront representing the pump industry. HI has been guiding the DOE through aligning its approach with current European Union (EU) regulations on water pumps. Details of the efficiency rulemaking are expected to be finalized later in 2015 and will be the subject of another update from HI.

The DOE rulemaking on pump efficiency and a new national pump test procedure has been evolving since January 2011. Working to maintain a level playing field for pump original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) worldwide that serve both U.S. and EU markets, HI sought to align new U.S. pump efficiency regulations with those in the EU, where it made sense. Recognizing the unique characteristics of the U.S. market while considering the global nature of the industry, HI drafted a pump test standard that would serve as the basis for efficiency ratings of covered products.

The institute developed the HI 40.6 Methods for Rotodynamic Pumps Efficiency Testing standard, which was written with input from Pacific Northwest Research Labs, working on behalf of the U.S. DOE. This standard is currently available from HI at and helps pump OEMs understand what will be required regarding testing requirements.

The notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) announcing the DOE’s initial position on the proposed test procedure, enforcement regulations and draft efficiency regulations was not available at press time. However, HI has created a new Pump Test Laboratory Approval Program in anticipation of a more regulated environment for U.S. pumps. The program will help prepare pump test laboratories to meet the rigorous requirements for determining the efficiency of rotodynamic pumps tested to the proposed HI 40.6 standard and specifically those pumps that are subject to the U.S. DOE pump efficiency rulemaking.

Pump OEMs that voluntarily participate in the HI Pump Test Laboratory Approval Program will become compliant with HI’s efficiency test procedure by participating in a professional review of their ability to properly test and determine the efficiency of pumps in accordance with the HI 40.6 standard. These external audits will also help improve pump laboratory processes and procedures, as defined in the Institute’s new lab approval program.

The HI Pump Test Laboratory Approval Program has been designed around the new HI 40.7 Program Guide, which summarizes the key elements of this voluntary program. HI will use a third-party audit firm to confirm a pump test lab’s ability to test the performance of rotodynamic pumps to the HI 40.6 standard.

The program will help pump OEMs and other pump test laboratories improve their current laboratory procedures and policies by working with an experienced third-party auditor to develop and maintain accurate, uniform and repeatable pump testing protocols.

In addition, the program promotes an increased level of assurances to pump end users as well as to electric power utilities that are working with HI on rebates and incentives for premium efficient pumps. The HI Pump Test Laboratory Approval Program is intended to be an industry-led effort to assess pump testing according to the new HI 40.6 test standard.

The Test Laboratory Approval Program

Any qualified domestic or global corporation, research institution or laboratory can participate in the HI Pump Test Laboratory Approval Program.

Facilities must have in-house capabilities to conduct pump performance tests to the HI 40.6 standard, personnel that understand HI standards and pump testing techniques, and quality systems that will ensure continued best practices after the audit.

As part of the program, qualified laboratories agree to periodic audits of their facilities, records, equipment and personnel to determine compliance with the HI 40.6 standard.

The audit verifies the laboratory’s ability to test the performance of certain products to specific standards and to adhere to the general requirements of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 17025 – “General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories.”

HI selected Intertek to serve as the third-party audit firm that will provide program support to HI and conduct pump test laboratory audits in compliance with HI 40.7. Intertek engineers, trained to support this effort, conduct the on-site audits, and HI staff members handle program administration.

Image 1. HI program logo and mark (Courtesy of Hydraulic Institute)

Initially, pump test labs are audited for two consecutive years, then once every two years after passing the first two audits. Labs that pass the initial audits receive the title “HI Approved Pump Test Laboratory” and are added to a list of approved pump test laboratories maintained on HI’s website. Every lab passing the audit receives an HI Certificate of Approval along with a logo and mark (see Image 1).

Achieving HI Approved Pump Test Laboratory status indicates that the laboratory determines pump efficiency consistent with HI 40.6, resulting in market fairness, credibility and qualification for utility rebates for DOE regulated products.

“HI members from many pump OEMs assisted in the development of the 40.7 guideline,” said Mark Heiser, test and validation lab manager for Xylem Inc. — Applied Water Systems and co-chair of the HI 40.7 committee. “It will be used as an assurance to our customers that our testing practices are sound and that our products will perform in the field as they do in the lab. Having more efficient pumps and pump systems is of great importance in reducing the overall consumption of energy in this country.”