s
SHARE

DOE Completes New Consensus-Based Air Conditioner Standards

Posted by Andrew deLaski on December 06, 2016
DOE Completes New Consensus-Based Air Conditioner Standards

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published new minimum energy efficiency standards for residential central air conditioners and heat pumps today.  The new standards, which are based on a negotiated agreement, will reduce air conditioner and heat pump energy use by about 7%, translating into hundreds of dollars in electricity bill savings for consumers over the life of their equipment.

A federal advisory committee working group concluded the negotiations and signed the term sheet on which the new standards are based last January.  The working group included representatives of manufacturers, contractors, distributors, state government, utilities, and energy efficiency advocates.

The standards’ compliance date, 2023, was a key element of the negotiations because manufacturers wanted to align changes to the minimum standards with the expected phase-down of current refrigerants.  Today’s most common refrigerant used in central air conditioners and heat pumps – R410A – will be phased out under the terms of the recently concluded Kigali agreement, a global agreement supported by both manufacturers and environmentalists designed to eliminate the most environmentally-harmful refrigerants. Likely replacements for R410a include R32 and R452B.

A new test method for measuring the energy efficiency of central air conditioners will take effect at the same time as the new standards. The new test method will yield efficiency ratings that are more representative of field performance.

On a national basis, the standards will save 3.2 quads of energy, or about 340 billion kWh cumulatively from products sold over thirty years.  DOE estimates consumers will save between $2.5 billion and $12.2 billion in total.

The new standards will supersede those currently in effect, which also were negotiated among stakeholders. The existing standards vary by region for air conditioners, and the new standards maintain the regional approach.  Heat pumps will continue to have a single, national standard.

Based on DOE’s analysis, manufacturers can meet the new standards with improved heat exchangers, better outdoor fan motors, and other design improvements. Switching to new refrigerants will also boost efficiency, helping manufacturers to comply with the new standards. Products with efficiency performance significantly above the new standard are already on the market today, providing additional savings opportunities for consumers and programs such as those run by utilities designed to save even more. 

Many of the largest energy-saving DOE standards completed in the last year have been based on similar consensus agreements, including the recent standards for roof-top air conditioners (which will save more energy than any other standard in DOE history) and pending standards for swimming pool pumps which are expected to be published soon.

 

Andrew deLaski is the Executive Director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project. At ASAP, he coordinates national advocacy efforts related to federal efficiency standards and advises state policymakers and advocates interested in state level energy efficiency standards policy.

Comments
Add a new blog comment!

Enter your comments in the box below:

(Please note that all blog entries and comments are subject to review prior to posting.)

 

While we will do our best to monitor all comments and blog posts for accuracy and relevancy, Home Energy is not responsible for content posted by our readers or third parties. Home Energy reserves the right to edit or remove comments or blog posts that do not meet our community guidelines.

Recent Blogs
DOE Completes New Consensus-Based Air Conditioner Standards

DOE Completes New Consensus-Based Air Conditioner Standards

Andrew deLaski

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published new minimum energy efficiency standards for residential central air conditioners and heat pumps today. The new standards, which are based on a negotiated agreement, will reduce air conditioner and heat pump energy use by about 7%, translating into hundreds of dollars in electricity bill savings for consumers over the life of their equipment. [continue reading]

The National Fenestration Rating Council Welcomes Newly-Elected Board Members

The National Fenestration Rating Council Welcomes Newly-Elected Board Members

Tom Herron

The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is pleased to announce the four newly-elected members of the 2017 Board of Directors. [continue reading]

Healthy Homes and a Healthy Bottom Line

Healthy Homes and a Healthy Bottom Line

Jim Gunshinan

There has been a lot of interest of late in the weatherization and broader home performance community in putting a value on the health benefits of weatherization. We’ve come a long way in the last several years and have reached, I think, some strong consensus that the health benefits of weatherization and home performance retrofits are real and valuable. This means that making healthy housing a part of your business plan makes good ... [continue reading]

Side Benefits of a Passive House

Side Benefits of a Passive House

Rob Nicely

There’s no doubt that building to Passive House standards results in energy consumption that’s about 70 to 80 percent less than what you’d expect from a traditionally built home (or school, or office building, or factory…you get the picture). That’s due in part to the fact that the home is air tight, super-insulated and uses a heat recovery ventilation system that exhausts air (and moisture) and replaces ... [continue reading]

Very Cool: Heat Pump Water Heaters Save Energy and Money

Very Cool: Heat Pump Water Heaters Save Energy and Money

Pierre Delforge and Christina Swanson

A new NRDC study shows that water heaters that use high efficiency heat pump technology—the same process that keeps your refrigerator cold—can cut the amount of electricity used to heat water by half or more, saving significant amounts of energy and money on your household electricity bills. [continue reading]

Setting the PACE for Consumer Protection

Setting the PACE for Consumer Protection

Kelly Vaughn

Residential PACE (property assessed clean energy), an innovative solution for financing energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, is being led by a set of industry mavens seeking to realize the promise of this public–private partnership. Specifically, industry stakeholders have come together to create a set of consumer protection standards that ensure homeowners reap the full benefits of PACE while safeguarding against predatory behavior in this nascent market.A couple of weeks ago, the ... [continue reading]

What Trump Does Not Know About Energy Efficiency

What Trump Does Not Know About Energy Efficiency

Charlie Cormany

There is no question that the recent election results were a shock to the nation. The voters sent a message: we want change. There is no doubt things will change, but when and how much is yet to be determined. [continue reading]

Tips for Tips

Tips for Tips

Jason Kaufman

Behavioral recommendations, or tips, are an integral piece of many energy efficiency programs, ranging from marketing materials (e.g., brochures) to in-home audits, to Home and Business Energy Reports (such as the report shown below). Though information is known to be a critical component of effective interventions, it is important to consider human motivations and needs for this to be effective. This article synthesizes findings from a series of empirical research conducted by See Change ... [continue reading]

NeighborWorks America Selects New Green-Designated Organizations

NeighborWorks America Selects New Green-Designated Organizations

Lindsay Moore

Fifteen nonprofit community development organizations were recognized this week for their excellence in sustainable business and housing practices that are designed to save people money by NeighborWorks America. To date, 95 network members have earned the NeighborWorks Green Organization designation.This is the fifth year of the NeighborWorks Green Organization program, which recognizes community development nonprofits in its network of more than 240 organizations that demonstrate a comprehensive commitment to sustainable operations – both in their lines ... [continue reading]

Moving Forward with Home Performance—A Letter to Our Readers

Moving Forward with Home Performance—A Letter to Our Readers

Tom White

There is still much uncertainty about how the new Trump administration will effect your business and the energy efficiency of U.S homes. But over the last eight years many states, local governments, and utilities have begun major initiatives that will continue to support professionals like you who are working to create high-performance homes. [continue reading]

Earn BPI CEU credits
HEP
Home Performance with EnergyStar

How can Home Energy serve you better?


Let us know how by taking our short reader survey.

Take the survey