The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) filed comments Oct. 17, 2011, in support of the Department of Energy (DOE) direct final rule prescribing minimum energy conservation standards for residential furnaces and residential central air-conditioners and heat pumps.
"We are very pleased that the Department has decided to adopt regional energy conservation standards for these products," said Karim Amrane, AHRI vice president, Regulatory and Research. "This rule is representative of what can happen when we all work together."
The writing of this standard was significant in that some of its important changes arose from a 2009 agreement between a consortium of HVAC OEMs and environmental groups.
Most significant in the standard itself is that, for the first time, federal regional standards for U.S. residential HVAC products are created.
DOE estimates the new standards could save the nation between 3.2 and 4.2 quadrillion Btu (quads) of cumulative primary energy between 2013 and 2045. This is equivalent to eliminating the need for approximately 3.8 to 3.9 gigawatts (GW) of generating capacity. The standards have the potential to save U.S. consumers $15 billion (in 2009 dollars) between their effective dates and 2045.
AHRI continued to express concern with the off-mode standards for central air-conditioners and heat pumps, as well as the fact that the test procedure was still under development. AHRI recommended that the Department sever the off-mode standard from the direct final rule for reconsideration in a separate rulemaking while allowing the remainder of the rule to take effect.
The expected compliance dates for the new standards are:
• May 1, 2013, for non-weatherized furnaces
• Jan. 1, 2015, for central air-conditioners and heat pumps.
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