U.S. Congressman Peter Hoekstra (R-MI, U.S.), an active member of the Congressional Manufacturing Caucus, has re-introduced H.R. 1241, the "Cool and Efficient Buildings Act," to set the depreciation period from 39 to 20 years for "any property which is part of a heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, or commercial refrigeration system and which is installed on or in a building which is non-residential real property."
The legislation would provide an incentive for the replacement of the more than 36,000 chillers still in use in 2004 that use chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerants.
"This represents 45 percent of the original 80,000 CFC chillers banned from production in the United States," said Mr. Hoekstra. "Improved new chiller units are 40-percent more efficient than those installed 20 years ago, are virtually leak-free, reducing loss of refrigerant and improving the protection to human health and the environment."
ARI strongly urges its members to support the Cool and Efficient Buildings Act, according to a statement from William G. Sutton, president of the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute. "A depreciation schedule that reflects the useful life of chillers and other equipment will save money, reduce energy consumption, and encourage investment in more efficient models," Mr. Sutton said.
A wide range of non-residential buildings would qualify for the new depreciation rate, including offices, malls, airports, and factories, where HVAC/R equipment, from large-tonnage liquid chillers to unitary air-conditioners and heat pumps, plays a key role in increased productivity and makes possible use of heat sensitive computers and telecommunications gear, according to ARI.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that installing more efficient chillers could reduce energy consumption by 7 billion kW hr per year, saving U.S. $480 million annually and avoiding emissions of 4 million tons of carbon dioxide.
Mr. Hoekstra has already garnered support of 25 co-sponsors, including bipartisan members of the House Committee on Ways and Means.
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