If you’re not an HVAC manufacturer or contractor, you might think that the new HVAC federal regulations may not be of interest to you—but you may be wrong. As a consumer in the United States, you may find that these new regulations are of note, especially if you are interested in environmental conservation and energy efficiency. Here’s what you need to know about the new HVAC federal regulations.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has mandated that a number of new efficiency standards for HVAC products and services will go into effect Jan. 1, 2015. In the past, manufacturers were the ones most affected by changing HVAC standards, as they often resulted in the new designs and manufacturing of new equipment to meet changing efficiency requirements. However, unlike previous standards, the 2015 standards will permit manufacturers to continue building some of what they build today for specific regions. Contractors, however, will be affected by these new regulations and must carefully consider regional efficiencies, system matches, high-efficiency motors, impending cost increases, and the penalties associated with the new standards.
The primary goal of the Regional Efficiency Standards is to ensure that more efficient HVAC systems are installed, thereby making the U.S. less reliant on fossil fuel and other energy sources. Under this five-part agreement, the U.S. is divided into three regions: the North, the South (AL, AR, DE, FL, GA, HI, KY, LA, MD, MS, NC, OK, SC, TN, TX, VA, DC), and the Southwest (CA, NV, AZ, NM).
For the first time, each region has its own unique minimum federal efficiency standards for air conditioners, and there is a new national standard for heat pumps.
According to the Department of Energy document outlining the new regulations, “Federal Regional Standards for cooling equipment will go into effect as planned on January 1, 2015. All air conditioners (A/C) and heat pumps (H/P) (split system and packaged) manufactured after December 31, 2014 must comply with these Federal Regional Standards.
The Federal Regional Standards for air conditioners sold in the south and the southwest is based on the date of installation; however, the industry will have an 18 month sell-through or grace period (starting on 1-1-2015). Original equipment manufacturers, distributors and dealers will be allowed to buy, sell, ship and/or install non-compliant products (13 SEER) during this period as long as they are manufactured prior to January 1, 2015.
Split system and packaged heat pumps are not subject to the 18 month sell-through or grace period, as the standard applied is based on the date of manufacture. Split system and packaged heat pumps manufactured before January 1, 2015 can be sold after January 1, 2015 for as long as inventory exists.”
For more information, visit the Department of Energy’s page on Residential Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps.