A working group comprised of more than a dozen stakeholders, including energy-efficiency advocates, HVACR industry organizations, and equipment manufacturers, recently reached an agreement on new energy-efficiency standards for residential air conditioners and heat pumps in the U.S. The Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps Working Group submitted its recommendations to the Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee (ASRAC) on Jan. 19. ASRAC approved the term sheet, and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is expected to use the recommendations in its direct final rule (DFR) later this year.
About 60 percent of U.S. households have a central cooling system, and approximately 19 percent of those systems are heat pumps. And, according to an Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP) press release, virtually all new homes are built with central air conditioning.
“The energy and bill savings from the recommended new central a/c and heat pump standards will really add up for consumers and the nation,” said Andrew deLaski, executive director of ASAP and ASRAC’s representative on the working group. “Savings will reach about 300 billion kilowatt-hours on sales over 30 years — enough to cool 150 million average homes for a year — and $38 billion in [energy] bill savings.”
“This agreement is the latest in an impressive series of consensus agreements that we have reached in the past six months on regulatory matters,” said Stephen Yurek, president and CEO, Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI). “While we did not, by any means, get all we would have liked, this agreement provides predictability for manufacturers for many years to come and eliminates the uncertainty that can occur with traditional notice-and-comment rulemakings.”