Consensus reached on energy conservation standards

USAThe Commercial Package Air Conditioners and Commercial Warm Air Furnaces Working Group, which was established by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on the 1st of April this year, has successfully fulfilled its brief to negotiate conservation standards for these products. The completion of the project undertaken by the working group has been welcomed by the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP), the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Consensus was reached following six meetings and the the working group, which consisted of industry, energy efficiency and environmental advocates as well as contractors and agency representatives, including ACEEE, AHRI and ASAP, published its recommendations for energy conservation standards, test procedures, and metrics.

“Negotiated rulemaking are our preferred method for establishing energy conservation standards for covered products and equipment,” declared AHRI President and CEO Stephen Yurek. “Bringing stakeholders together to develop a rule that is both effective and achievable is the best way to ensure that our members’ products and equipment provide consumers and businesses with comfort, safety, and productivity while helping the nation achieve its energy reduction targets,” he added.

“This negotiated outcome will provide huge energy and economic benefits for the nation,” commented ASAP Executive Director Andrew deLaski. “DOE, industry, and all the participants deserve credit for coming up with an approach that delivers those important national benefits and works for industry.”

“By every measure, this is the biggest efficiency standards rulemaking in DOE’s history,” stated Steven Nadel, Executive Director of the ACEEE. “Over 30 years of sales, businesses from big box stores to commercial building owners will net savings of nearly $50 billion, while the nation will see energy reductions equal to all the coal burned in U.S. power plants in one year.”

The committee was set up under the auspices of the Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee (ASRAC) and in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act and the Negotiated Rulemaking Act. The working group had been specifically tasked with establishing rules for the energy efficiency of commercial package air conditioners and heat pumps (in particular for air-cooled units with rated cooling capacities greater than or equal to 65,000 Btu per hour and less than 760,000 Btu per hour split and package AC and HP) and commercial warm air furnaces, as authorized under the amended Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA). The scope of the working group’s remit excluded discussions on package terminal air conditioners and heat pumps (PTAC/PTHP), single package vertical units (SPVU), computer room air conditioners (CRAC), and variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems.