Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association

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DOE issues new efficiency standards for commercial AC and furnaces

Jan 11, 2016

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently unveiled new efficiency standards for commercial air conditioners and furnaces. The new standards will save more energy than any other standard issued by the department to date, according to DOE.

The new standards will be implemented in two phases. In 2018, products must show a 13 percent efficiency improvement. Five years later in 2023, an additional 15 percent increase in efficiency will be required for new commercial units.

According to DOE, commercial rooftop units cool about half of the total commercial floor space in the United States. To finalize the standard, according to its negotiated rulemaking process, DOE convened 17 stakeholders, comprised of major industry organizations including SMACNA and leading manufacturers, utilities, and efficiency organizations.

It is estimated that, over the lifetime of the products, businesses will save $167 billion on their utility bills and carbon pollution will be reduced by 885 million metric tons.

Steve Nadel, executive director of ACEEE said, "These standards are a game-changer for the commercial sector. Industry and advocates worked closely together to help produce the biggest energy savings standards in U.S. history. These new standards will bring down the cost of doing business and improve bottom lines by letting companies invest money they used to spend on heating and cooling. This will in turn stimulate the economy, create jobs, and bring us closer to the finish line of the President's climate goals for appliance standards."