2015 will be seeing some big changes in the HVAC manufacturing and contracting world. The Department of Energy (DOE) and the American Public Gas Association (APGA) recently reached an agreement on the application of new Federal Regional Efficiency Standards, which will go into effect January 1, 2015. The regulations will apply to air conditioners and heat pumps, both split system and packaged. (Conversely, the regional furnace efficiency standards are currently being reassessed.) These new standards can be a bit convoluted, as they affect contractors, distributors, and manufacturers in separate ways, depending on their geographic area and equipment type. For those affected by these new regulations and those consumers who are interested in environmental conservation and energy efficiency, here are a few highlights from the new HVAC federal regulations.The main objective of the Regional Efficiency Standards is to make sure that more efficient HVAC systems are installed across the country, thereby making the U.S. less dependent 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 very 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 are 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.