New Standards Loom for HVAC Efficiency

US-MapNew regional standards for furnaces, air conditioners and heat pumps have been approved by the federal Department of Energy (DOE) for units installed in homes after Jan. 1, 2015.

In the North, 13 SEER air conditioning systems remain the standard, but heat pumps go to 14 SEER and 8.2 HSPF, which is now considered the national standard for these appliances.

In the Southeast, the minimum efficiency goes to 14 SEER for both air conditioning and heat pumps and 8.2 HSPF for heat pumps.

In the Southwest, the minimum efficiency for air conditioners also goes to 14 SEER but EER requirements change depending on the size of the system.

NAHB does not anticipate that the requirements will add any significant cost to the systems for builders.

The standards include new reporting requirements for contractors, distributors and manufacturers to create a paper trail of installation location, supplier contact and other information to demonstrate that the appliances conform to the rules. Builders and contractors must retain these records for four years.

Manufacturers will have 18 months to deplete their inventory of less efficient units, but builders will not be able to install them unless they are used in concert with other components that together allow the unit to meet the new requirements. For example, a less efficient coil could be used with a more efficient outside condenser unit to achieve the standard.

The new standard also requires manufacturers to label units so installers know which states they can be used in. The labels must be in place on all units by March 15, 2015.

DOE plans a webinar to fully explain the new standards and the associated penalties for violations. For additional information, contact NAHB’s Don Surrena at 800-368-5242 x8574.