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  1. #1
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    Mar 2012
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    Energy Star SEER standards for central air conditioners in 2015 - speculation

    As many here should know, the U.S. Department of Energy has set up its final rule on minimum efficiencies for central air conditioners starting in 2015. For the very first time, minimum federal efficiency standards will be regionalized. While the minimum federal efficiency for the northern United States will remain at 13 SEER, the minimum federal standard for the southern United States (defined as Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington DC) will increase to 14 SEER, which corresponds to the current Energy Star standard.

    Since there will be a regional difference in minimum federal standards for SEER, I expect Energy Star will adopt regionalized standards for SEER in 2015 as they do now for AFUE with furnaces, since the Energy Star program is supposed to exceed minimum federal standards. The Energy Star standard in the northern U.S. will likely remain at 14 SEER, while the Energy Star standard for the southern U.S. will likely increase to at least 15 SEER.

    So, how does anyone think the new Energy Star standards will be once the new minimum federal efficiency standards go into effect in 2015?

  2. #2
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    Sep 2002
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    If they go through with this, a lot of contractors in the south are going to start illegally importing cheaper 13 seer units from the north, and vice versa with furnaces.

    I read that they dropped the proposed 90% afue minimum in northern states.

    Too bad they can't outlaw mismatching coils, oversizing, crappy duct designs.

    ---------------
    One other thing -> manufacturers can easily exploit loopholes in legislation.

    For example, york has a 11-12 seer model which is legal to sell because it was only arhi tested with ecm blower furnace/air handlers.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by amd View Post

    I read that they dropped the proposed 90% afue minimum in northern states.
    Not quite yet. The U.S. Court of Appeals has yet to issue a final ruling on the case, so until a final ruling is issued, the 90% AFUE law for the North still stands.

    FYI, I don't see a change in Energy Star standards for furnaces at this time, since the existing Energy Star standards (90% AFUE for the South, 95% AFUE for the North) already exceed the new federal minimum standards.

  4. #4
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    Mar 2012
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    Just as a little update to the furnace mandate, on May 1, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled on an emergency motion filed by the AHRI requesting a stay of the compliance date for the new rules:
    http://contractingbusiness.com/resid...-furnace-rules

    With this ruling, the DOE isn't allowed to enforce the new rules until a final settlement is reached.

  5. #5
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    Aug 2012
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    Sounds like a winner to me.
    My name is TooCoolforschool and I am a chronic over charger.

  6. #6
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    Merged your threads. In the AOP, only Pro * members may reply.

    Please don't make duplicate threads, they will be deleted.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  7. #7
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    May 2000
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    Indianapolis, IN, USA
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    Hadn't heard 15 SEER. But 14 SEER down south isn't a big deal. Usually requires a slightly larger condenser or maybe a TXV evap. But the 90% rule was a great hardship in some cases. We have homes, condos, etc. where getting PVC flue/intake out would be impossible. This was a huge reason in opposing and stopping that rule.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaldLoonie View Post
    Hadn't heard 15 SEER. But 14 SEER down south isn't a big deal. Usually requires a slightly larger condenser or maybe a TXV evap. But the 90% rule was a great hardship in some cases. We have homes, condos, etc. where getting PVC flue/intake out would be impossible. This was a huge reason in opposing and stopping that rule.
    Note that this thread is for speculation on the Energy Star standards; the minimum federal standards for 2015 are already finalized; Energy Star standards are always above minimum federal standards. This is the reason why I expect the new Energy Star standard for the south will be increased to at least 15 SEER.

  9. #9
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    Oct 2010
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    Anderson, South Carolina, United States
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pink Jazz View Post
    Note that this thread is for speculation on the Energy Star standards; the minimum federal standards for 2015 are already finalized; Energy Star standards are always above minimum federal standards. This is the reason why I expect the new Energy Star standard for the south will be increased to at least 15 SEER.
    I don't see a problem with 15 seer, 90% of what we sell is ahri rated at least 14.5-15seer acs and hps and 95+ afue furnaces, because there is minimal price increase in equipment cost. It's when you get to 16+ that the price of equipment skyrockets due to the 2 stage compressor and circuit boards. The only time we sell 13 seer is to a landlords.

  10. #10
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    I suspect they will hold off a bit longer. Since 14 SEER will just becoming min fed standard the energy star may wait a extra year or 2, so maybe 15 seer in 2016 or 17 in which case the price will have come down a bit. As has been said, 14 SEER is easily attained on most all systems with a slightly nicer A/H on 13 SEER condenser/HP. Most all our split installs are minimum 14 SEER anyway as on Trane we always buy GAM5 as cost difference btw it and TAM4 or 4FWC*f or Legacy/4TEC is minimal. GAM5 on XB13 is min 14 SEER. Same for FXM4X FEM4X over FSM with ICP products. On Package units we mostly install 13 SEER as going even to 14 is significant and for not much more than 14 you can get a 16 with 2 stage. Energy Star may go straight to 15 SEER when feds go 14 but fear of backlash might keep them back a bit. When builders factor in the price for energy star certification they balance their direct increase in expenses verses the more attention from buyers or more money they can get for home because it is "certified". But when the HVAC contractors have to charge significantly more for the 15 SEER equipment it will make the es "cert" not look as attractive and hence ES or Equivilent loses business. Now ES knows what we do that the price difference for a 14 over a 13 isnt that big of a factor. So if price for 15 SEER comes down I can see them going to it, but if it is still to high they may wait a while. But to throw a kicker into my thinking it may take a mandatory switch to 15 SEER min for the price to come down.

  11. #11
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    IMHO if ES is trying to save the planet it would make much more sense to limit the tons per sqft based on area and age of home. Make the contractor/builder/homeowner tighten up the house instead of throwing a bigger AC unit at a leaky home. New construction should be able to do 1,000sqft per ton in most areas if it's built tight.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by 54regcab View Post
    IMHO if ES is trying to save the planet it would make much more sense to limit the tons per sqft based on area and age of home. Make the contractor/builder/homeowner tighten up the house instead of throwing a bigger AC unit at a leaky home. New construction should be able to do 1,000sqft per ton in most areas if it's built tight.
    I agree with that point, but I still believe that SEER is also important for determining the qualification standards for air conditioners and heat pumps (not necessarily Energy Star qualified homes). Since the Energy Star program always tries to exceed minimum federal standards, it makes sense to increase the Energy Star standard for the southern US to at least 15 SEER, since 14 SEER will be the new minimum federal standard for the South. The Energy Star program already has regionalized standards for gas furnaces (even before the DOE set its new regionalized minimum federal standards), which are 90% AFUE for the South and 95% AFUE for the North, vs. the new minimum federal standards of 80% for the South and 90% for the North.

  13. #13
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    Jun 2001
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    That's my whole point. Energy star and DOE focus way too much on the box because it's easy to regulate. Instead they should be focused on delivered home performance. By limiting BTU per sqft that foces the install to be done correctly and the home to be reasonably tight. OR DOE/ES could regulate WATTS per sqft. Higher SEER or a tigher house could be used to achieve the minimum energy standard.

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