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?