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Department of Energy Releases Most Far-Reaching HVAC Conservation Rules Yet

02/24/16

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The federal government is continuing its push toward greater national energy efficiency. Late last year, the Department of Energy released a new set of rules governing commercial furnaces and air conditioners, which according to the agency is the “largest energy-saving standard in history.” Whether the regulations live up to that rosy billing is yet to be seen, but what’s certain is that this is yet another step toward a more efficient, less energy-intensive future.

Savings and Efficiencies Adding Up Over Time

According to government predictions, businesses will save $167 billion and carbon pollution will be cut by 885 million metric tons over three decades after the rules are put in place. The first phase will go into effect in 2018 and deliver 13 percent in efficiency gains in new equipment, the DOE claims, with another phase triggering in 2023 to lock in an additional 15 percent in conservation.

“Today’s announcement marks the largest energy-saving standard in history and demonstrates that America is leading the effort to reduce energy costs and cut carbon emissions,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement. In total, new rules released by the Obama administration over the past seven years for heat and air conditioning equipment plus other appliances are projected to save businesses and homeowners a total of $535 billion and reduce carbon pollution by 2 billion metric tons.

What Does it Mean for Your Residential Heat and Air Conditioning?

Of course, to be effective, efficiency regulations must cover far more than just commercial buildings. In fact, federal standards cover residential HVAC equipment as well, a crucial element of energy conservation since the average household uses about half its energy on heat and air conditioning. Just last year, the DOE announced that it was considering new standards for residential boilers and gas furnaces, and sought public input for rules regarding residential central air conditioning and heat pumps as well.

With any new regulation comes news costs, and not all consumers and industry professionals will be happy about a bump in the price tag for new appliances. However, a big appeal of efficiency is that it not only reduces the amount of carbon that we dump into the atmosphere each year, it also cuts back on fuel costs -- with both the new commercial heat and air conditioning rules and the residential standards, the DOE actually projects the regulations will save people money over time.

When Do You Need to Upgrade Your Equipment?

Not everyone has the disposable income to purchase new heat and air conditioning equipment every time a more efficient model hits the market, but if your old gear is getting long in the tooth, it’s a great opportunity to upgrade to a more reliable unit and ramp up your conservation at the same time. For help picking out and installing new HVAC equipment, get in touch with an expert heat and air conditioning technician without delay.



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