Working Group Meets on Regional Standards Enforcement Plan

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> > Working Group Meets on Regional Standards Enforcement Plan

The stakeholder working group negotiating an enforcement plan rulemaking for the regional standards for split system and single package central air conditioners convened last week at the Department of Energy (DOE) headquarters in Washington, DC. Twenty-one stakeholders, representing contractors, distributors, manufacturers, utilities, and energy efficiency advocates, met for two days. The working group is expected to deliver a recommended enforcement plan to the Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee by the end of this October. The DOE will then post the recommended rule for public review. ACCA’s Glenn Hourahan is a voting member on the working group, with Charlie McCrudden as his alternative.

The working group is scheduled to meet again August 26-28, and several times more until the end of October. These meeting are open to the public and contractors from around the country may participate via webinar.

The initial meetings covered the ground rules for the rulemaking negotiations and the scope of the enforcement rulemaking. There are a number of complex issues the group must work through, including: what is a violation of the regional standards, identifying the responsible parties, any consequences for a violation, and what tools can be used so that manufacturers, distributors, contractors, and homeowners understand the standards and enforcement. These are just some of the questions that will be covered in the course of this negotiated rulemaking.

The enforcement plan for regional standards will have a significant affect on HVACR contractors.  As the last entity holding the box, contractors can expect new responsibilities when it comes to regional standards.

As a review, new regional minimum energy conservation standards for split system and single package central air conditioners go into effect on January 1, 2015. There will be three regions: the base region (North), the Southeast region, and the Southwest region.

North Region: The minimum energy use standard for central air conditioners installed in the North region remains 13 SEER.

Southeast Region: The current standard of 13 SEER increases to 14 SEER.

Southwest Region: The current standard of 13 SEER becomes more complicated:

For split system central air conditioners, the new standard in the Southwest Region will be 14 SEER plus a variable EER value based on the size of the system.

For single package central air conditioners, the new standard will be 14 SEER and 11 EER.

The DOE will allow split system and single package central air conditioners manufactured before January 1, 2015, to the base standard (13 SEER) to be installed in the South and Southwest regions until July 1, 2016. This 18 month grace period will allow for the sell through of stockpiled 13 SEER units in the Southeast and Southwest regions.

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