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Consensus Reached on Air-Conditioner Efficiency Standards

New York, Nov 12, 2004

Air-conditioner manufacturers and energy efficiency advocates have reached an agreement on consensus federal equipment efficiency standards for air-conditioners and heat pumps used in many commercial buildings. On behalf of air-conditioning manufacturers, ANSI member and accredited standards developer the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) has led negotiations with energy efficiency supporters, represented by the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The agreement ended eight months of discussions between the two groups, but is still pending on Department of Energy approval.

The current federal standard calls for the most common type of equipment to have an Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) of 8.9. With the new standard, air-conditioners and heat pumps in commercial buildings would have to be 26 percent more efficient by January 1, 2010; the EER standard for the most common units will rise to 11.2 EER.

"This agreement represents a win for the environment, for consumers, and for manufacturers," stated ARI president William Sutton. "The agreement gives manufacturers regulatory certainty to develop new models for 2010 that will meet both the new efficiency standards and EPA regulations to phase-out the use of HCFC refrigerants that can deplete the ozone layer."

"Appliance efficiency standards have been one of the U.S.'s most effective energy-saving policies with the majority of standards developed through consensus negotiations," stated Steven Nadel, executive director of ACEEE. "This agreement shows the benefits of working together and we hope and anticipate that additional product efficiency standards can be negotiated in the future.”

According to ACEEE, the agreement will reduce peak power needs by about 7,400 megawatts by 2020, equivalent to the output of 25 new power plants of 300-MW each. This same analysis found that the agreement will result in net benefits to building owners of about $2.4 billion for commercial air conditioners purchased over the 2010-2030 period, considering the value of the energy savings and subtracting the moderate additional cost of the improved equipment.

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