ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Consumers and the Environment Benefit from New Air Conditioning Standard

New York, Jun 04, 2002

In an effort to help consumers save millions on operating costs while conserving energy, the Department of Energy (DOE) recently passed a revised standard that would increase the minimum efficiency for residential central air conditioners and heat pumps by 20 percent.

According to the DOE, the amended standard takes into consideration all the technological advancements of the past decade and will save consumers and the nation money, significant amounts of energy and have substantial environmental benefits.

The new standard, which will increase the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER), a measurement of air conditioner efficiency, from 10 SEER to 12 SEER, is expected to "save approximately 3 quads of energy over 25 years," or roughly the same amount of energy consumed by nearly 17 million American households together in any given year.

The DOE also estimates that the standard will help reduce air pollution by eliminating 80 thousand metric tons of nitrous oxides and decrease greenhouse gas emissions of carbon by 24 million metric tons (the same amount produced by 2 million cars annually). In total, the nation's consumers will save an estimated $2 billion over the period of 2006 to 2030. The Senate had rejected the original proposal, which suggested an increase of 30 percent, after concerns were brought up about high costs that would be imposed on consumers.

William Sutton, president of the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI), an ANSI member and ANSI-accredited standards developer, added "The [DOE] standard is fair because it keeps the equipment affordable and reduces operating costs for consumers. It encourages homeowners to replace lower efficiency equipment sooner, reducing electricity use and power plant emissions which helps America meet energy efficiency goals."

The regulation, which is now published in the Federal Register, will go into affect for air conditioners and heat pumps manufactured for U.S. distribution after January 2006.

For additional information, please contact Ed Dooley at ARI, (t): 703.524.8800 or refer to Air Conditioning Standards Promise Easy Summer Livin', published in the Summer 2001 ANSI Reporter.

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