A group of U.S. HVAC (heating, venting and air conditioning) manufacturers signed a deal Tuesday designed to improve regional efficiency standards and building codes throughout the country. The proposed standards are also aimed at balancing the desire for greater state and regional flexibility with the need for a uniform HVAC marketplace, and stabilizing the HVAC marketplace. The participating manufacturers see the standards’ implementation as a way to protect the environment and economy while promoting greater global investment and job security.
According to a Reuters report, the companies signed the agreement in recognition of the fact that regional energy usage largely determines appropriate investments in heating and cooling efficiency. Since energy usage depends, in part, on climate, by setting different standards in each climate region (North, South, and Southwest), the agreement would maximally improve the manufacturers’ products’ efficiency in each region. Accordingly, the agreement calls for the replacement of 25-year-old national efficiency standards with newer, per-climate-region ones and allows states to raise efficiency standards for new homes.
The participating HVAC companies agreed to submit the agreement to Congress for inclusion in the energy legislation it is currently debating. If the standards are implemented, between 2013 (when the new standards would take effect) and 2030, they could save consumers an approximate $13 billion (figuring in the cost of purchasing the new equipment), the nation 3.7 Btu of energy, and the environment 23 million metric tons of CO2 in 2030.
The signatories were as follows: the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, Alliance to Save Energy, American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, Natural Resources Defense Council, Appliance Standards Awareness Project, Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships, the California Energy Commission, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, and more than a dozen individual HVAC manufacturers.