Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions, Efficiency and Regulations
With a primary interest in regulatory changes impacting commercial and residential HVAC systems, Jennifer discusses current and future codes, standards, and regulations, and provides insight on how they affect homeowners, facility managers, and contractors.
As policies and regulations change, a transition is being made toward low global warming refrigerants and new codes. Here we will discuss ASHRAE 34 and 15, as well as the adoption of new codes and standards and how they can vary from state to state.
Previously we have looked at federal minimum energy efficiency levels and the metrics used today to rate air conditioning systems (such as SEER, integrated energy efficiency ratio, or full load EER). Now we are shifting focus and looking at system efficiency and where it is headed in the future.
This article is going to take a look at efficiency and what that looks like in the landscape of regulations. The focus here will be on energy efficiency regulations and what impacts they are expected to make in the next three years, both from the residential standpoint and also commercial.
With the HVAC industry undergoing changes and becoming more innovative, once-commonplace HFC (hydrofluorocarbon) refrigerants such as R-410A are beginning to phase out. Low-GWP (global warming potential) refrigerants, are in the process of replacing HFC refrigerants. Most of these new refrigerants are classified by ASHRAE as A2L, which means that they are classified as mildly flammable but show promise for energy efficiency and positive environmental impact.
As a contractor, it is important that you are aware of the different federal minimum efficiency levels and compliance requirements across regions. Understanding the new standards and metrics (SEER2, EER2, HSPF2) will help both you and your clients feel confident moving forward with these changes.
The purpose of the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act is to phase down HFC, or hydrofluorocarbons, production and consumption by 85% over the next 15 years, and support a transition to more environmentally and consumer-friendly cooling technology options. HFCs will continue to be available for existing equipment, but the EPA will establish requirements for managing any existing HFC in use.
Before buying a new air conditioner, homeowners can make more informed decisions by knowing the latest standards and efficiency ratings. While more efficient equipment is typically more expensive to purchase on the front end, homeowners that understand the value of more efficient operating systems are able to realize energy cost savings that can actually offset the difference in the system’s original purchase price.
With 2023 coming up, it will be important for contractors to be updated on the new SEER Regulations. This article talks all about the new regulations, how it differs by region, and what all contractors should keep in mind.
As global, national, and state regulations have targeted the phase-down of HFCs, the industry has seen a shift toward alternative refrigerants with lower global warming potential (GWP). While more environmentally friendly, many of these emerging options bear a degree of flammability.