The Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) and Energy Star has issued new guidelines for efficiency tiers for residential single phase air conditioner and heat pump equipment to better align with the DOE’s new regional standards which went into effect in Jan 2015.
The CEE is a consortium of energy efficiency program administrators from United States and Canada formed to influence appliance manufacturers, government agencies, and other stakeholders. The consortiums goal is to maximize the impact of energy efficiency programs. They publish specification tiers, of increasing efficiency, that help program administrators such as utilities and local government agencies target their efficiency rebate programs.
Energy Star is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program that helps identify high efficiency appliances in order to help consumers save money and to protect the environment.
A summary of the new CEE and Energy Star specifications (version 5):
CEE and Energy Star Efficiency Specification for Single Phase CAC and ASHP less than 65,000 BTU
CEE ‘Tier 0’ was added during this update, as in the past there were only three tiers. The previous Tier 1 is now Tier 0 and is used as a place holder to allow current rebates and incentives to continue as the market shifts to the new tiers. The new Tier 0 (14.5 SEER and 12 EER) remains above the federal efficiency minimum. It is likely that Tier 0 will go away in near future after the industry has time to adapt to the new efficiency standards and the associated tiers.
CEE and Energy Star collaborated with the industry to, in most cases, align their specifications. This is positive for the industry, as it reduces the number of models to design, manufacture and stock. For the homeowner the new specifications reduce confusion around energy efficiency ratings. The new CEE Tier 1 aligns with Energy Star ratings and is expected to become the most popular tier for efficiency programs. As a result, you should expect to see new models designed to meet this efficiency level in future.
Some useful resources on rebates and model information:
Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency: http://www.dsireusa.org/
CEE Directory of Efficient Equipment: http://www.ceedirectory.org/site/1/Home
Energy Star Certified Products: http://www.energystar.gov/products/certified-products