DOE Issues Strongest Standard to Date
On December 18, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a new energy efficiency standard for commercial rooftop units: both rooftop air conditioners and warm air furnaces. According to the DOE, this ruling represents the largest energy and pollution savings of any rule ever issued by the agency—and will benefit businesses, manufacturers, and the environment. Several leading energy efficiency organizations including NEEA, the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP), the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and a number of California utilities participated in the negotiations with manufacturers leading up to the announcement.
NEEA staff played a key role in the negotiation process. In alignment with our Strategic and Business Plans, NEEA staff provided contributed significantly to the technical defense and support for the Department of Energy’s analysis, as well as installation cost assumptions, and modeling data. NEEA staff also advocated for a more stringent test procedure, which was off the table by the DOE for the standards negotiations. However, the energy advocates recommended the DOE start a test procedure review in 2016 and was accepted by the working group as part of the final term sheet and is in the final rule.
The new standard has two efficiency tiers that come into effect in 2018 and 2023, respectively. The first tier will deliver 13 percent efficiency improvement in products. Five years later, the standard requires an additional 15 percent increase in efficiency for new commercial units.
Moving forward, this standard will have a clear impact in the Northwest. Oregon and Washington will reach the first tier of equipment efficiency by July 2016 and Idaho and Montana before the standards take effect in 2018. This head start is due to strong state codes that are well ahead of national standards. And, in 2023, when the second tier is phased in, we can expect to see significant savings.