Department of Energy

                         Department of Energy

More Efficient Commercial Heating and Cooling Systems Are on Their Way

If all goes as planned, commercial building owners will be able to buy and install much more efficient air conditioning and heating systems over the next several years.

On December 17, the U.S. Department of Energy announced what it describes as the largest energy efficiency standard in history. These new standards apply to commercial air conditioning and furnaces and will be phased in over seven years. The first phase begins in 2018 and delivers a 13 percent improvement in efficiency for these commercial products. In 2013, an additional 15 percent increase in efficiency will be the required standard for commercial heating and cooling units.

The new standard is the largest in history, because, according to the DOE, of the total amount of energy it will save over the life of the standard. The Washington Post reports DOE officials saying the standard will save 15 quadrillion (also known as 15 quads) BTUs.

Translated into dollars, businesses will save $167 billion on utility bills, according to DOE estimates. And 885 million metric tons of carbon won’t end up in the air, the government said.

The ambitious new standard was developed in conjunction with manufacturers and industry groups representing HVAC contractors. With the multi-year rollout of the new standards, manufacturers will have some time to meet compliance.

“They really came out with the most favorable ruling for all parties involved,” said Terry Johnston, vice-president of HVAC equipment manufacturer Lennox, in an interview with the Washington Post.

Announcing the new standard, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said, “This rule also shows that strong public-private partnerships can reap environmental and economic dividends and drive technology