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DOE Seeks Input on Energy Standards for Commercial HVAC

Jessica Lyons Hardcastle

The DOE is considering revising the current energy conservation standards for certain commercial air-conditioning and heating equipment.

As part of this effort, it’s seeking public comment to help determine whether increasingly stringent national standards would result in significant energy savings — and whether such new standards would be technologically feasible and economically justified.

The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 sets energy conservation standards for small, large and very-large air conditioning and heating equipment. This category of equipment has a rated capacity between 64,000 Btu/h and 760,000 Btu/h. The equipment is designed to heat and cool commercial buildings and is typically located on the building’s rooftop.

The American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act of 2012 amended EPCA’s energy conservation standards for certain types of commercial and industrial equipment. At issue here is the inclusion of a requirement for DOE to consider amending the standards for “any covered equipment as to which more than six years has elapsed since the issuance of the most recent final rule establishing or amending a standard for the product” as of the date of AEMTCA’s enactment, Dec. 18, 2012.

DOE must issue either a notice of determination that the current standards do not need to be amended, or a notice of proposed rulemaking containing the proposed standards by Dec. 31, 2013.

DOE issued its last final rule for small, large and very large air-cooled commercial package air conditioners and heating pumps on Oct. 18, 2005; now, in accordance with AEMTCA, DOE must either publish a notice of determination that standards for these equipment types do not need to be amended, or a notice of proposing amended energy conservation standards for these equipment types.

The current federal standards are shown in Table 1.

Earlier this month, EPA announced it is revisiting various clean air standards based upon input by stakeholders and in compliance with settlement agreements. But the Sierra Club claims some of these changes favor polluters.



One comment on “DOE Seeks Input on Energy Standards for Commercial HVAC

  1. The more efficient you require the equipment to be the less efficient it becomes in six short months. Example: Coil fins are now manufactured to 14 per inch and it is impossible to filter 100% of the air. So the exposed coil grabs dirt and then bio-burden is created and this decreases air flow and heat transfer and raises energy costs. Also, thermal comfort is drastically affected after six short months.
    AHU cleaning pays for itself 10 times over and should be required by law.

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