New National and Regional Minimum Efficiencies

On April 24, 2014 the U.S. Court of Appeals accepted a joint settlement agreement (“Agreement”) of parties that had filed lawsuits associated with the direct final rule the Department of Energy (“DoE”) issued on June 27, 2011 that related to energy conservation standards for residential furnaces and residential central air conditioners and heat pumps.
The Agreement effects different product categories in these ways: Gas Furnaces have National Minimum Efficiency Standards The current national minimum energy conservation standard for residential weatherized gas furnaces (single package gas electric) will change from 78% AFUE to 81% AFUE for those residential weatherized gas furnaces manufactured on or after January 1, 2015. This will be a national, not regional, standard. The effective date for the new minimum efficiencies for these products is January 1, 2015, and is based on date of manufacture.
The current national minimum energy conservation standard for residential non-weatherized gas …

What does N plus 1 in HVAC mean?

In N + 1 the "N" is the nominal amount of cooling/heating units required in a building. The "+ 1" refers to an additional HVAC unit as a redundant backup to all others.

Example: A calculation is performed to decide the amount in tons that a building requires. The result is 12 tones. To achieve this the over does not want to use one 12-ton unit, but rather three 4-ton units of four 3-ton units. The N + 1 requirement would give the building contractor the option to put four 4-ton units of five 4-ton units to provide a redundant unit.

Regional Standards Settlement Approved by Court

Yesterday the US District Court of Appeals approved a settlement in the long-running Regional Efficiency Standards lawsuit. The settlement was presented to the court in March after more than two years of litigation. Following the settlement, HARDI COO/EVP Talbot Gee stated "We are pleased to see the court accept this settlement and officially provide HVACR distributors with the relief HARDI fought so hard for." He added, "Now, our attention turns to working with our industry partners and the DOE to reform the processes that led to the lawsuit and to find a common-sense solution to enforcing the standard."

As part of the settlement: DOE has withdrawn the residential gas furnace standard and will draft a new standard, which will likely not take effect until 2021 or 2022.Distributors in the South and Southwest will have 18-months (July 1, 2016) to sell any 13-SEER equipment which is manufactured by the end of 2014.DOE has agreed not to assess ci…

Settlement Reached in Regional Standards Lawsuit (cont.)

With the filing of this week's settlement of the Regional Standards lawsuit, a few questions have arisen regarding what the settlement will mean.
What will the Central Air-Conditioning Standard be in the South and Southwest?On January 1, 2015 the efficiency standard for central air-conditioners in the South will be 14-SEER. In the Southwest, that standard will be 14 SEER and 12.2 EER for systems smaller than 45,000 Btu, and 14 SEER and 11.7 EER for systems larger than 45,000 Btu.
What about the heat pump standard?As of Jan. 1, 2015, national efficiency standards will be 14 SEER and 8.2 HSPF for split-system heat pumps; 14 SEER and 8.0 HSPF for single-package heat pumps; 13 SEER and 7.7 HSPF for small duct, high velocity systems; 12 SEER for space-constrained air conditioners; and 12 SEER and 7.4 EER for space-constrained heat pumps.
Will there be an 18-month sell through for heat pumps?Because heat pumps have a base national standard (and no regional standard), a distributor will not…

Settlement Reached in Regional Standards Lawsuit

On Tuesday, a settlement agreement was formally agreed to and filed with the court in the Regional Efficiency Standards lawsuit. The settlement, which must be formally approved by the court, signifies a victory for our industry.

The settlement does the following:

The energy efficiency standard for residential gas furnaces in the Northern Region has been remanded. The DOE will begin the process of assessing a new standard and has agreed to use a more transparent process. It is likely that a new furnace standard would not take effect until 2021-2022.On January 1, 2015 the efficiency standard for central air-conditioners in the South will be 14-SEER. In the Southwest, that standard will be 14-SEER/12 EER.Distributors in the South and Southwest will have 18-months (July 1, 2016) to sell any inventory of 13-SEER equipment which was manufactured before January 1, 2015.DOE has agreed not to assess civil penalty upon distributors for violations related to the enforcement of regional efficiency …

The End Result is not a Coincidence

Welcome to the first issue of The Comfort Zone.

You confirmed it. What do our customers want to know about HVAC? . . . Nothing! The Occupants, Dealers and Manufacturers do not wake up in the morning wondering what size duct should go on their buildings, the voltage needed at the site, or if the filters need to be changed. Yet those are three of the most common causes of HVAC service calls.
Can we expect absolutely no problems from an HVAC system? Wishful thinking! In most cases the HVAC unit is the only mechanical item on the building. It is totally dependent on us for the proper application and use. Size the duct or registers wrong and you will get hot/cold complaints from the occupants. Connect low site power to the unit, and its capacity is reduced, compressors burn out, and/or the high pressure switches trip. Allow dirty filters, and the coil freezes from restricted airflow.
Many of us in the industry are not interested in the technical part . . . just the end result. That end result…