WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced that it will enforce a 13 SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) standard for residential central air conditioners. This standard, which will apply to central air conditioning units starting in January 2006, increases by 30 percent the SEER standard that applies to models sold today.

"At this point, all parties have had their day in court," stated David Garman, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. "DOE will enforce the 13 SEER standard. In the interest of giving consumers and industry the regulatory certainty they need, it is time for the government and for private parties to stop litigating and start working towards complying with the 13 SEER standard."

DOE had promulgated a 12 SEER standard in 2002, but earlier this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the department had done so improperly, because it had previously issued a 13 SEER rule in January 2001. Air conditioning equipment manufacturers had challenged the 13 SEER rule, but recently withdrew their challenge.

Publication date: 04/05/2004