ARLINGTON, Va. - Congressman Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) has re-introduced H.R. 1241, the "Cool and Efficient Buildings Act," to reduce the depreciation period from 39 to 20 years for "any property which is part of a heating, ventilation, air conditioning, or commercial refrigeration system and which is installed on or in a building which is nonresidential real property." The Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) says the legislation would provide an incentive for the replacement of the more than 36,000 chillers still in use in 2004 that use chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerants, and urges support of the bill.

"ARI strongly urges its members to support the Cool and Efficient Buildings Act," said William G. Sutton, president of ARI. "A depreciation schedule that reflects the useful life of chillers and other equipment will save money, reduce energy consumption, and encourage investment in more efficient models."

A wide range of nonresidential buildings would qualify for the new depreciation rate including offices, malls, airports, and factories where HVACR equipment, from large tonnage liquid chillers to unitary air conditioners and heat pumps, is used.

According the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), installing more efficient chillers could reduce energy consumption by 7 billion kilowatt hours per year, saving $480 million annually and avoiding emissions of 4 million tons of carbon dioxide. The electricity saved would be enough to provide for the average annual electrical needs of approximately 740,000 American households.

Hoekstra has garnered the support of 25 co-sponsors, including bipartisan members of the House Committee on Ways and Means. For more information, contact Hoekstra's office at

Publication date: 03/28/2005