ARLINGTON, Va. - The energy bills passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate both include a significant provision that is a key goal of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America's (ACCA's) American Living Campaign for Sustainable Comfort campaign, says the association.

Although it remains to be seen if the two legislative bodies can reach an agreement in conference resulting in a final bill for the president's signature, they concur on a key point of ACCA's campaign, the association says. The American Living campaign is a public education and advocacy program that highlights the importance of properly sized, installed, and maintained HVACR systems.

The provision would require the Secretary of Energy, in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA), to educate homeowners and small business owners about the energy savings gained by having their HVACR systems properly maintained. Consumers can do some maintenance themselves, but the only way to make sure a system is running in top-notch form and operating at optimum efficiency is to have it checked and serviced on a regular basis by a professional HVACR contractor.

"The amount of energy wasted by inefficient air conditioning systems is huge," said Paul T. Stalknecht, ACCA's president and CEO. "Fifty-five percent of America's energy bill is spent on heating and cooling commercial and residential buildings. But anywhere from 15 to 30 percent of that energy is wasted - dollars spent on nothing.

"The first step to reducing that waste and saving those dollars is getting homeowners and small business owners to understand that heating and cooling systems are complicated mechanical systems. They're like cars. They have to be maintained and checked regularly.

"Unfortunately, contractors are small, community-based businesses without a lot of resources to spread this important message. That's why we need the Department of Energy to make it a priority, why we are pleased that both the Senate and the House recognize its importance, and why we urge them to include this vital language in a final bill that can be signed by the president."

For more information about the American Living campaign, contact Chris Brown at

Publication date: 07/18/2005