ARLINGTON, Va. - A new legislative proposal to promote energy-efficiency improvements to residential and commercial appliances and equipment, such as central air conditioning, will have the adverse effect of hindering the development and use of energy-efficient technology, warned Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) President Stephen Yurek in testimony submitted to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on April 23.

“The Energy Efficiency Promotion Act (S. 1115), while admirable in its attempt to conserve energy, will ultimately undercut the effective energy-efficiency programs developed by Congress and administered by the Department of Energy,” said Yurek. “These current laws and regulations work because they are the result of a partnership with industry that has given manufacturers the opportunity to provide critical input into the development of energy-saving performance standards that still allow them to produce affordable, quality products for the American public.

“Not only would this legislation hurt industry, it would hurt consumers and environmental progress,” said Yurek. “It will also change an enforceable program at the manufacturer level to an unenforceable program at the point of installation. In addition, ARI opposes the legislation because it contains a number of provisions that would open the door to a morass of federal and regional performance and design standards for HVACR equipment.”

As an alternative, ARI recommends the adoption of a menu of alternative, energy-efficiency measures to achieve the bill’s objectives.

These include:

• Supporting residential energy-efficiency initiatives like incentives and rebates for the purchase of efficient appliances;

• Passing tax incentives to accelerate the replacement of older HVACR equipment in commercial buildings with more efficient technology;

• Strengthening the nation’s support of workforce education and certification to promote more efficient installations of HVACR equipment; and

• Funding research and development projects to advance the next generation of energy-efficient technologies.

Publication date:05/07/2007