ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - HVAC industry representatives are scheduled to meet with Albuquerque city officials on Tuesday, March 25, to discuss the city’s new Energy Conservation Code, which mandates 15 SEER air conditioning and 90 percent AFUE equipment for all residential and commercial new construction, remodels, and replacements.

Since these requirements exceed the federal minimum set by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), HVAC industry officials urged that the city obtain a waiver of federal preemption from DOE before enforcing the energy codes, which were set to go into effect April 1. Through the efforts of many industry officials, the city agreed to delay implementation of the energy codes until July 1.

The March 25 meeting is designed to hash out the problems and issues with the energy codes.

“I personally believe the city’s decision to postpone the April 1 start and sit down with industry is the result of grass root pressure from the industry,” said Talbot Gee, vice president of Heating, Airconditioning, and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI). “Our local distributor and contractor members flooded the city with letters within a 48-hour period before March 3. They [Albuquerque city officials] started listening.”

Gee and other HARDI representatives plan to be at the March 25 meeting. Representatives from the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) and Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) are also scheduled to be present.

HARDI put together a task force of local members. Included in the mix are Chris Lopez of Albuquerque Winair, John Richardson of Gorman Industries, Stephen Brown of Johnstone Supply, and Ed Donahue of Doc Savage Supply.

Industry officials believe the energy codes, if implemented as is, create a nearly unenforceable regulation “that tips the playing field against complying contractors and distributors.”

“Without exemption from the federal preemption of current national HVAC equipment standards, the new Albuquerque codes cannot prevent the undercutting of compliant HVAC businesses by noncompliant entries with less expensive equipment that meets federal standards but not the higher city standards,” said Gee.

Publication date:03/24/2008