ARLINGTON, Va. - The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) announced its commitment to continue working with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as the agency reconsiders residential furnace efficiency standards. AHRI President Stephen Yurek expressed that the association was, “looking forward to working with DOE and other stakeholders to ensure that future standards are environmentally sound and economically justifiable.”

In a statement released by AHRI, he cautioned regulators to recognize that super-efficient equipment comes with a higher cost, not just for the equipment, but also because, in some cases, it requires more complex installation.

“These higher costs can drive consumers to repair rather than replace their equipment, thereby extending the life of old, inefficient systems and delaying the potential energy savings of equipment upgrades,” he said.

“Moving forward, this nation needs a good energy policy that provides incentives for consumers to replace their older, less efficient heating and cooling equipment; that supports technical education to build a highly skilled workforce that can properly install these systems to optimize their efficiency; and that initiates educational efforts to encourage consumers to properly maintain their systems and use them conservatively.”

Yurek pointed out that improperly installed or maintained central forced-air systems can be up to 50 percent less efficient than their rated efficiency, partially evidenced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) estimates that more than half of all systems in U.S. homes do not perform to their rated efficiency as a result of improper installation.

“With today’s high energy prices, energy-efficient heating and cooling systems are good for homeowners, but restricting their choice to only the most super-efficient models could have the unintended consequence of making energy-efficient heating and cooling systems financially unattainable for more people,” Yurek cautioned.

“There are many measures we need to consider as a nation that will help us achieve our environmental goals as quickly and effectively as possible.”

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Publication Date:05/04/2009