Energy Star’s Most Efficient Central A/Cs and Air-source Heat Pumps
An inside look at some of the most efficient products in HVAC
Energy Star certification is an important distinction HVAC manufacturers aim for their products to achieve. The designation recognizes highly efficient performance, and 2016’s list of the most efficient central air conditioners and heat pumps delivers a bevy of products from a wide range of manufacturers.
Here’s a look at one product from each company represented on this year’s list.
Champion’s 18-SEER Split System Air Conditioners combine a premium look with low sound levels and convenient serviceability. This communicating outdoor unit integrates with the Residential Communicating Control and a communicating indoor unit to provide easy setup and troubleshooting and exceptional comfort and energy efficiency.
“The Champion two-stage air conditioner delivers consistent comfort with efficiency levels up to 18 SEER and 10 HSPF,” said Ken Ely, product manager, heat pumps and air handlers, unitary products group, building efficiency, Johnson Controls Inc. “The HL8B uses a two-stage compressor balanced with an electronically commutated motor (ECM) indoor match. The indoor equipment utilizes fixed-speed or constant cfm, which provides installing contractors price-point and application options.”
The WhisperDrive™ system silences vibrations with a swept-wing fan and composite base while an internally protected compressor can withstand high temperatures and pressures.
This product features powder-painted steel for long-term durability in the harshest environments. It’s designed for easy access to all components for fast and economical serviceability and is available with environmentally friendly R-410A refrigerant.
“The Coleman Echelon HC8B heat pump provides two-stage operation for closer temperature and humidity control while providing system matches of up to 18 SEER and 10 HSPF,” said Ely. “The systems feature both constant-airflow ECM [electronically commutated motor] and multi-speed ECM indoor matches. A demand-defrost system with proprietary algorithms assure fewer and shorter defrost cycles, which increases consumer comfort while reducing power consumption.”
An isolated compressor compartment reduces noise, and a state-of-the-art compressor combines reliability and efficiency with quiet operation. The fan guard design yields quiet and efficient operation, and a composite base pan distributes and dampens sound.
The Quaternity Series is engineered and manufactured to extremely high standards, ensuring high performance, reliability, and efficiency. From the internal motors and compressors to the exterior anti-corrosion treatment and self-diagnostic function, Daikin ductless systems are built for durability.
Offered in 9,000-, 12,000-, and 15,000-Btu capacities, the Quaternity Series has precision temperature control for individual rooms, a space-saving design, and a simple-to-use wireless infrared remote controller that shows ambient temperature and room temperature.
“I believe we still have a great system with the [Quaternity Series] offering,” said Kelly Hearnsberger, vice president of product marketing, Daikin North America LLC. “It combines several innovations, features, and benefits that deliver an exceptional solution. The system delivers one of the highest efficiencies on the market, with added features such as being able to set and monitor relative humidity, an integrated air cleaner module, and an excellent range of cooling and heating capacities.”
“The Fraser-Johnston AL8B air conditioner provides premium performance with premium features,” said Ely. “With the Energy Star Most Efficient rating, a matched system SEER of up to 18 and an HSPF rating of up to 10, the consumer is assured low energy bills. Flexibility for the contractor installing the systems includes the use of a four-wire-communicating, Wi-Fi, and smartphone-compatible-communicating control or a conventional two-stage thermostat. For efficient air movement and added humidity control, a variable-speed or standard ECM indoor furnace or air handler provide an Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute [AHRI]-matched system solution.”
A stamped, decorative metal coil guard protects the tube-in-fin coil from debris and other damaging material. The compressor is safeguarded against abnormal pressures and temperatures by an internal pressure relief valve, an internal temperature sensor, and factory high- and low-pressure system controls. A factory-installed liquid-line filter drier further protects the compressor against moisture and debris. R-410A refrigerant delivers an environmentally friendly performance with zero ozone depletion. Installation is simple, thanks to a slide-down control compartment that allows easy access to control components. Additionally, angled service valves help to reduce overall installation time and cost.
The Lennox XC25 air conditioner features efficiency ratings up to 26 SEER and 16.5 EER. Precise comfort technology maintains consistent temperatures within 0.5°F when paired with Lennox communicating indoor equipment and the Lennox iComfort Wi-Fi thermostat. Variable capacity cooling provides the precise amount of cooling comfort, temperature control, and humidity removal.
“The Lennox XC25 and the Ultimate Comfort System epitomizes what Energy Star Most Efficient recognition is all about,” said Trent Davis, senior product manager, air conditioners and heat pumps, residential, Lennox Intl. Inc. “Our innovative technologies make XC25 among the most precise and efficient air conditioners you can buy. It keeps homeowners comfortable by holding temperatures within half a degree of a set point and manages humidity with incredible precision. The product is designed to provide homeowners exceptional system performance as they save money every month, and their homes feel comfortable inside.”
The product is also solar-ready and can be combined with solar roof modules in a SunSource® Home Energy System.
This product features an energy-saving inverter compressor, quiet operation, cooling/heating/fan mode, and a dehumidifying mode.
“The LSU/LSN outdoor unit with LG Wired Remote offers a host of benefits, from energy savings to quiet operation. LG Electronics has policies and activities in place to support our global commitment to the environment,” said Lorie Quillin-Bell, marketing director, LG air conditioning systems. “We’re proud that 18 LG duct-free models have achieved the coveted Energy Star Most Efficient 2016 designation, and we are also honored to have earned the 2016 Energy Star Climate Communicator Award.”
Additional features for the unit include a four-way auto-swing vane for wider airflow and reduced temperature stratification, a 24-hour on/off timer, and a hand-held remote control. Jet Cool operation can also quickly bring a room down to set temperature.
The Acclimate Series is engineered with reliable compressor technology and few moving parts for greater efficiency, reliability, and comfort. The HL8B model is equipped with advanced diagnostics to monitor compressor activity and protect the system. It’s also equipped with two-stage compressor technology that operates at two levels of performance. The first stage heats and cools a home most of the time. The second stage maintains maximum comfort levels during peak heating and cooling hours.
“The Luxaire HL8B Acclimate two-stage heat pump provides year-round comfort and low energy bills when paired with the appropriate AHRI-matched indoor unit,” said Ely. “The SilentDrive™ system in our HL8B model features the combination of a swept-wing fan design, isolated compressor compartment, composite base pan, and two-stage heating and cooling that provides quiet operation.”
This 36,000-Btu-capacity product offers 14 EER, R-410A refrigerant, and the QuietDrive™ system. Its exterior cabinets and interior components are designed and selected for rugged reliability, plus it has sealed electrical contactors and a rigid base pan.
“The York YZH Affinity heat pump provides up to 18 SEER and 10.0 HSPF efficiency when matched with an ECM indoor unit, whether it’s a variable-speed or standard multi-speed ECM,” said Ely. “A flexible controls strategy allows the installer to use a conventional two-stage heat pump thermostat or match it with the Wi-Fi- and smartphone-compatible Affinity Residential Communicating Control.”
Publication date: 9/26/2016