The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute wants the U.S. Department of Energy to put a little more thought into its rule-making process as it considers whether to hike air-conditioner efficiency standards by 2016.

Karim Amrane, the institute’s vice president for regulatory policy and research, testified June 12 at a Washington, D.C., hearing that the department underestimated the cost of raising the minimum seasonal energy-efficiency ratio from 10 to 13 when it mandated the change in 2006.

“DOE needs to step back and review past analyses to understand where improvements need to be made," Amrane said.

Amrane said the Energy Department’s prediction of an incremental $335 cost difference for a 10-SEER and a 13-SEER split air conditioner was very low and said equipment sales have dropped 9 percent since.

The new standard is not feasible for many consumers, he said, adding the energy savings were probably overestimated by department officials.

He asked the officials to “carefully study the impact of climate-change legislation on the availability and price of HFC (hydrofluorocarbon) refrigerants.”

It’s possible the price of such products could spike and there will not be enough to meet conservation goals, he said.