WASHINGTON - 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 efficient technology, warned Stephen R. Yurek, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) president, in testimony submitted to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Yurek noted that the bill being considered, “The Energy Efficiency Promotion Act” (S. 1115), has “a number of deficiencies that, if not corrected, could negatively impact the HVACR industry.” Specifically, ARI is opposed to the following sections of the bill:

Section 201: Definition of “Energy Conservation Standard”- Yurek stated the revised definition of “energy conservation standard” would allow the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to “set multiple performance standards and to interfere with product design.”

Section 202: Regional Standards for Heating and Cooling Products- Yurek said that ARI strongly opposes regional standards. “Regional standards would complicate product distribution, create additional bureaucratic red tape, and be very difficult to enforce.”

Section 203: Furnace Fan Efficiency- ARI believes that a rule on furnace fan efficiency would not save any significant amount of energy.

Section 205: Preemption Limitation- Concern about whether DOE is fulfilling its responsibilities in the area of efficiency standards, noted Yurek, “should be addressed through Congressional oversight of the agency rather than by automatic abdication of federal authority to the states.”

Some alternative energy efficiency polices that ARI feels would work are:

Residential Energy Efficiency Initiatives:Provide incentives, rebates, and other voluntary programs to encourage the purchase of higher efficiency residential products.

Commercial Energy Efficiency Tax Policy:Pass the “Cool and Efficient Buildings Act” to accelerate the current 39-year depreciation schedule for HVACR equipment to encourage the purchase of newer, efficient commercial cooling equipment.

Worker Education and Certification:Enhance education and training through worker training programs, more funding for applied technology programs, stronger state licensing, and technician certification.

Federal Efficiency Programs:Continue federal funding and use of innovative financing mechanisms to help increase the energy efficiency of government owned housing and buildings.

Research and Development:Provide funding for research and development of energy efficient technologies including research for the next generation of air conditioning and commercial refrigeration equipment.

Publication date:04/30/2007