WASHINGTON, DC — The Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) has filed comments questioning the merits of a Department of Energy (DOE) proposal for new minimum efficiency standards for central air conditioners and heat pumps “when the vast majority of the U.S. consumers would not benefit from imposition of such standards.”

Comments recently filed by ARI with the DOE stated, “According to the Life Cycle Cost (LCC) analysis, 73% of consumers would not benefit from a 12 Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) for split central air conditioners. For split heat pumps, 61% of consumers would not benefit from a 13 SEER.”

In addition, ARI said that when looking at lower income households, the numbers are even more dramatic.

“On average, approximately 80% and 75% of low-income consumers would not benefit from a 12-SEER split air conditioner and a 13-SEER heat pump, respectively. Air conditioning is no longer a luxury but a necessity, including for many Americans living on low, and fixed incomes in both urban and rural settings.”

In its comments on DOE’s proposal to increase the minimum standard from 10 SEER effective January 1, 2006, ARI said the departments’ proposal “has serious shortcomings and does not justify the proposed standards.” Final action by the DOE on the proposed rule is expected in January.

Publication date: 12/18/2000