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New Air Conditioner Standards to Yield Big Savings

DOE regulations will cut commercial cooling costs


New regulations from the DOE would improve commercial air conditioner efficiency by as much as 30%. 

Commercial air conditioners

As part of President Obama’s plan to cut 3 billion metric tons of carbon emissions by 2030, the Department of Energy has proposed new energy efficiency standards for commercial rooftop air conditioners, which cool about half of the total commercial floor space in the U.S. The new standards would require an energy use reduction around 30% for units sold starting in 2019.

The measure is estimated to reduce electricity consumption by around 1.3 trillion kWh and save the average building owner between $3,500 and $16,500 over the life of one commercial rooftop air conditioner.

Also included in the proposal is a different metric to measure air conditioner efficiency called integrated energy efficiency ratio (IEER), which measures real-world energy consumption better than the previous standard, EER that measured air conditioners at full capacity. Current units meeting the commercial building energy code have efficiency levels around 9.5-11.5 IEER, whereas the new standards would set minimum efficiency levels between 12.3 and 14.8. The measures are estimated to save between $16 and $50 billion in electricity costs over the next 30 years.

Is your electricity bill taking up more than its fair share of the budget? Take a look at the Top 5 Energy Efficiency Strategies to whip it into shape.