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A Class of Their Own: Efficiency Standard Updated for Heat Pumps and Air Conditioners

PNNL research team lends hand in publishing updated regulatory standard, will save 0.15 quads of energy

October 2015
Efficiency Standard Updated for Heat Pumps and Air Conditioners

As our Nation seeks to increase energy efficiency and reduce impacts to the environment, major changes to the way we do things—such as the manufacturing of commercial products—are necessary. To that end, researchers from PNNL partnered with DOE to publish an updated regulatory standard for Single Package Vertical Units (SPVU)—cooling and heating equipment—in the form of a Final Rule. The Final Rule enforces changes that are expected to save approximately 16 billion kilowatt-hours over the lifetime of units sold from 2019 to 2048, or by about 18 percent when compared to the current standard.

Typically found in modular classrooms, modular office buildings, and hotels, SPVUs are commercial equipment arranged in a vertical fashion. The amended standard requires compliance by 2019 and in addition to the energy savings, consumers will save an estimated total of $400 million in the 30 year span. The update also prevents 9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Appliance & Commercial Equipment Standards (ACES) Program

In support of the DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, PNNL's ACES Program works with consumers, industry, and environmental groups in developing appliance standards and test procedures that increase energy savings while minimizing manufacturer impact and preserving consumer product choice.

The goal of the program is to set minimum energy efficiency standards for appliances and equipment used in residential, commercial, and industrial applications, as required by law. Such appliances and equipment represent nearly 90 percent of residential energy use, 60 percent of commercial energy use, and 29 percent of industrial energy use.

Standards for SPVUs were first established in 2008. Previously they were lumped together with other commercial air conditioning and heating equipment. This is the first amendment to SPVU rule as a separate equipment class; the full text of the amended standard is available in the Code of Federal Regulations, 10 CFR 431.97(d), (2) and (3).

Publishing the Final Rule is one way PNNL's Appliance & Commercial Equipment Standards Program is helping DOE to meet its goals, while also increasing the energy efficiency of the Nation. For more information on these changes, see coverage in the Appliance Standards Awareness Project blog.

PNNL Research Team: Scott Morris, Michelle Niemeyer, Olga Livingston, Abinesh Selvacanabady, Sagar Rao, Dave Winiarski, Mike Scott, Marye Hefty, and Steve Matsumoto

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Energy and Environment

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