DOE Sets First Regional Energy-Saving Standards for ACs and Furnaces

WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 2010 -- The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has established the first-ever regional standards for central air conditioners and furnaces, as well as strengthened national standards for heat pumps.


Once the latest updated standards take effect, a typical new air conditioner in the South will use about 40% less energy, and a typical new furnace in the North will use about 20% less than before national standards were established in the late 1980s. According to DOE’s analysis, the improvements to the air conditioner and heat pump standards announced today will save 156 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity over 30 years, or about enough to meet the total electricity needs of all the households in Indiana for three years, while delivering net savings of more than $4.2 billion to U.S. consumers. The new furnace standards will save 31 billion therms of natural gas, or about enough natural gas over 32 years to heat all the homes in New York State for more than 11 years and save consumers $14.5 billion.


The new furnace standards will apply beginning in May 2013 and the new air conditioner and heat pumps standards in January 2015. The original national furnace standards took effect in 1992 and today’s rule is the first update. Initial national standards for air conditioners and heat pumps took effect in 1992, and a previous DOE update became effective in 2006.


The signatories to the joint agreement on which today’s standards are based are: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Alliance to Save Energy, the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP), Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), California Energy Commission (CEC), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP), Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NW Council), and more than a dozen individual furnace and air conditioner manufacturers. Others on record in support of the new standards include consumer groups such as the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) and Consumer Federation of America (CFA), gas and electric utilities such as National Grid and Avista Corporation and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance.