Newest Air Conditioner Standards proposed by the US Department of Energy Would WITHOUT Be Considered by Some the Biggest Energy Saver in U.S. DOE History

The United States Department of Energy (USDOE) proposed standards to make a huge dent in the move toward energy efficiency. It would cut commercial rooftop air conditioner energy use by about 30% for starters!

“DOE’s new standards are a breath of cool air for businesses since air conditioners account for about 10 percent of a typical commercial building’s electricity cost,” said Steve Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. “The new standards will drive innovative, energy-efficient air conditioners into buildings across America, not only saving businesses money, but also reducing electricity demand and environmental emissions.”

“Commercial cooling is a big part of the electricity load in many parts of California,” said Vincent Davis, senior director of Energy Efficiency at Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). “Working through our efficiency programs, PG&E and the other California utilities have encouraged installation of high efficiency commercial cooling systems. These proposed new national standards will help further drive energy savings for customers.”

USDOE predicts that the standards would save businesses between $16 and $50 billion and reduce electricity consumption by about 1.3 trillion kilowatt-hours. For context, in 2013, President Obama established a goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 3 billion metric tons by 2030 through energy efficiency. USDOE is about 70% of the way towards the President’s goal. Not sure if those estimates are realistic but we will go with it for now.

Rooftop air conditioners are commonly used in low-rise buildings such as schools, restaurants, big-box stores, and small office buildings. They cool about half of the total commercial floor space in the United States. (Most of the other half is cooled by chilled water systems, residential-type central air conditioners, or individual air conditioners mounted in windows or external walls.)

“Energy efficiency standards covering a range of products have been one of America’s most successful policies for meeting the nation’s energy needs,” said Andrew deLaski, executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project. “Thanks to already existing standards, U.S. electricity use will be about 14% lower in 2035. The new commercial AC standards along with other new standards completed this year will add to that record of achievement.”

Sources: Washington, D.C. (September 18, 2014), ACEEE, The Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP)

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