DOE: Largest Energy-Saving Standard In History

DOE News:

  • Commercial Air Conditioner and Furnace Standards Will Save Businesses $167 Billion and Cut Carbon Emissions by 885 Million Metric Tons

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy today announced historic new efficiency standards for commercial air conditioners and furnaces. Developed with industry, utilities, and environmental groups, these standards will save more energy than any other standard issued by the Department to date.

Over the lifetime of the products, businesses will save $167 billion on their utility bills and carbon pollution will be reduced by 885 million metric tons.

“Just days after the Paris agreement to cut global emissions and create a new era of affordable energy, today’s announcement marks the largest energy-saving standard in history and demonstrates that America is leading the effort to reduce energy costs and cut carbon emissions,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “This rule also shows that strong public-private partnerships can reap environmental and economic dividends and drive technology breakthroughs. These standards are a direct result of the Energy Department’s negotiated rulemaking process which brings diverse stakeholders to the negotiating table and supports industry innovation, demonstrating how government and business can work together to meet U.S. carbon reduction goals.”

During the Obama administration, the Department has finalized new efficiency standards for more than 40 household and commercial products, including commercial refrigeration equipment, electric motors, and fluorescent lamps, which will save consumers nearly $535 billion and cut greenhouse gas emissions by over 2 billion metric tons through 2030.

Today’s announcement brings the Energy Department more than two-thirds of the way to achieving the goal of reducing carbon pollution by 3 billion metric tons through standards set in the President’s first and second terms. This is equivalent to cutting more than a year’s carbon pollution from the entire U.S. electricity system.

These new commercial air conditioning and furnace standards will occur in two phases. The first phase will begin in 2018 and will deliver a 13 percent efficiency improvement in products. Five years later, an additional 15 percent increase in efficiency is required for new commercial units.

Commercial air conditioners, also known as rooftop units, 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.

To finalize this standard, the Department convened 17 stakeholders, including major industry organizations, including the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute and Air Conditioning Contractors of America, along with some of the nation’s leading manufacturers, utilities, and efficiency organizations. Manufacturing new products will provide skilled jobs for American workers, garnering the support of labor leaders. These standards also come after years of industry innovation.

The Energy Department’s High Performance Rooftop Unit Challenge catalyzed several manufacturers to develop more efficient, cost-effective rooftop air conditioners. With these new units commercialized, the Department’s Advanced Rooftop Unit Campaign has spurred businesses to upgrade over 40,000 rooftop units by providing them with technical assistance throughout the process. The new standards will ensure all businesses have access to energy-saving air conditioners that lower their utility bills for years to come.

Find more information on the energy efficiency standards for commercial air conditioners and warm air furnaces established today at

Supportive quotes on commercial air conditioning and furnace standards:

Terry Johnston, President and COO, North America Commercial HVAC with Lennox International Inc.: “Lennox International strongly supports the negotiated rulemaking process used by the Department to achieve consensus in this rulemaking. DOE’s rule for commercial unitary air conditioners and furnaces delivers a historic amount of energy savings and is a testament to how industry, efficiency advocates and government can work together to achieve results that benefit the nation.”

Richard Trumka, President, AFL-CIO:

“This is the kind of sensible regulation that will create jobs and strengthen our economy. The AFL-CIO supports these standards, and applauds DOE for involving stakeholders in crafting them.”

Joseph Sellers Jr., General President of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART):

“We support this rule as it will save energy and, by extension, the environment. The well trained members of SMART are prepared to design, retrofit, fabricate and install the hyper-efficient HVAC equipment and systems this country needs.”

Leo W. Gerard, President, United Steelworkers International:

“Our union applauds the updated efficiency standards set by the Department of Energy for commercial air conditioners and furnaces. Not only will these new standards help reduce our nations emissions, but they will do so using the innovative efficiency technologies of domestic manufacturers and the skilled work of the thousands of USW members who manufacture these systems each day.”

Rhea Suh, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“These groundbreaking standards underscore the power and potential of energy efficiency as the cleanest, quickest, and cheapest way to cut the carbon pollution from electricity generation that’s fueling climate change. Today’s announcement is also further proof that smarter use of energy makes good sense for business and the environment – and it’s another important step in our fight to slow, stop and reverse the central environmental challenge of our time.”

Steve Nadel, Executive Director of American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy:

“These standards are a game-changer for the commercial sector. Industry and advocates worked closely together to help produce the biggest energy savings standards in US history. These new standards will bring down the cost of doing business and improve bottom lines by letting companies invest money they used to spend on heating and cooling. This will in turn stimulate the economy, create jobs, and bring us closer to the finish line of the president’s climate goals for appliance standards.”

Andrew deLaski, executive director, Appliance Standards Awareness Project:

“These new standards will deliver truly momentous energy and dollar savings — more than any other standard in the Energy Department’s history. Businesses will see tremendous savings on their cooling energy bills, carbon emissions will be cut by hundreds of millions of tons and manufacturers gain long-term regulatory certainty.  It’s a win-win-win. Secretary Moniz deserves tremendous credit for bringing diverse stakeholders together to achieve an outcome that delivers enormous energy and carbon savings, lower cooling energy bills for businesses and a long term regulatory roadmap for manufacturers. This new standard is a huge success.”