Starting May 1, 2013, the United States is being divided into three regions. Energy standard regions, that is! The three regions (North, South, and Southwest) are part of the updated Regional Efficiency Standards being implemented by the U.S. Department of Energy. Back in 2010, a group of environmental and energy advocates met with HVAC equipment manufactures and a few other government organization to reach a consensus on energy efficiency. The bulk of what the decided will go into law on May 1, with additional laws taking effect in January 2015.
Here in Cleveland, we fall into the north region so we’ll take a closer look at what that means for your next furnace and A/C installation. We are now required to install furnaces with a minimum efficiency of 90 percent. Eighty and 85 percent efficient furnaces can no longer be installed. Our cooling efficiency minimums remain unchanged at 13 SEER.
So what does this mean to you as a homeowner? If you’re building a new home, you will notice greater efficiency with your heating and cooling systems, and any up-front costs will be built in to your mortgage. If you’re replacing an existing furnace, unfortunately you will see a larger upfront cost. However, long term you will see up to 11 percent savings in heating and cooling costs and you’ll likely see a return on your investment within a few years.
Condo or apartment owners should start planning ahead now. In some cases, a 90 percent efficient furnace won’t work in the condo or apartment without significant work. If you’re looking for a quick fix, consider installing an 80 or 85 percent efficient furnace now while they are still available, and then start to plan for the next furnace in the future.
Overall the new efficiency standards will be a good thing for the U.S. It’s estimated that consumers will save $50 billion in energy costs by 2030. Sure, there will be some hiccups at first, and probably a few unhappy owners who don’t want that extra up-front expense. But a few years down the road, you’ll be looking at much smaller heating and cooling costs and that will be worth every penny.Share post