New Energy Efficiency Standards
The new standards effective in 2023 require a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER)—a measure of a system’s cooling performance—of no less than 14 SEER for residential systems in the northern part of the United States and 15 SEER in the southern part of the United States, where cooling loads are a larger share of home energy use. Higher SEER ratings indicate more energy-efficient equipment.
The U.S. Department of Energy has adopted new energy conservation standards that increase the minimum energy efficiency requirements for central air conditioners as follows:
- For Split-systems air conditioners with a certified cooling capacity of less than 45,000 BTU/hr, the
minimum efficiency will increase from 14 SEER to 14.3 SEER2.
- For Split-systems air conditioners with a certified cooling capacity equal to or greater than 45,000
BTU/hr, the minimum efficiency will increase from 14 SEER to 13.8 SEER2.
The U.S. Department of Energy increased minimum energy efficiency requirements, as noted above, will go into effect on January 1, 2023. Air conditioning equipment installed on or after that date will have to be in compliance with the U.S. Department of Energy increased minimum energy efficiency requirements. The installation or sale of non-compliant equipment could subject a contractor, distributor, or manufacturer to enforcement action by the U.S. Department of Energy. If you have questions about whether the HVAC equipment you are currently installing or plan to install in the future will meet the U.S. Department of Energy increased minimum energy efficiency requirements, please contact your distributor, the manufacturer of the equipment, or the U.S. Department of Energy. The U.S. Department of Energy increased minimum energy efficiency requirements for air conditioners can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations at 10 C.F.R. Â§430.32(c)(5)-(6).
Through 2032, federal income tax credits are available to homeowners, that will allow up to $3,200 annually to lower the cost of energy efficient home upgrades by up to 30 percent. To learn more go to: https://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits
In addition to the energy efficiency credits, homeowners can also take advantage of the modified and extended Residential Clean Energy credit, which provides a 30 percent income tax credit for clean energy equipment, such as rooftop solar, wind energy, geothermal heat pumps and battery storage through 2032, stepping down to 22 percent for 2033 and 2034.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) 2015 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) estimates that 76 million primary occupied U.S. homes (64% of the total) use central air-conditioning equipment, and about 13 million homes (11%) use heat pumps for heating or cooling. When defining the new standards, DOE calculated that, in total, households using central air conditioners or heat pumps will collectively save $2.5 billion to $12.2 billion on energy bills during the 30-year period following implementation of the standards.
The Florida Building Commission is in the process of updating the current Florida Building Code Energy Conservation, to conform to the U.S. Department of Energy increased minimum energy efficiency requirements as noted above. The Florida Building Commission will also notify the energy compliance software vendors of these changes so that their software can be updated accordingly. If you have any questions about the process for incorporating these changes into the Florida Building Code Energy Conservation, please call 850-487-1824.