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ACCA opposes Energy Star reforms

USA: The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) has announced its opposition to the draft US Energy Star Reform Act.

The Energy Star Reform Act – the subject of a hearing, yesterday, before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy – would transfer responsibilities for the Energy Star Programme from the Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) to the Department of Energy (DOE).

ACCA advocates for the Energy Star programme responsibilities to remain at the EPA due to what it calls the “EPA’s strong support of proper heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment installation practices”.

The EPA estimates that half of all HVAC systems are not installed correctly and created the Energy Star Verified Installation (ESVI) Programme to help ensure that consumers realise the benefits of investments into Energy Star products.

“Despite contractors’ concerns with the EPA, contractors are supportive of EPA’s efforts to promote quality installation practices through EPA’s Energy Star Verified Installation Programme,” said Bart James, ACCA’s senior vice president of government relations. “The Department of Energy has done very little to promote a proper HVAC installation compared to the EPA, and ACCA does not believe Congress should hand over this programme to a department that is not interested in protecting consumers.”

The ACCA maintains that DOE regulations requiring higher product efficiencies has driven up the cost of the equipment, encouraging consumers to cut costs by hiring unqualified installers.

Despite the DOE’s energy efficiency efforts, ACCA says it does not believe that the Department adequately addresses the efficiency losses from poorly installed systems or promotes quality installation practices to consumers.

Glenn Hourahan, ACCA’s senior vice president of technical, accreditation and educational development said, “Consumers understand that Energy Star HVAC products can provide energy savings, but most do not know that these products have to be installed properly in order to operate efficiently. EPA is working to promote proper equipment installation practices. DOE’s focus is more on the manufactured box efficiency and not on the efficiency of the equipment as-installed in the field. In fact, they have questioned the need to promote proper equipment sizing, which every quality contractor knows is the first step in a proper installation.”

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