Business Bits

AHRI Wins Court Case; Publishes First VFD Standards as Free Download
The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), recently had its day in court, and won.

On January 25, 2012, Judge Martha Vazquez of the Federal District Court for the District of New Mexico issued an opinion and order in AHRI’s favor, finding that the provisions of the 2007 Albuquerque Energy Conservation Code relating to the energy efficiency of federally covered residential and commercial HVAC equipment and water heaters are preempted by federal law, specifically the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA).

The ruling follows two previous rulings, one on October 3, 2008, in which Judge Vazquez had issued a preliminary injunction against enforcement of these provisions, and one on September 10, 2010, in which she granted in part and denied in part (without prejudice) AHRI’s motions for summary judgment.

"We're gratified that Judge Vazquez agreed with AHRI that, regardless of intentions, the law must be followed," says AHRI General Counsel Joseph Mattingly. "Our member companies produce very energy-efficient equipment and are at the forefront of popular efforts to curb energy use, but we have maintained all through this case that federal law is very clear, and we are happy that the judge agreed with us.

"We look forward to continuing to provide highly efficient heating, cooling, commercial refrigeration, and water heating equipment to people in Albuquerque and around the world," Mattingly says

In her latest opinion, Judge Vazquez confirmed her September 10, 2010, rulings, 1) that the prescriptive energy efficiency standards in the 2007 Albuquerque code that are more stringent than federal minimum efficiency standards are preempted and can’t be saved from federal preemption by the availability of alternative code compliance paths; and 2) that a particular performance-based code compliance option is preempted because it’s based on a standard reference design that uses efficiency levels that exceed federal efficiency standards.

In other news, AHRI has announced the publication of an industry first standard for variable frequency drives (VFDs).

AHRI Standards, 1210 (I-P)-2011 & 1211 (SI)-2011, Performance Rating of Variable Frequency Drives — can be found for free download on the AHRI website. It applies, within the HVACR context, to VFDs used in the control of asynchronous induction motors.

"What began in 2006 as a small group of members working toward a new Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI’s predecessor organization) product section has led to a standard that will level the playing field and lead to yet another world-class AHRI certification program," says Stephen Yurek, AHRI’s president/CEO.

AHRI says VFDs have been in the mainstream for several years, providing high efficiency and reliability. VFDs produce fast rising, high-frequency pulses of electrical energy to control and power motors.

ASHRAE, USGBC, IES Publish High Performance Green Building Standard
Changes to help make buildings and systems more sustainable are part of the newly published version of the highperformance green building standard from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES)

ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1-2011, Standard for the Design of High-Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, provides a green building foundation for those who strive to design, build and operate high performance buildings. It covers areas related to site sustainability, water-use efficiency, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and the building’s impact on the atmosphere, materials, and resources.

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