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ACCA Pushes Back on DOE Proposed Revision of Residential Gas Furnace Energy Standards

Oct. 28, 2022
Options for contractors and homeowners a better route, says Barton James.

Alexandria, VA (October 19, 2022) - The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) notified the Department of Energy (DOE) this month that it opposes the July 7, 2022, notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) to revise the energy efficiency standards for residential natural gas furnaces.

ACCA reported that the proposal, if adopted, would negatively impact ACCA’s over 3,000 member companies, individual homeowners, including low-income households, small businesses, and seniors.

Federal and state lawmakers and regulators focus a significant amount of time on the HVACR industry because of the energy its products consume. Former Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz believed energy efficiency improvements within the HVACR industry could have an enormous impact on addressing peak demand for electricity going forward. ACCA agrees with the Secretary, but the DOE is not focused on the problems that ACCA's contractor members work on every day: incorrect equipment sizing and poor equipment installations.

"The problem of poor HVAC installations is rampant in part due to many public officials believing that industry-recommended installation standards and training programs are aspirational and do not require trained technicians," said Barton James, ACCA president, and CEO. "If DOE would turn their attention to educating and incentivizing homeowners to demand that HVAC systems are installed according to the industry’s recommended minimum standards, then the HVACR industry would be able to meet Secretary Moniz’s wish for a 25 to 30 percent improvement in efficiency, and far exceed the goals from this furnace rule.

"... [DOE]  should focus on proper equipment sizing, correct duct design, and quality installations based on nationally recognized standards such as ACCA's Manual J®, Manual S®, and Manual D® "  - Barton James

"ACCA strongly believes that America’s HVAC contractors should have options for their customers based on their applications needs, fuel and installation cost, energy reliability, and product availability when it comes to heating homes and businesses. ACCA once again opposes this latest attempt by the DOE to offer a solution that does not address the root energy problem," added James. “This regulation will create an unnecessary burden on homeowners, who already are facing
increasing costs of living, by demanding them to install equipment that they can neither afford nor will reach the desired efficiency that the DOE claims this regulation is needed to meet. ACCA firmly stands by the position that HVACR contractors and consumers should have access to whatever source of fuel makes the most sense for their business and economic needs. If the DOE wants to have a real impact on reducing fuel use and increasing the energy efficiency of heating systems, they should focus on proper equipment sizing, correct duct design, and quality installations based on nationally recognized standards such as ACCA's Manual J®, Manual S®, and Manual D®, which help ensure that systems are properly sized, have the correct ductwork, and are installed in a manner that allows the equipment it reach its stated efficiency rating."

ACCA's letter to the DOE can be viewed here.

 ACCA reported it will continue to keep its members updated on the status of the DOE's rulemaking activities regarding energy-efficiency standards for furnaces and fight for common-sense regulations and legislation that leverages our members' expertise.

For more information about ACCA, contact Melissa Broadus, ACCA director of member communications, at [email protected] or (703) 824-8842.