The latest Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) and Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) standards for residential and commercial air conditioning systems have been updated by the U.S. Department of Energy, pushing forward an effort to reduce energy costs and reduce harmful carbon dioxide emissions. This, according to G.A. Larson, is especially important for businesses and households looking to save money on their energy bills as well as help protect the environment.
Why Is It Important To Adhere to SEER Standards?
When it comes to residential and commercial buildings, the efficiency of these structures is very important. The SEER is a metric used to measure this efficiency in cooling systems and has become increasingly important as climate change continues to be an issue. Adhering to the latest SEER standards can help reduce energy consumption, lower cooling costs, and promote overall sustainability for commercial and residential buildings.
The SEER rating indicates how efficiently the cooling systems in a building use energy. It measures the ratio of the total cooling output (in British Thermal Units or BTUs) over the total power input measured in watt-hours. The higher the rating, the more efficient the system is, meaning it uses less energy but still produces enough cooling capacity for a home or business’s needs.
In order to ensure that structures are as efficient as possible, organizations like ENERGY STAR have made it their mission to set up guidelines and standards that help consumers make informed decisions when purchasing new equipment and appliances. In regards to air conditioners and heat pumps, they recommend a minimum SEER rating of 14 while encouraging consumers to purchase units rated 16 or higher—the highest rating currently available on the market is 25.
Adhering to these recommended ratings not only helps reduce energy use but also has tangible economic benefits for owners of commercial and residential buildings alike:
- Savings on electricity bills from decreased energy use
- Increased efficiency of heating/cooling processes due to improved technology,
- Availability of government tax credits for those who purchase energy-efficient products
All of these benefits add up to quite a bit of money saved annually.
In addition to the economic benefits of adhering to SEER standards, there are also environmental benefits associated with these standards. Decreasing energy consumption through better efficiency standards means fewer greenhouse gases are released into our atmosphere. This reduces our carbon footprint and helps contribute towards global initiatives like limiting climate change’s effects on our planet’s health.
Furthermore, promoting high-efficiency air conditioning products also encourages manufacturers to develop products that rely on renewable sources instead of traditional nonrenewable resources like gas or oil, resulting in further decreases in emissions related to production processes.
What are the current SEER Efficiency Standards?
The U.S. Department of Energy introduced updated SEER efficiency standards at the beginning of the year. Both residential and commercial standards have changed.
The Latest Residential Standards
For residential air conditioning systems, the minimum required SEER rating is currently 14 SEER in the northern part of the U.S. and 15 SEER in the southern part of the U.S. This means that even relatively standard A/C systems will be able to provide more efficient cooling while using less energy than older models with lower ratings. Furthermore, the Department of Energy has created new categories of “super-efficient” residential units which qualify for tax credits or other incentives in certain states.
The Latest Commercial Standards
On January 1, 2023, the U.S. Department of Energy introduced new minimum efficiency standards for commercial HVAC equipment as well. This includes raising the natural gas heating efficiency from 80% to 81% steady state efficiency for appliances over 225,000 btu/h. In preparation for the update, a lot of manufacturers have updated their products to meet the revised regulations.