Deer Park, New York — The Energy Star certification pathway for residential furnaces and central air conditioners may soon be phased out. A formal proposal to retire the program was submitted to Energy Star.
Ann Bailey, director of the Energy Star labelling branch, submitted a letter to the industry about the new proposal.
As per Bailey’s letter, “Consistent with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) focuses on the potential for electric heat pumps to deliver energy-efficiency gains, pollution reduction and cost-savings to consumers, the Energy Star program is proposing to sunset the certification pathway to the Energy Star label for residential furnaces and central air conditioners (CACs). This will allow EPA to evolve the ENERGY STAR portfolio of product specifications toward identifying the most efficient electric equipment now available to consumers.” In the letter, the term “sunset” or “sunsetting” was often used, which in this context means phasing down or retiring.
The proposal lists sunsetting the “Version 4.1 Specification for Furnaces” and removing CACs from the “V6.1 Specification for CAC and Heat Pump Equipment.”
With regard to space heating, the letter highlights how heat pumps are four times more efficient than even the most efficient condensing gas furnaces. Bailey also adds that the “EPA is proposing to phase out the labelling and promotion of residential gas furnaces and CACs. Leading up to this sunset proposal, EPA has heard from a range of stakeholders emphasizing the opportunity the Agency has to focus the Energy Star label on efficient electric products like air-source heat pumps in order to highlight products that reduce energy consumption, improve energy security, and reduce pollution.”
Regarding the proposal to remove CACs, Bailey’s letter acknowledges, “If all CACs were replaced by heat pumps, about 50 Mt of CO2 would be avoided over 10 years, and billions of dollars in heating costs would also be saved.”
The letter also adds that a similar sunset proposal will be considered for gas and oil appliances in the context of forthcoming revisions of the “V3.0 Specification for Boilers, the Version 1.0 Specification for Dryers” and the “V1.0 for Commercial Packaged Boilers.”