Think Energy Star When Upgrading Air Conditioning

Published on: August 16, 2012

The Energy Star endorsement that an appliance or an HVAC unit is energy efficient. The Energy Star program is a U.S. governmental program that allows manufacturers of energy efficient products to label their appliances and HVAC units with the Energy Star label. The U.S. government created the Energy Star labeling program so that consumers will be able to easily recognize products that are considered energy efficient and beneficial for the environment. According to EnergyStar.gov, products that earn the Energy Star label reduce the inefficient use of fuel and energy which reduces greenhouse gases in the environment.

Qualifications for the Energy Star Label

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has published a set of standards by which products and practices may earn the Energy Star label. These standards include:

– The category of products must contribute ”energy savings nationwide”.
– Products must not only provide significant energy savings, but they must also provide features that consumers demand.
– If the product costs more than similar products, the qualifying product must provide energy savings that will enable the consumer to recover the difference in cost through savings on energy costs over a short period of time.
– Energy efficiency must be achieved through non-proprietary technologies and be offered by more than a single manufacturer.
– Energy efficiency of the product must be measurable and verifiable through testing.
– The Energy Efficient label would be visible to consumers and assist them to differentiate products.

Whether considering an air conditioning installation or the purchase of a new refrigerator or kitchen range, the Energy Star label will provide information about the unit’s efficient use of energy and the energy savings that the consume will realize by installing the unit in their home.

Energy Star Ratings for Room and Multi-Split Air Conditioners

The Energy Star rating is very useful when purchasing room air conditioners. Window units consume quite a bit of energy to cool the room. However, by purchasing an Energy Star evaluated unit, you may save as much as $10 to $15 per unit over a cooling season on energy costs.

Multi-split systems are also rated by Energy Star. Multi-split HVAC systems may cool and heat the entire home, or may be installed to heat and cool just a few rooms. The multi-split HVAC system has an outdoor unit and one or more indoor units that are installed on the walls or ceilings inside the home. Multi-split systems are often evaluated with an Energy Star rating, indicating the energy savings the consumer will realize by purchasing the system. Multi-split systems are generally more energy efficient than conventional HVAC systems because each room may be heated or cooled independently of other rooms.

In addition, the indoor units are programmable, which means that indoor units installed in rooms that are not occupied at certain times of days may be programmed for energy efficiency. These systems quickly produce heated or cooled air so if the indoor unit is programmed to be off during a certain time of day, the room will be quickly returned to a comfortable temperature once the unit is turned on.

Energy Star ratings are useful for consumers to easily spot energy efficient portable and multi-split units. Energy Star labels provide an estimate of how much energy is saved with the unit versus a non-rated system.

Considerations for Air Conditioning Installation

When considering the purchase and installation of a new HVAC system, other ratings provide measures of how energy efficient the unit will be, as well. The SEER rating estimates the energy efficiency of a cooling system. For systems, such as heat pumps, that both heat and cool the home, these units are estimated with the SEER rating for fuel efficiency for cooling the home and the HSPF rating for fuel efficiency for heating the home.

When evaluating the energy usage for a air conditioning system, keep in mind that the higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the unit will be. The higher the SEER, the more money saved over a season to run the unit. SEER ratings start at 13 for new HVAC units. However, highly efficient units may have SEERs of over 20. Purchase an air conditioning system with the highest SEER rating that your budget will allow. The higher the SEER, the more of an initial investment will be required on the unit, but you will recover the initial costs by saving on fuel bills over time.

When considering an air conditioning installation, consider the size of the unit as well as the energy efficiency of the unit. An air conditioning installation that is too large for the home will use more energy than needed to cool the home. HVAC professionals use a formula to determine the appropriate size for the air conditioner to be installed for a particular home. Purchasing a unit that is too small for the home will also be less energy efficient. The unit is required to run more frequently to try to cool the home.