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Regional Standards: What’s Your Market Going to Look Like in 2013?


At NORDYNE we are keeping a careful eye on the proposed regional efficiency standards for the United States. In 2010, Canadian furnace standards increased to 90% AFUE as a reflection on the country’s need for higher efficiency heating. It’s our time to follow suit.

The proposed US regional standards would divide the country into three regions: The North, the South and the Southwest. New federal minimums are being developed for each region specific to its heating and cooling needs. Here’s how those minimums break down:

Regional Standards Map

South (heating degree days less than 5,000)

  • 14 SEER
  • 8.2 HSPF (split heat pumps) and 8.0 HSPF (packaged heat pumps)
  • 80% AFUE (gas furnaces), 81% AFUE (gas packs) and 83% AFUE (oil furnaces)

North (heating degree days greater than equal to 5,000)

  • 13 SEER (split A/C) and 14 SEER (packaged A/C, gas packs and all heat pumps)
  • 8.2 HSPF (split heat pumps) and 8.0 HSPF (packaged heat pumps)
  • 90% AFUE (gas furnaces), 81% AFUE (gas packs) and 83% AFUE (oil furnaces)

Southwest

  • 14 SEER
  • 12.2 EER < 45,000 BTU/hr, 11.7 EER ≥ 45,000 BTU/Hr (split A/C) and 11.0 SEER (packaged A/C)
  • 8.2 HSPF (split heat pumps) and 8.0 HSPF (packaged heat pumps)
  • 80% AFUE (gas furnaces), 81% AFUE (gas packs) and 83% AFUE (oil furnaces)

You’ll notice that across these regions, there is some consistency. Split and packaged heat pumps, for instance, are the same in every region, thereby creating a new national standard. The same is true for oil furnaces and gas packs. Goodbye, 13 SEER heat pumps.

There are two parts to these new standards – one is a building code for new construction, and the other is regional standards for replacement. These new standards were recently reintroduced in the 112th Congress under Senate bill S.398.

If passed into law, the regional building code standards will go into effect January 1, 2013, for new construction. Replacement regional standards would start May 1, 2013, for gas furnaces. All other replacement equipment standards (split systems and packaged units) will go into effect January 1, 2015.

While these standards are still two years away, it’s imperative to get familiar with them now as it’s going to change how many products you stock and potentially your sales mix. Knowing the regional efficiency standards is especially important for dealers whose territory may cover two regions, such as northern Kentucky.

In HVAC, change is inevitable. But understanding and taking charge of change will keep you and your business ahead.

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