Posts tagged ‘DOE’

September 8, 2015, 2:22 pm

Consumer Testimonial: Christine Parlee

Instead of costing them energy, Christine and Wes Parlee’s 1,912-square-foot custom home in Devens, Massachusetts actually produces energy.

The Parlee’s home only cost about $40,000 more than traditionally built homes of the same size. Better yet, the investment will pay for itself in about six years and continue to produce profit after that.

Hear Christine share how our Hyper-Heating INVERTER™ (H2i®) ductless system helped earn a utility rebate and the DOE Housing Innovation Award. Learn more about their super efficient New England home.

July 22, 2015, 3:59 pm

How Green Rating Systems Stack Up

Source: Department of Energy Source: Department of Energy

ENERGY STAR, Zero Energy Ready Home, Passive House. You’ve heard about these green rating systems but have you ever wondered how they stack up? How they compare is best understood via the Department of Energy’s (DOE) “High-Performance Home Staircase.” Allow us to walk through the steps.

The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) is the landing of the staircase – the foundation for all green building certifications. Mandated state-by-state, the IECC establishes the minimum requirements for energy efficiency in terms of cost savings, energy consumption, use of natural resources and environmental impact. Green building certifications are given to homes that outperform the IECC requirements. How well a home outperforms determines how far up the rating system staircase it goes.

  1. A home achieves ENERGY STAR certification when it is than the IECC requires and up to 30 percent more energy-efficient than a typical new home.
  2. A home achieves Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) certification when it meets or exceeds the 2015 IECC and is at least 40 to 50 percent more energy-efficient than a typical new home. A ZERH-certified house meets ENERGY Star specifications, incorporates practices from the DOE’s Building America program and meets the Environmental Protection Agency’s Indoor airPLUS requirements.
  3. A home achieves Passive House certification when it meets Zero Energy Ready Home criteria and is 60-80 percent more energy-efficient than the IECC requires. A Passive House generates most or all of the energy it consumes.

The environment, energy providers and energy users all benefit from green building. Reduced energy use provides a healthier, more sustainable environment. It lessens the loads on power grids, decreasing the need for utility companies to expand power plant capacities. For homeowners, reduced energy use brings down the cost of utilities. Simply put: the higher the step on the High-Performance Home Staircase, the better the home is for everyone.

July 16, 2014, 10:02 am

Study Shows Advanced Controls = Energy Savings

July 16_Advanced Controls and Energy Savings Field Study ImageBack in October, we told you about ASHRAE’s co-sponsored Advanced Rooftop Unit (RTU) Campaign, which encouraged commercial building owners and managers to replace packaged RTUs with energy-efficient systems or retrofit them with advanced controls. A year-long field study conducted by the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) proved commercial buildings could cut their electricity use by an average of 57 percent with advanced energy efficiency controls.

The PNNL team retrofitted a total of 66 RTUs at eight commercial buildings in Washington state, Ohio, California and Pennsylvania with advanced controls. One-minute interval data was collected from the units over a 12-month period. They compared the results to the buildings’ energy consumption pre-retrofit (without advanced controls) and found that:

  • Advanced RTUs resulted in an average of $1,489 energy savings per year.

  • Advanced RTUs reduced energy consumption by 22 to 90 percent, depending on the size of the unit.

  • Energy savings increased with size of unit.

  • Large units (e.g., greater than 15 tons) and units with long runtime (e.g., 24/7 operations) had the shortest payback periods.

  • Upfront costs of installing or retrofitting systems with advanced controls could be recovered in an average of three years.

Based on the results, PNNL concludes that approximately 285 trillion Btus of energy could be saved if just 50 percent of the packaged RTUs in the U.S. were retrofitted with advanced controls. That’s equivalent to removing more than 70 coal-powered power plants or more than 10 nuclear power plants.

Click here for the complete field study results. For a summary of the findings, read the “Improving Operating Efficiency of Packaged Air Conditioners & Heat Pumps” article in the March 2014 issue of ASHRAE Journal.

June 24, 2014, 12:52 pm

The Path to Acceptance: History of VRF Zoning Regulations in the U.S.

Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) zoning technology is the fastest growing HVAC technology in the industry today. Mitsubishi Electric introduced the technology to the U.S. more than 10 years ago and has spent the last decade building the category nationwide.

VRF zoning now fills an enormous gap in the country’s cooling and heating needs, but in the early 2000s there was little awareness of this technology. We realized then that the success of VRF zoning technology in the U.S. required a paradigm shift in how the industry and end users thought about cooling and heating solutions.

To initiate this shift we focused on two approaches: to build training and market education at the grass-roots level and to simultaneously spearhead government regulations.

We knew that certification was critical to industry acceptance and, by extension, to end users. We became active members of the HVAC and energy communities, chairing ASHRAE committees, participating in DOE discussions, meeting with members of Congress and becoming active in AHRI. We are proud to have pioneered the introduction of this technology to the U.S. and the subsequent regulatory acceptance.

We have achieved many milestones already and today have an entire department dedicated to advocating for the unique performance capabilities of VRF zoning in the U.S. To see how far we’ve come, here are some of the regulatory milestones that have paved the way to official industry recognition of VRF zoning technology:

June 24_History of VRF Zoning Regulations in the U.S. Image

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June 3, 2014, 2:43 pm

Regional Standards Settlement – What it Means to Us

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On May 29, we posted about the joint settlement agreement between the Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI), Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), the Air-conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) and the Department of Energy (DOE) on regional energy-efficiency standards for gas furnaces and central air-conditioning units. It is essential that HVAC professionals are aware of and understand the new standards – which go into effect January 1, 2015 – in order to provide honest, professional service to their customers.

We spelled out the 5 major changes to the regional efficiency standards for you last week. Now here’s how our equipment will be impacted, as we understand it today:

  • The efficiency standard for heat pumps applies nationally and is governed by the import date. By December 31, 2014, we must have imported the last 13 SEER heat pumps. This has a minor impact on our equipment. Almost all of our heat pump systems are above 14 SEER, except for these combinations: PUZ-A24NHA4(BS)/PLA-A24BA and PUZ-A30NHA4(BS)/PLA-A30BA; these can only be used during the 18-month grace period with outdoor units that were imported before January 1, 2015.

  • The efficiency standards for air-conditioning systems are regional and are applied based on the date of installation. The regional standard is reflected in the efficiency values listed on the ENERGYGUIDE label or yellow hang tags.

    • Southwest: After January 1, 2015, many of the ratings of our system combinations, especially P-Series combinations, will fall below the new minimum EER values (see the May 29 blog post for lists of the new minimum efficiencies, specifically the EER requirements for the Southwest region), at which time, these system combinations can only be installed during the 18-month grace period with our outdoor units that were imported before January 1, 2015.

    • Southeast: Certain cooling-only combinations will not meet the regional qualifications in this region and include PUY-A24NHA4(BS)/PLA-A24BA, PUY-A30NHA4(BS)/PLA-A30BA, PUY-A12NHA4(BS)\PLA-A12BA, and PUY-A12NHA4(BS)/PEA-A12AA. These system combinations can only be installed during the 18-month grace period with our outdoor units that were imported before January 1, 2015.

    • As of January 1, 2015, our two single-speed systems (MS-A09/12WA) will not meet the minimum efficiency in the Southeast or Southwest areas. These system combinations can only be installed during the 18-month grace period with our outdoor units that were imported before January 1, 2015.

Click here to learn about the energy-efficient designs of our products, which will allow them to comply with the standards. To read the March 11 joint settlement issued by the HARDI, ACCA, the AHRI and the DOE, click here.

Written by MitsubishiHVAC
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May 29, 2014, 2:33 pm

Two Years Later: HARDI, ACCA, AHRI, DOE Reach Regional Standards Settlement

Logo ImageOn April 24, the U.S. Court of Appeals D.C. Circuit issued an order approving the March 11 joint settlement agreement between the Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI), Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), the Air-conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) and the Department of Energy (DOE) on regional energy-efficiency standards for gas furnaces and central air-conditioning units.The settlement comes after a 2011 lawsuit that spanned more than two years, during which industry associations argued that the DOE’s regional efficiency standards rulemaking process was unjust as it ignored the input of distributors and other stakeholders.

The settlement is scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2015. Here are the changes that contractors, distributors and manufacturers need to know:

    1. The regional energy-efficiency standard for residential nonweatherized gas furnaces in the Northern markets has been remanded. The DOE will develop a new standard and will use a more transparent process when developing it. The new standard won’t be established for at least seven years. Until then, a national standard of 78 percent Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) is in effect until November 19, 2015. After this date, the AFUE standard will be raised to 80 percent.

    2. The DOE will review and clarify the Direct Final Rule (DFR) process. The DOE agrees to revise the process that sparked the 2011 lawsuit, and employ a new procedure that puts more weight on feedback from all interested parties. This will ensure a consensus on an enforcement plan amongst all stakeholders.

    3. The DOE will address an enforcement rulemaking for the air-conditioner and heat pump standards that remain in place and are set to go into effect next year. As of January 1, 2015, the regional and national efficiency standards will be as follows:

    Graphs Image

    4. Distributors in the South and Southwest have an 18-month sell-through period. Distributors have until July 1, 2016 to sell any inventory of 13-SEER equipment manufactured or imported before January 1, 2015. The DOE agrees not to hold distributors liable when enforcing the new standard. The January 1, 2015 compliance date still applies to manufacturers, however.

    5. The DOE recognizes the 18-month grace period granted to distributors and agrees not to penalize them. “This settlement protects distributors from significant damage associated with stranded inventory,” said Steve Porter, co-chair of HARDI’s committee on government and trade relations.

The settlement ensures that manufacturers don’t have to move inventory from one region to another to accommodate regional efficiency standards.The settlement also gives manufacturers two preseason order periods to adjust inventory and time to phase in new models and begin messaging to their distributors and contractors.

The settlement gives contractors time to familiarize themselves with the new standards as well (74 percent are unaware of the changing standards for residential air-conditioning and heat pump systems). In addition to the new regional efficiency standards for split systems and single-package air conditioning units, the settlement also addresses new national standards for 10 other product categories, including split-system heat pumps.

Click here to read the “Court Accepts Regional Standards Settlement” article from ACH&R News for more details.

Written by MitsubishiHVAC
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March 6, 2014, 3:26 pm

New Study Puts Green ROI to the Test

March 6_SBRA Home Energy Testing Image 2

Now, more than ever, it is important to distinguish which technologies will give homeowners and building owners the most bang for their buck. What energy saving benefits truly justify the costs of the products themselves?

To answer that question, we’ve signed on as a research sponsor along with the System Building Research Alliance (SBRA) and other manufacturers to conduct a year-long study on energy performance. Co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Building America Program and underwritten by Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the study will monitor the performance of three test manufactured homes – one that meets HUD thermal standards, an ENERGY STAR® home and the first manufactured DOE Challenge Home-certified home in the U.S.

The data will be incredibly valuable as it will paint a clear picture of the impact energy-efficient systems have on a home and the energy saving possibilities. This will, in turn, provide important insight into what efficiency improvements are worth investing in.

We’ll be sure to share our findings. In the meantime, click here for SBRA’s press release on the upcoming study.

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