Browse Gas Furnaces

Gas Furnaces - Expert Commentary

U.S. Department Of Energy’s New Standards And Testing Ahead In January 2023
U.S. Department Of Energy’s New Standards And Testing Ahead In January 2023

Every six years, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) reviews how much energy certain home appliances and mechanical systems use and determines if an increase in energy efficiency requirements is justified. New energy conservation standards As a result of the 2017 assessment, the DOE has mandated new energy conservation standards that take effect on January 1, 2023, for all newly manufactured residential and commercial air conditioners, heat pumps, and gas furnaces.  In addition to the new standards, there are also new, more stringent test procedures for all residential and 3-5-ton light commercial, single-phase equipment manufactured on or after January 1, 2023. The new, more rigorous testing procedure will determine energy efficiency ratings for all residential and light commercial single-phase, air conditioners and heat pumps manufactured on or after January 1, 2023. The procedure increases external static pressure (ESP) by 60%, from 0.3 to 0.5, which more accurately reflects field conditions. New testing metrics The new test procedures will result in reduced, yet more precise, efficiency ratings Compared to the current SEER, EER, and HSPF ratings, the new test procedures will result in reduced, yet more precise, efficiency ratings. Because of this, new metrics and nomenclature were developed, including SEER2, EER2, and HSPF2. Minimum efficiency ratings will be reduced for these versus the 2023 SEER, EER, and HSPF minimum efficiency ratings for each region. “Johnson Controls is committed to helping our dealers, contractors and partners overcome the challenges that these new regulations bring through educational offerings that cover all new HVAC products and testing updates to make this transition as smooth as possible,” says Chris Forth, Vice President, Codes & Environmental Affairs, Ducted Systems, Johnson Controls. Webinars and training programs Specifically, Johnson Controls is updating all HVAC products beginning in 2022 to meet minimum requirements for air conditioners and heat pumps manufactured for 2023 DOE compliance and simultaneously making additional performance and efficiency improvements. They are also complying with new DOE testing procedures to conform to upcoming regulations. Johnson Controls’ ongoing webinars and training on the new regulatory changes will continue through 2022 and 2023 regulatory training will be provided for each future product update and launch. Efficiency standards Air conditioners installed in northern climates must achieve a 14.0 SEER rating or 13.4 SEER2 For air conditioners, efficiency standards vary by region. The U.S. is divided into three regions based on climate: North, South (east), and Southwest. The climate makes a big difference in how often air conditioners and heat pumps operate; those that operate more have greater opportunities for energy savings. Therefore, air conditioners installed in northern climates must achieve a 14.0 SEER rating, or 13.4 SEER2, while those installed in the southeast and southwest must achieve a 15.0 SEER rating or 14.3 SEER2. For heat pumps, efficiency standards are the same for each region. Heat pumps in every region must achieve a minimum efficiency of 15.0 SEER or 14.3 SEER2. Testing capabilities “Manufacturers need to retest, optimize and relaunch every product tier by the new testing procedure,” says Forth. “For some, the scale of this project is huge and unprecedented. Many manufacturers expanded their testing facilities and advanced their technology to ensure all products are tested and ready when they are needed. Johnson Controls has dedicated our Rooftop Center of Excellence in Norman, Oklahoma, to driving innovation in manufacturing technologies and testing capabilities.” Residential and commercial equipment The new efficiency minimum for commercial, single-phase air conditioners and heat pumps are 13.4 SEER2 For now, the new energy conservation standards and new testing procedures will affect residential equipment more than commercial equipment. The new requirements apply only to commercial equipment with a single-phase power supply. The minimum efficiency of commercial equipment with a three-phase power supply will continue to follow 2018 requirements until these systems convert to the new SEER2 levels at some point in the future. The new efficiency minimum for commercial, single-phase air conditioners and heat pumps are 13.4 SEER2. IEER will remain the primary metric for commercial, three-phase products above 65K Btu/hr, making part-load efficiencies more important and increasing the use of variable-frequency drives (VFDs). Consequences of non-compliant equipment There are several possible enforcement consequences DOE can take should a dealer or contractor installs non-compliant equipment, if a distributor supplies non-compliant equipment, or if a manufacturer knowingly sells non-compliant equipment. They might have to replace non-compliant equipment at their own expense, and repeat violators may be placed on a national “no-sell” list. They might also be prohibited from purchasing any of the seven classes of products identified in the Code of Federal Regulations (10-CFR-430.32) and could be subjected to fines. HVAC professionals can avoid accidental non-compliance by familiarizing themselves with the specific DOE regulations and by keeping accurate, up-to-date records of products sold per DOE requirements. 2023 DOE compliant equipment One of the biggest misconceptions among homeowners is how the standards affect their existing systems" Johnson Controls and other manufacturers are also helping dealers, contractors and technicians learn about the new requirements and working with them to ensure they have compliant equipment now and when the new requirements become effective on January 1, 2023. “One of the biggest misconceptions among homeowners is how the standards affect their existing systems,” says Forth. “It’s important for contractors to communicate to homeowners that the 2023 requirements only apply to new systems manufactured to meet the new DOE 2023 efficiencies. The functional equipment they currently have installed in their home does not need to be replaced.” Reducing energy consumption   The new DOE minimum energy efficiency requirements are part of ongoing efforts to reduce energy consumption in the U.S. and save home and property owners money. When the time comes to replace or upgrade existing systems, home and property owners will be able to select new higher efficiency, 2023 DOE compliant equipment, says Forth. “If HVAC installers have questions, most contractors and distributors are ready to help them understand and prepare for the 2023 minimum efficiency change and answer any questions they have,” says Forth. “Understanding the efficiency standards for their region is going to be critical before the standards go into effect. Preparation and planning now as to which systems and components meet their region's requirements regulatory requirements will make the transition easier.”

Why Hybrid Heat Pumps Deserve Their Moment In The Spotlight
Why Hybrid Heat Pumps Deserve Their Moment In The Spotlight

With the UK committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, drastic action is needed by the government. For new-build homes, there’s a gas boiler ban coming in less than five years’ time. And for older properties, it’s likely that gas prices will continue to rise, to encourage homeowners to switch to a more sustainable alternative. Renewable heating market With this in mind, the renewable heating market is growing rapidly, albeit from a very small base – but with targets in place to keep the momentum up. The government has committed to install 600,000 heat pumps into new homes by 2028. The government has committed to install 600,000 heat pumps into new homes by 2028 People who are already living in (old and new) properties heated by renewable technology should be applauded for pioneering it – but understandably, not everyone has the confidence to give up a solution they’re familiar with, and to step into the relative unknown. And that’s why the value of transitional technologies cannot be over-estimated– both to homeowners who want to live more sustainably and to installers looking to adapt and future-proof their businesses. But the role that hybrid heat pumps can play in accelerating progress on the road to zero has been somewhat overlooked to date. Hybrid heat pumps Hybrid heat pumps combine the power of a heat pump with the familiarity of a high-efficiency boiler. The two appliances work together to provide heating and hot water, providing the ideal replacement for a combi boiler as a first step towards introducing renewable heating technology into the home. Compared to a traditional gas boiler, hybrid heat pump systems can reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 55% and have been proven to deliver up to a 50% reduction in energy bills in homes in the UK. Our Daikin Altherma hybrid heat pump’s smart programming helps to save up to 35% more energy than a traditional condensing boiler by automatically determining the most economically and energy-efficient operating combination based on energy prices, outdoor temperatures, and indoor heat capacity. Heat pump share The hybrid system’s operating mode can be shifted to more electric heat pump share As well as being quick to install, hybrid systems are designed to look and operate like a conventional boiler system and deliver like-for-like performance and comfort levels. And to give homeowners peace of mind, the heat pump can act as a back-up for the boiler, and vice-versa – meaning they’ll never be caught short. Hybrid systems are best-suited to smaller homes in urban areas, that are likely to have a combi-boiler, and where the shell of the building is not energy-efficient enough to rely on electricity alone. But as the efficiency of the building is improved and upgraded over time, the hybrid system’s operating mode can be shifted to more electric heat pump share. And while there’s a lot of talk about new homes in the renewable heating debate, hybrid technology is ideal for renovations and boiler replacements. Heating system replacements We estimate that there are 1.1 million homes across the country that would be well-served by a hybrid system. That, combined with the benefits of hybrids for both installers and consumers, is why we firmly believe in hybrid heat pumps’ potential to support a faster, easier, and more affordable transition to low carbon heating in this country. Every homeowner who buys a Daikin Altherma hybrid system gets a high-efficiency boiler for free When consumers are looking at heating system replacements, we know that complexity and disruption are barriers to purchase. Fortunately, neither is an issue with hybrids. While hybrid heat pump systems can be installed with a household’s existing boiler, to help increase uptake, we’re running a special offer at the moment whereby every homeowner who buys a Daikin Altherma hybrid system gets a brand-new, high-efficiency boiler for free. Low carbon technology And there’s no need to lose valuable floor space to a hot water cylinder or to make changes to the radiators. Hybrids aren’t just good news for homeowners; they represent a real opportunity for installers, too. At the moment, there are 1,000 heat pump installers in the UK and around 125,000 gas boiler installers. We need to transition these boiler installers towards low carbon technology – not just to drive progress on the road to net zero, but to help their businesses stay relevant and competitive. This year, in partnership with 11 of our Daikin Sustainable Home Centres across the UK, we’re running a free nationwide training program to help installers enter the renewable heating market with hybrid heat pumps. eco-Friendly hybrid solution Reducing electricity prices isn’t enough to encourage people to change the way they heat their homes Installers who complete the day-long course can expand their portfolio and gain the skills to upgrade customers to an eco-friendly hybrid solution. Reducing electricity prices isn’t enough to encourage people to change the way they heat their homes; more needs to be done to make new, clean technologies accessible and appealing. We’re doing what we can to incentivize homeowners – and installers – to embrace the possibilities of a hybrid heat pump system, but a clear funding mechanism from Government is needed as well, specifically to help with the upfront cost of upgrading (free boiler or no free boiler). While the now-closed Green Homes Grant explicitly included hybrid heat pump technology, there’s a big question as to whether the same hybrid solutions will be included in the Clean Heat Grant – the details of which are expected later this year. The answer to that question needs to be ‘yes’.

Renewable Heating Is The Future For Commercial Buildings
Renewable Heating Is The Future For Commercial Buildings

In 2019, the UK became the first major economy in the world to pass laws to end its contribution to global warming by 2050 - a landmark moment on the road to net zero. To meet that target, owners and managers of commercial buildings are increasingly facing more standards, regulations, and legislation to promote carbon reduction. This may pose challenges when it comes to investing in building service technologies, but the net-zero goal also provides an opportunity to embrace new approaches to the design and operation of commercial buildings. Heat commercial buildings When we look at reducing the carbon impact of a building, heating is an important factor to consider. Heating and hot water are significant contributors to a building’s carbon emissions. In fact, they create nearly a third (32%) of the total carbon emissions in the UK. Luckily, the technology to heat commercial buildings in a more energy-efficient, renewable way is already out there - in the form of heat pumps. There is legislation focused on the provision of heat to commercial buildings that need to be considered So, what benefits can heat pumps offer, and how can building managers be sure that they are the right solution for a commercial space? There are already regulations in place to help reach net-zero – from the Climate Change Act in 2008 to the Green Growth Strategy in 2017. More specifically, there is legislation focused on the provision of heat to commercial buildings that need to be considered. Energy efficiency standards Part L of the Building Regulations states that non-domestic buildings should be moving to low-carbon heat sources, the minimum energy efficiency standards means it’s illegal to let any property with an EPC rating of less than band ‘E’, and the Non-Domestic RHI has been extended until 2022, in order to help overcome barriers to investing in renewable heating. There is also growing interest in embodied carbon in commercial buildings, and considering the amount of carbon produced by a building across its whole lifecycle, it’s important to understand the full environmental cost of the extraction, processing, manufacture, delivery, and assembly of every single product or material used. Conventional electric heating The government has already set a target of 600,000 heat pump installations per year by 2030 Needing to consider all of these factors may seem like a lot, but it serves to show that focusing on renewable heating now is the best way to future-proof commercial buildings for years to come. Heat pumps are central to reaching this decarbonized future, with the Carbon Trust finding that heat pumps have the potential to deliver CO2 savings of up to 70% compared to conventional electric heating, and up to 65% compared to an A-rated gas boiler. The government has already set a target of 600,000 heat pump installations per year by 2030, and the Committee on Climate Change estimates that 19 million heat pumps will need to be installed by 2050 to achieve the net-zero goal. Offering renewable heating To reach this goal, uptake needs to maintain momentum. As well as offering renewable heating, heat pumps allow for a reduction in running costs and increased efficiencies, and are increasingly becoming the first choice for building managers planning renovations - because they are designed for both retro-fit and new build, are easy to design and install, and are scalable to work with other systems. In the years since heat pumps first became available, the choice of heat pumps has expanded This means they’re a suitable solution for almost any space, and are even able to work alongside existing heating systems in a hybrid situation if required. A heat pump is an ideal solution for commercial buildings, it’s just a case of finding the right one for the job. In the years since heat pumps first became available, the choice of heat pumps has expanded, and building owners are now able to select exactly the right equipment for a building’s requirements. Combining residential homes For example, heat pumps can now work at higher temperatures, meaning they are a great option for spaces like hotels, hospitals, and leisure centers where there is a high demand for hot water at peak times – removing the need to use a gas boiler. This is also a compelling case for heat pumps in mixed-use buildings – which is a burgeoning space in the UK-built environment. Buildings which combine residential homes and commercial businesses have a wide variety of heating and cooling requirements within the same structure. Traditionally, this is where gas boilers, combined heat and power systems, or electric water heating would have come in. Heat pump installations Modern heat pumps can also be applied in buildings alongside other technologies Now, high-temperature heat pumps – like the 40kW Ecodan QAHV – can deliver hot water up to 90°C, helping businesses increase the efficiency of hot water production while slashing their carbon footprint. Other heat pumps can offer options for a modular approach, so that multiple devices can operate in one system. This means that the multiple-unit system can cascade available units on and off, to meet the required load of a building. It also means heat pump installations are scalable, and can work for a small doctor's surgery through to entire district heating projects. Modern heat pumps can also be applied in buildings alongside other technologies, and boost the renewable element of a project – reducing the requirement for heat energy. Commercial heat pumps Finally, to satisfy these needs without compromising on sustainability and the green imperative would have been challenging, before the advent of commercial heat pumps. Reaching net-zero and moving to renewable technology is now a priority for everyone. For building services professionals, there is a real opportunity to lead the way, and encourage clients to take a new approach to heating and hot water in commercial buildings. The heating equipment we install will be in a building for at least a decade, so installing a heating system based on fossil fuels might risk leaving the building as a ‘stranded asset’ in the future. Making the move to renewable heating will help ensure buildings are meeting efficient and environmental standards for years to come.

vfd