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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.”

How To Heat Our Homes Without Hurting The Climate
How To Heat Our Homes Without Hurting The Climate

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic is seemingly drawing to a close, living, working and learning at home is set to continue. Under this new normal, home electricity use is expected to double by 2050. Simultaneously, as climate change devastates communities around the world, we are faced with a moral and economic obligation to cut CO2 emissions from houses. Our goal is to build Net Zero houses and we can't get there fast enough. Fossil fuels use in heating systems Many countries continue to rely on coal, oil, or gas to power their heating systems. Continuing to rely on these fossil fuels, to keep us warm through harshening winters and cool throughout intensifying summers, simply adds to CO2 emissions. In fact, households account for 72% of global greenhouse gas emissions and energy-intensive HVAC systems are a core contributor to this. Whether you live in a hot or cold country, the result is the same - unsustainable carbon emissions. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning is the inception point for homes to become sustainable. Sustainable standards in the home Regulation is already driving change in countries like the United Kingdom and the Netherlands It’s crucial that efforts to cut emissions don’t also cut living standards. Turning the heating off and suffering through the cold just isn’t an acceptable solution. The priority should be to cut emissions, not necessarily power consumption. Therefore, the use of clean energy for heating and cooling, as well as heating with ambient heat and heat pumps, could be an effective solution.  Regulation is already driving change in countries like the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. In these countries, fossil fuels are being banned where more sustainable, renewable alternatives are available, chiefly for powering homes. Some countries use other mitigation strategies: in California, for example, all new homes must be fitted with solar panels by law.  Heat pumps popular in Europe As another way to sustainably power homes, heat pumps have already proven extremely popular in Europe, especially in Scandinavian nations. Electricity in these countries is already generated mainly by climate-friendly wind and hydropower. According to calculations by Fraunhofer ISE, heat pump systems in Sweden generate 90% fewer carbon emissions, in comparison to heating systems that rely on natural gas. Electrical vehicle (EV) charging However, renewable generation alone won’t be enough. When the wind isn’t blowing or the sun shining, renewable energy sources can suffer intermittency issues. Sadly, we’re not yet at the point, when all our domestic power needs can depend on renewable energy Electrical vehicle (EV) charging, which is becoming more popular, is a heavy load and expensive to charge at peak times. This can force us to switch back to traditional carbon-based sources when our power needs outstrip supply. Sadly, we’re not yet at the point, when all our domestic power needs can depend on renewable energy. At least, not without assistance from digital technology. Sustainable smart home technology To decisively cut emissions in the home, clean energy must be paired with the use of sustainable smart home technology. IoT-connected sensors and intelligent systems can provide the deep insight that we need to make impactful and responsible energy decisions. Effective energy management is central to efforts to decarbonize our dwellings. A lot of the energy consumed by HVAC is inevitably wasted, either through forgetting to turn it off, when it’s no longer needed, or heating rooms that aren’t occupied for most of the day. Preventing this becomes much easier, once you have visibility and control through smart energy management systems. Smart systems enable efficient renewable energy use Any home can be digitally retrofitted to become more efficient. Once energy is made visible through digital and IoT (Internet of Things), only then it can be measured and analyzed. Consumers are then empowered to make small changes to their consumption habits, to reduce wasted energy and its resulting emissions.  Smart systems can also facilitate more efficient use of renewable energy sources. When all smart systems are interconnected under one platform, AI algorithms can automatically adjust what source the house draws energy from. Combining digital retrofits, energy storage, and management When a home has access to energy storage technology, it can store up excess power generated by renewable sources When a home has access to energy storage technology, it can store up excess power generated by renewable sources, which can be used later, when the power demand is high. This ensures that non-renewable energy sources are only tapped, when absolutely necessary.  By combining digital retrofits, energy storage, and robust AI-powered energy management solutions, we can decarbonize our HVAC systems and our homes. A smart, connected approach to consumption can keep us warm in winter and cool in summer, without impacting the biodiversity around us. Smart homes: Powering change As our homes become fitted with more advanced IoT-connected devices, the ability to effectively manage our homes’ energy needs is indisputable. To keep costs and emissions down, a secure interoperable power management system is crucial, to becoming more sustainable and enhancing our quality of life. Businesses and governments need to ensure that people have the freedom to make sustainable living choices within the home, which don’t undermine living standards.

Seasonal HVAC Preventative Maintenance Tips
Seasonal HVAC Preventative Maintenance Tips

Seasonal transitions are the perfect time to take inventory and inspect a building’s various systems. We’ve been reminded for years that when we set our clocks back, we should also replace the batteries in our smoke detectors. The same thought process can be applied in support of seasonal preventative maintenance for a building’s HVAC system. Now that the cooling season has passed for a large part of the country, it is time to ensure that HVAC systems have been shut down properly for the winter months. A few simple checks and changes help ensure that the HVAC system is able to transition without failure, from the cooling season to the heating season. Enhancing energy efficiency of HVAC systems Home and building owner inspections can go a long way in increasing the energy efficiency of a system or in mitigating a more complex system failure. Taking a few minutes to inspect an HVAC system for irregularities can help keep repair costs and energy waste to a minimum. Here is a short and easy to complete HVAC inspection check list to execute to help maintain the system and ensure it runs in an energy efficient manner as the outdoor temperature begins to fall. Air filters The change of seasons is the perfect time to change out an HVAC system’s air filter The change of seasons is the perfect time to change out an HVAC system’s air filter. Filters are a key point in a building’s HVAC system, helping keep dust, pollen and larger particulate matter out, and potentially saving it from damage. HVAC equipment accounts for 40 percent of energy usage in a building, so any actions that positively affect energy efficiency are impactful. Not only is changing filters easy to do, but it also provides several benefits, such as improved energy efficiency, cost savings and it helps limit unnecessary stress on the HVAC system, by keeping the air entering it as clean as possible. Dirty, unchanged filters are a leading cause of issues with an HVAC system. The bottom line is that an air filter that has not been changed since the summer needs to be replaced. Inspect the HVAC system Now is a good time to walk around and view the entirety of a building’s HVAC system. How does it look? Make sure the system is clean and in good repair. Examine the ducts to ensure they are clean, undamaged and venting properly. If they are dirty or if there is suspicion that they are clogged, a duct cleaning by a professional may be needed. Remove any leaves or sticks that have gathered around the compressors. Clean the coils of any debris with a garden hose. Trim back any trees or bushes, which are in close contact with the unit. Make sure the condenser unit is still level. If it is not, it can impede the flow of refrigerant and oil, thereby leading to costly repairs. Take a look at the HVAC system to make sure there are no leaks, cracks or structural damage. A quick scan around and cleanup of an HVAC system can help it run longer and more efficiently. Inspect the boiler system Inspect the boiler system by looking for signs of old leaks, which can include stains around the boiler Corrosion is often associated with boiler systems. Inspect the boiler system by looking for signs of old leaks, which can include stains around the boiler or warped floorboards under radiators. Also, be on the lookout for water spots on the ceiling that is below the floor with radiant heat pipes. Make note of any corrosion you find throughout the system, including on the radiators, valves and other components. It’s a smart idea to have a professional inspect a boiler system each year, in order to maintain its functionality and ensure it is running safely, and optimally for a long time. Air Leaks An inspection may also reveal air leaks around doors and windows. These small leaks can add up to significant heat loss and energy costs. If sunlight is peeking through the areas around the perimeter of a window, door or skylight, there’s an air gap to be filled. A quick fix with caulking or weather stripping can ensure optimal energy efficiency. Also, inspect window panes for any cracks, as they will need to be replaced. Furthermore, double check that the windows and doors all close and lock properly. If they don’t, there’s an air leak that needs repair, as well. An inspection of doors and windows can keep a house warmer longer, and help keep the furnace from running over time to maintain a building’s ideal temperature. Shut down AC system for the season At the end of the cooling season, it is recommended that the air conditioning side of the HVAC system be shut off. When doing this, take a few minutes to clean the compressor with a brush and vacuum. Cover the unit with an insulated, waterproof cover that completely covers the whole unit. Secure the cover tightly, so it stays in place over the winter. This simple maintenance can help set up the system for success next year, while also maintaining its energy efficiency. Need for proactive system inspections and maintenance It’s important to evaluate a building’s HVAC system every season, as well as maintain its filters It’s important to evaluate a building’s HVAC system every season, as well as maintain its filters and the environment around the system. Being proactive about systems inspections and maintenance is the best way to keep a system running at peak efficiency, saving money and the environment, as well as providing peace of mind. With a few simple actions, home and building owners can keep their HVAC systems in good shape for longer, and be ready to go for the next season ahead. Motili’s predictive analytics improves budgeting accuracy Motili brings contractors, operations teams and the industry’s most advanced property management technology platform together, to assess and complete HVAC work requests, from start to finish. Motili automatically schedules, dispatches, manages and invoices job requests, and its predictive analytics improves budgeting accuracy, by predicting product life cycle. Motili leverages its nationwide network of over 2,000 contractors and 1,000 distribution centers, in order to provide HVAC and hot water services, across the United States of America, to customers both large and small in size.

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