The more efficient your HVAC equipment is, the more energy and money you’ll save each month. For many years, consumers and businesses have embraced Energy Star when deciding on which specific model of equipment to purchase. And now, a new category, aptly titled Energy Star’s Most Efficient, has appeared to take a further step toward highlighting quality and efficiency in energy-using products, upgrades and appliances.
It’s impossible to search for a new piece of HVAC equipment without coming across the Energy Star label at nearly every turn. Even so, many people aren’t sure what Energy Star really is. Developed in 1992 by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), the Energy Star program’s goal was to provide set standards for energy efficiency across the board on a number of products, including all of the main types of HVAC appliances and systems. Any piece of equipment that reaches the required minimum energy efficiency ratings, without sacrificing quality, is adorned with an Energy Star label, making it easy for consumers to identify these products.
The program has been immensely successful since its launch and has been adopted by other countries as the standard to which energy efficiency is measured. A secondary effect has been increased competition among HVAC industry players, as nearly every manufacturer strived to be awarded the Energy Star, aware that doing so would attract more customers to their products, in addition to providing equipment that was better for the environment.
But as they say, no good deed goes unpunished. As time has gone on since Energy Star was created, advances in energy-efficiency technology have made it much easier for manufacturers to build equipment that meets the requirements set forth by the program. Although this initially seemed like a good thing, it has caused confusion and concern among consumers. With nearly every appliance or system now displaying the Energy Star label, it has become increasingly more difficult to identify the highest efficiency HVAC equipment.
With consumers having trouble finding the most efficient HVAC equipment, Energy Star was urged to make changes to its program. Once again, they stepped up to the challenge, and the Most Efficient label was born. As the name implies, this new category includes only the most efficient models that are on the market. In order to be awarded this label, a piece of equipment must meet the highest of energy-efficiency standards. These units are without a doubt the “best of the best” when it comes to efficiency.
This new program began only a few years ago. In the beginning, only a handful of equipment types, whether HVAC equipment or other types of appliances, were eligible. The Most Efficient label did exactly as promised by providing astute home and business owners with a way to identify HVAC equipment that delivered the highest energy efficiency available. Due to the program’s immediate success right out of the gate, more types of equipment have been added each year.
As previously discussed, a piece of HVAC equipment must meet very high requirements in order to earn the Most Efficient label. These guidelines differ from one product to the next, and are designed to ensure the best efficiency at all times no matter what type of equipment you’re installing.
For example, with a new AC for your home, to get a “Most Efficient” product, a system must have high enough SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) and EER (energy efficiency ratio) ratings. For a split-system AC, the SEER must meet a minimum of 18 and an EER of 13. On the other hand, if you want the most energy-efficient packaged AC unit on the market, those systems must meet 18 and 12 SEER and EER, respectively. In addition to these requirements, a central AC unit must utilize a communications system, a thermostat or similar controlling device that features a user interface, a transmittable system status to determine a need for technician service, and automated configuration for ease of use.
This is only one example of how strict the guidelines are for inclusion in the Most Efficienct program. If a manufacturer hopes to have its equipment designated as “Most Efficient,” it will need to work hard for that honor.
For more expert advice when shopping around for the most efficient HVAC equipment, don’t hesitate to contact the knowledgeable professionals at McDevitt Air. We service the needs of Savannah and surrounding communities.