This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

April 02, 2004

DOE Will Enforce 13 SEER Air Conditioner Standard

DOE announced on April 2nd that it will enforce a seasonal energy efficiency rating (SEER) standard of 13 for residential central air conditioners. This standard, which will apply to central air conditioners starting in January 2006, represents a 30 percent increase in energy efficiency compared to the 10 SEER standard that applies to models sold today. DOE had promulgated a 12 SEER standard in 2002, but earlier this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the department had done so improperly.

"At this point, all parties have had their day in court," Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Garman said. "In the interest of giving consumers and industry the regulatory certainty they need, it is time for the government and for private parties to stop litigating, and start working towards complying with the 13 SEER standard." See the DOE press release.

The air conditioner manufacturing industry had challenged the 13 SEER, which DOE had originally issued in January 2001, but recently withdrew its challenge. "A lot has changed in three years," said Geraud Darnis, president of Carrier Corporation, in a March 12th press release. "Given the choice between 10 SEER and 13 SEER, we think the industry should support higher efficiency." See the Carrier press release.