The U.S. Department of Energy today released energy efficiency standards for new rooftop air conditioners, heat pumps, and furnaces that heat and cool more than half of America’s commercial floor space. Together, they represent the largest energy and pollution savings of any rules issued by the agency since the standards program began in 1987.
The energy efficiency standards--which will cover new rooftop units (RTUs) found on low-rise buildings like hospitals, schools, and big box stores--will save nearly enough energy over the next 30 years to offset the annual carbon dioxide emissions of more than 120 million homes. The standards are the result of negotiations among a broad group of stakeholders that included manufacturers, utilities, and consumer and environmental organizations including the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Rhea Suh, president of NRDC, made the following statement today:
“These groundbreaking standards will yield the greatest single amount of energy savings of any rule ever issued by the Department of Energy. They will save about the same amount of energy as all the coal burned in the U.S. to generate electricity in a year - a huge reduction in carbon pollution. And like in Paris, when the community of nations made history by banding together to fight climate change, these historic efficiency standards were the result of an accord reached by stakeholders who set aside their competing interests for the common good.
“These are very, very promising days in the global fight to slow, stop and reverse climate change, the central environmental challenge of our time.”