LAS VEGAS, NEV., Jan. 23, 2006 – A new era for the United States HVAC industry is beginning as the U.S. Department of Energy raises its minimum energy efficiency standards for residential air conditioners and heat pumps. As this government mandate goes into effect this week, nearly 6,000 Carrier dealers from throughout the country are gathering in Las Vegas, Nev., for the Carrier National Dealer Convention. Carrier Corporation is a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).
"Expert dealers are the direct connection to our consumers," said Halsey Cook, president, Carrier Residential and Light Commercial, North America, "so it's important to educate and support our Carrier dealers during this transition, so they can best serve the heating and cooling needs of the residents, business owners and builders in their communities."
As the leader in the heating and air conditioning industry, Carrier is offering the most comprehensive line of products to meet the new efficiency requirements while supporting its dealers throughout the transition.
The energy efficiency of air conditioners and heat pumps is measured in SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio), much like an automobile�s fuel efficiency is gauged by miles per gallon. On January 23, the minimum efficiency standard increases from 10 SEER to 13 SEER. Manufacturers can now only produce 13 SEER or higher units, although dealers may continue to install and service older units with a lower SEER level, and homeowners are under no obligation to replace their existing units.
13 SEER represents a 30 percent increase over the current standard. With about half of all energy used in the average home now being spent on heating and cooling, replacing a less efficient unit with a new 13 SEER unit will save significant amounts of energy and reduce monthly utility bills.
"For consumers, upgrading to a 13 SEER unit is an expense that will be repaid many times over in lower heating and cooling bills," said Cook. "It's also a move that helps preserve our environment by reducing energy consumption. The U.S. Department of Energy estimated that by 2030, the change to 13 SEER will avoid carbon dioxide gas emissions equivalent to removing 3 million cars from our roadways each year."
For homebuilders, dealers and technicians, 13 SEER units will bring some changes to the way they do business. Because 13 SEER units are larger than their 10 SEER counterparts, dealers may need to re-evaluate warehouse space to accommodate current inventory levels or adjust delivery schedules. Carrier will offer education and training materials to dealers on revised installation procedures for 13 SEER systems. The Company also is exploring unit modifications (such as side panels for compressor access) to simplify service of the larger units.
The 13 SEER change also gives dealers an opportunity to market system upgrades aggressively as a way to address energy availability and cost concerns.
"While homeowners can continue to use their current systems even after January 23, replacing an older system that often needs repair with a new 13 SEER unit is a very wise investment," said Cook. "Our dealers can make a compelling case to homeowners on that basis."
As 13 SEER units become the minimum standard, the higher energy efficiency minimum will likely lead to a shift in industry focus as dealers and consumers seek new features and benefits from their HVAC systems.
"Energy efficiency will always be a critical issue and a priority for Carrier," said Cook. "As more consumers begin to reap the rewards of 13 SEER, though, they're bound to ask, 'What's next?' That's why Carrier is continually pushing the envelope of product innovation, to concentrate on areas such as indoor air quality, comfort zoning and even remote system controls through our Infinity system."
Carrier already is ahead of the next regulatory change on the horizon – the phaseout of R-22 refrigerants. As of 2010, the industry will be required to use a refrigerant that eliminates ozone-depleting hydroflurocarbons. Carrier�s industry-leading R-410A product, Puron® Refrigerant, contains no ozone-depleting substances and has been available since 1996.
"Carrier is proud to be leading the industry in the 13 SEER upgrade and the R-22 phaseout. We have offered an environmentally sound product, Puron Refrigerant, for the past decade, and it's currently available in our existing 13 SEER systems," said Cook.
Carrier Corporation is the world's largest manufacturer of heating, air conditioning and refrigeration systems and equipment. It is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation (NYSE:UTX), provider of a broad range of high–technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.
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