Alliance to Save Energy Urges Bush Administration To 'Choose Arsenic Approach' on Air Conditioner Standards | Alliance to Save Energy

Alliance to Save Energy Urges Bush Administration To 'Choose Arsenic Approach' on Air Conditioner Standards

Release Date: Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Alliance to Save Energy President David M. Nemtzow urges the Bush Administration to "choose science over special interests" when setting environmental and energy regulations, such as air conditioner standards, much as they just did on arsenic levels in drinking water.

Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wrote to the Department of Energy (DOE) disputing key assumptions of the Department's proposal to roll back and weaken Clinton administration energy efficiency standards for residential central air conditioners and heat pumps. EPA accused DOE of "misinformation," saying the Department significantly understated potential energy savings while exaggerating the impact on industry. The Clinton administration had set a 30 percent improvement in air conditioning standards (a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, or SEER, of 13), while the Bush Administration proposes a rollback to 12 SEER, which would lose about half the benefits of SEER 13, including energy savings and peak electric demand.

"EPA deserves credit for examining the facts and doing what is right on air conditioner efficiency standards," Nemtzow said. "The Energy Department should also 'see the light' and keep the 30 percent improvement in air conditioner standards. If the Administration can do it for drinking water, they can do it for energy efficiency – and give Americans lower energy bills, cleaner air, and a more reliable electricity system."

SEER 13 air conditioners are "technically feasible and economically justified," Nemtzow said, pointing out that no new technology is involved, all major manufacturers have sold SEER 13 equipment for years, and the added cost of about $100 on a typical $2,500 air conditioning job, according to DOE estimates, is quickly paid back in energy savings.