Commercial Heat Pumps & Packaged Air Conditioners – New Requirements

commercial heat pumps doe requirements may cause challenges

On January 1, 2023, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) new minimum efficiency standards for commercial heat pumps and (HPs) and packaged air conditioners (ACs) went into effect. These new regulations are part of the DOE’s ongoing initiative to reduce overall energy consumption in the United States. These changes introduce new challenges and complexities.

As product demand continues to grow, supply chain disruptions, along with the regulatory changes, will create ongoing pressure and longer lead times.

After two years of chaos, one would think that the supply chain would be fixed by now. But many common parts have a 45-day lead time and heavy commercial equipment can have extremely long lead times – as long as or exceeding 52 weeks.

The key to minimizing disruption while keeping your building occupants comfortable is to detect small problems before they become big problems. Keep up on planned maintenance. If you plan to replace your HVAC equipment within the next year, the time to order it is now.

We can help you prepare a commercial HVAC maintenance plan or establish a service contract if you don’t already have one.  Contact us to schedule an appointment.

More About the DOE HVAC Requirements

HVAC manufacturers must comply with a new testing procedure for developing efficiency ratings.

Every six years the DOE evaluates the effects of energy usage and sets minimum efficiency requirements and testing standards. The DOE started the first phase of a six-year plan in 2018, requiring a 13% increase in energy efficiency for commercial packaged air conditioners, heat pumps, and split systems. This year begins the second phase of the plan requiring a 15% energy increase from the prior standard.

All commercial air conditioning and heat pump equipment from 65,000 btu/h to 760,000 btu/h require an additional 15% efficiency increase from the existing ratings set in 2018. Combined with the efficiency requirements implemented in 2018 this will result in a 30% increase over six years.

Additionally, all gas-fired commercial air conditioners are required to meet an 81% gas efficiency rating.

In 2023, there will not be any changes to the testing procedures mandated for commercial air conditioners and heat pumps greater than 65,000 btu/h.

Single-phase commercial and residential products, 5 tons or less are required to comply with a new testing procedure for developing efficiency ratings. The external static pressure used when testing will be increased by up to 5X to better reflect field conditions as compared to the prior procedure. 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.