In a recent survey, Emerson asked HVAC contractors and wholesalers about their knowledge of and preparation for increasing federal minimum SEER/IEER efficiency requirements mandated for AC systems and heat pumps by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in January 2023. The survey found that a majority (about 87%) of HVAC professionals are familiar with the regulation changes in 2023 regarding the minimum SEER/IEER central air conditioning and rooftop unit efficiency standards. However, nearly half of respondents (44%) said they have yet to make plans to take action in response to these upcoming regulations.

“We are one year away from these new residential and commercial AC energy efficiency regulations taking effect, as well as alternative refrigerants requirements starting as early as 2025 in California, so it is encouraging to see that a large majority of contractors and wholesalers are becoming more aware of what will be a major change for the industry,” said Jennifer Butsch, director of regulatory affairs, Emerson. “During this time, we recognize that education is a top concern for HVAC contractors and their service people, so as a trusted partner we will continue to provide information and resources for the industry as we work through this transition together.”

According to the survey, more than 60% of respondents said their daily operations had been affected by the standards, yet only about 30% of companies have taken any sort of action to prepare for these changes. In comments provided with the survey, contractors and wholesalers stated that they believe these increasing minimum standards will bring increased costs, changes in equipment and additional training for their companies.

Similar to last year’s survey, when asked about the requirement to begin using lower global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants as early as January 2025, nearly all respondents (93%) were aware of the requirement to begin using lower GWP refrigerants, and most (61%) claim to have at least a basic understanding of the requirements. On the topic of sustainability, nearly all respondents (94%) said sustainability was at least somewhat important to them, and more than half (56%) said it was of significant importance. 

According to the survey, trade publications (53%) and industry organizations (31%) were the top sources of information on regulatory changes. Other sources respondents found helpful included tradeshows such as the AHR Expo, as well as training materials, webinars and influencer channels. Additionally, more than half of the respondents (58%) said they view Emerson as a trusted partner. More than half also said Emerson’s Copeland products utilize the latest technology. Emerson continues to invest in advancing its testing capabilities to deliver solutions that will help meet the demands for more efficient, regulation-ready technologies.