Combined shipments of 892,640 central air conditioners and air-source heat pumps for July were up 21% compared to the same month last year, according to the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI). Heat pump shipments of 203,542 were also up 8% compared to July 2004. Total shipments of 5,063,207 units for the first seven months of 2005 are equal to those from last year.
ARI also reported that for the month of July, factory stocks were down 158,741 units compared to June. Distributor inventories were down 116,084 units from July 2004. However, distributor shipments were up 28% from the same time last year, with year-to-date shipments up 5%.
In other news, President Bush recently signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005. It contained three consensus agreements between the ARI and several other industry groups establishing national minimum efficiency standards on certain kinds of equipment that will save energy and protect the environment: commercial package air conditioning, commercial refrigeration and automatic commercial ice-making.
The terms of the agreements, enacted into law through the energy bill, involves national minimum efficiency standards that will be effective on Jan. 1, 2010 and will avoid the need for 27 new 300 megawatt power plants. This law sets new, more stringent standards for packaged air conditioners and heat pumps (from 65,000 Btu/hour up to 240,000 Btu/hour cooling capacity) that are used in many commercial buildings, a 26% improvement.
In addition, the law will extend the federal standards programs for the first time to:
- large package commercial air conditioners and heat pumps.
- commercial refrigerators, freezers and refrigerator freezers used in restaurants, convenience stores, grocery stores and other commercial buildings.
- automatic commercial icemakers.
ARI president William G. Sutton supported the enactment into federal law and said it enables manufacturers “to research and develop new models for 2010 that will meet both the new efficiency standards and EPA regulations to phase-out the use of HCFC refrigerants that can deplete the ozone layer.”