The Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), as amended by the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPACT), establishes that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) regulate efficiency levels of certain commercial heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) and service water-heating (SWH) equipment categories. Initial minimum efficiency levels for products falling under these categories were established in EPACT, based on the requirements in ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-1989. EPCA requirements state that, if the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (ASHRAE) amends efficiency levels prescribed in Standard 90.1-1989, then DOE must establish an amended uniform national manufacturing standard at the minimum level specified in amended Standard 90.1.

On October 29, 1999, ASHRAE approved the amended Standard 90.1 (Standard 90.1-1999), which increases the minimum efficiency levels for some of the commercial HVAC and SWH equipment covered by EPCA 92. DOE asked Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)2 to conduct a screening analysis to determine the energy-savings potential of the efficiency levels listed in Standard 90.1-1999. The analysis estimated the annual national energy savings and carbon emissions reductions that would result if the EPACT-covered products were required to meet these efficiency levels, and additional energy-savings potential for these products if they exceeded these levels.

From 2004 through 2030, the estimated national energy savings achieved by adopting Standard 90.1-1999 efficiency levels for spacecooling equipment is about 3 quadrillion Btu (quads3). The energy savings potential for space-heating equipment is about 0.5 quad and for water-heating equipment is about 0.06 quad. The cumulative commercial-sector building energy consumption during the same time period is estimated to be 485 quads. The total carbon emissions reduction is about 52 millions of metric tons (MMtons).

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