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Small, Large, and Very Large Commercial Package Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps

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The Department of Energy (DOE) regulates the energy efficiency of small, large, and very large commercial package air conditioners and heat pumps. Commercial air conditioners and heat pumps are air-cooled, water-cooled, evaporatively-cooled, or water source unitary air conditioners or heat pumps that are used for space conditioning of commercial and industrial buildings.

The standards implemented in 2010 for small and large, air-cooled commercial package air conditioners and heat pumps, and SPVUs, will save approximately 1.7 quads of energy and result in approximately $28.9 billion in energy bill savings for products shipped from 2010-2034. These standards will avoid about 90.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of 31.1 million automobiles. The standard implemented in 2010 for very large, air-cooled commercial package air conditioners and heat pumps will save approximately 0.43 quads of energy and result in approximately $4.3 billion in energy bill savings for products shipped from 2010-2034. The standard will avoid about 22.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of 4.4 million automobiles.

Single-package vertical units (SPVUs), package terminal air conditioners (PTACs), computer room air conditioners (CRACs), and variable refrigerant flow systems (VRFs) have their own webpages where you can find information about those products’ standards and test procedures.


Recent Updates | Standards | Test Procedures | Waiver, Exception, and Exemption Information | Statutory Authority | Historical Information | Contact Information


Recent Updates

DOE has published a notice of reopening of the public comment period regarding energy conservation standards for small, large, and very large air-cooled commercial package air conditioning and heating equipment. 79 FR 71710(December 3, 2014). The comment deadline is extended to December 22, 2014. For more information, please see the rulemaking webpage.

DOE has published a Federal Register notice of proposed rulemaking energy conservation standards for small, large, and very large air-cooled commercial package air conditioning and heating equipment. A public meeting was held on Thursday, November 6, 2014. 79 FR 58948 (September 30, 2014). For more information, please see the rulemaking webpage.


Standards for Small, Large, and Very Large Commercial Package Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps

The following content summarizes energy conservation standards for commercial package air conditioners and heat pumps. The text is not an official reproduction of the Code of Federal Regulations and should not be used for legal research or citation.

Current Standard

For the purposes of this regulation, standards cover air-cooled, evaporatively cooled, and water-cooled and water source commercial packaged air conditioners and heat pumps including variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems.

Commercial package air conditioners and heat pumps manufactured and distributed in commerce, as defined by 42 U.S.C. 6291 (16), must meet the energy conservation standards specified in the Code of Federal Regulations, 10 CFR 431.97. Compliance dates and minimum efficiencies are found in the following tables.

Table 1. Minimum Cooling Efficiency Levels for Commercial Package Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps (including Variable Refrigerant Flow Systems)
Equipment Type Cooling Capacity Sub-Category Heating Type Efficiency Level Compliance Date
Small Commercial Packaged Air-Conditioning and Heating Equipment (Air-Cooled, 3 Phase) <65,000 Btu/h AC All SEER = 13 6/16/2008
HP All SEER = 13 6/16/2008
Small Commercial Packaged Air-Conditioning and Heating Equipment (Air-Cooled) greater than equal to sign 65,000 Btu/h and <135,000 Btu/h AC No Heating or Electric Resistance Heating EER = 11.2 1/1/2010
All Other Types of Heating EER = 11.0 1/1/2010
HP No Heating or Electric Resistance Heating EER = 11.0 1/1/2010
All Other Types of Heating EER = 10.8 1/1/2010
Large Commercial Packaged Air-Conditioning and Heating Equipment (Air-Cooled) greater than equal to sign 135,000 Btu/h and <240,000 Btu/h AC No Heating or Electric Resistance Heating EER = 11.0 1/1/2010
All Other Types of Heating EER = 10.8 1/1/2010
HP No Heating or Electric Resistance Heating EER = 10.6 1/1/2010
All Other Types of Heating EER = 10.4 1/1/2010
Very Large Commercial Packaged Air-Conditioning and Heating Equipment (Air-Cooled) greater than equal to sign 240,000 Btu/h and <760,000 Btu/h AC No Heating or Electric Resistance Heating EER = 10.0 1/1/2010
All Other Types of Heating EER = 9.8 1/1/2010
HP No Heating or Electric Resistance Heating EER = 9.5 1/1/2010
All Other Types of Heating EER = 9.3 1/1/2010
Small Commercial Packaged Air-Conditioning and Heating Equipment (Water-Cooled, Evaporatively-Cooled, and Water-Source) <17,000 Btu/h AC All EER = 12.1 10/29/2003
HP All EER = 11.2 10/29/2003
greater than equal to sign 17,000 and <65,000 AC All EER = 12.1 10/29/2003
HP All EER = 12.0 10/29/2003
greater than equal to sign 65,000 Btu/h and <135,000 Btu/h AC No Heating or Electric Resistance Heating EER = 11.5 10/29/2003
All Other Types of Heating EER = 11.3 10/29/2003
HP All EER = 12.0 10/29/2003
Large Commercial Packaged Air-Conditioning and Heating Equipment (Water-Cooled, Evaporatively-Cooled, and Water-Source) greater than equal to sign 135,000 Btu/h and <240,000 Btu/h AC All EER = 11.0 10/29/2004
HP All EER = 11.0 10/29/2004
Very Large Commercial Packaged Air-Conditioning and Heating Equipment (Water-Cooled, Evaporatively-Cooled, and Water-Source) greater than equal to sign 240,000 Btu/h and <760,000 Btu/h AC No Heating or Electric Resistance Heating EER = 11.0 1/10/2011
All Other Types of Heating EER = 10.8 1/10/2011
HP No Heating or Electric Resistance Heating EER = 11.0 1/10/2011
All Other Types of Heating EER = 10.8 1/10/2011
Table 2. Minimum Heating Efficiency Levels for Commercial Package Heat Pumps (including Variable Refrigerant Flow Systems)
Equipment Type Cooling Capacity Efficiency Level Compliance Date
Small Commercial Packaged Air-Conditioning and Heating Equipment (Air-Cooled, 3 Phase) <65,000 Btu/h HSPF = 7.7 6/16/2008
Small Commercial Packaged Air-Conditioning and Heating Equipment (Air-Cooled) greater than equal to sign 65,000 Btu/h and <135,000 Btu/h COP = 3.3 1/1/2010
Large Commercial Packaged Air-Conditioning and Heating Equipment (Air-Cooled) greater than equal to sign 135,000 Btu/h and <240,000 Btu/h COP = 3.2 1/1/2010
Very Large Commercial Packaged Air-Conditioning and Heating Equipment (Air-Cooled) greater than equal to sign 240,000 Btu/h and <760,000 Btu/h COP = 3.2 1/1/2010
Small Commercial Packaged Air-Conditioning and Heating Equipment (Water-Source) <135,000 Btu/h COP = 4.2 10/29/2003

For further guidance or to submit questions related to the implementation of this standard, visit the Guidance and Frequently Asked Questions page.

Amended Standards

On May 16, 2012, DOE published a final rule that amended energy conservation standards for water-cooled and evaporatively-cooled commercial package air-conditioning and heating equipment and established new standards for certain variable refrigerant flow multi-split air conditioners and heat pumps.

Table 3. Amended Energy Conservation Standards for Water-Cooled and Evaporatively-Cooled Commercial Packaged Air-Conditioning and Heating Equipment
Product Cooling Capacity Heating Type Efficiency Level Compliance Date
Small Commercial Package Air-Conditioning and Heating Equipment (Water-Cooled) greater than equal to sign 65,000 and <135,000 Btu/h No Heating or Electric Resistance Heating EER = 12.1 6/1/2013
All Other Types of Heating EER = 11.9 6/1/2013
Large Commercial Package Air-Conditioning and Heating Equipment (Water-Cooled) =135,000 and <240,000 Btu/h No Heating or Electric Resistance Heating EER = 12.5 6/1/2014
All Other Types of Heating EER = 12.3 6/1/2014
Very Large Commercial Package Air-Conditioning and Heating Equipment (Water-Cooled) greater than equal to sign 240,000 and <760,000 Btu/h No Heating or Electric Resistance Heating EER = 12.4 6/1/2014
All Other Types of Heating EER = 12.2 6/1/2014
Small Commercial Package Air-Conditioning and Heating Equipment (Evaporatively-Cooled) greater than equal to sign 65,000 and <135,000 Btu/h No Heating or Electric Resistance Heating EER = 12.1 6/1/2013
All Other Types of Heating EER = 11.9 6/1/2013
Large Commercial Package Air-Conditioning and Heating Equipment (Evaporatively-Cooled) greater than equal to sign 135,000 and <240,000 Btu/h No Heating or Electric Resistance Heating EER = 12.0 6/1/2014
All Other Types of Heating EER = 11.8 6/1/2014
Very Large Commercial Package Air-Conditioning and Heating Equipment (Evaporatively-Cooled) =240,000 and <760,000 Btu/h No Heating or Electric Resistance Heating EER = 11.9 6/1/2014
All Other Types of Heating EER = 11.7 6/1/2014
Table 4. Energy Conservation Standards for Variable Refrigerant Flow Multi-Split Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps*
Equipment Type Cooling Capacity Heating Type Efficiency Level Compliance Date
VRF Multi-Split Air Conditioners (Air-cooled) <65,000 Btu/h All SEER = 13.0 6/16/2008
greater than equal to sign65,000 Btu/h and
< 135,000 Btu/h
No Heating or Electric Resistance Heating EER = 11.2 1/1/2010
All Other Types of Heating EER = 11.0 1/1/2010
greater than equal to sign 135,000 Btu/h and < 240,000 Btu/h No Heating or Electric Resistance Heating EER = 11.0 1/1/2010
All Other Types of Heating EER =10.8 1/1/2010
greater than equal to sign 240,000 Btu/h and < 760,000 Btu/h No Heating or Electric Resistance Heating EER = 10.0 1/1/2010
All Other Types of Heating EER = 9.8 1/1/2010
VRF Multi-Split Heat Pumps (Air-Cooled) <65,000 Btu/h All SEER = 13.0
HSPF = 7.7
6/16/2008
greater than equal to sign 65,000 Btu/h and < 135,000 Btu/h No Heating or Electric Resistance Heating EER = 11.0
COP = 3.3
1/1/2010
All Other Types of Heating EER = 10.8
COP = 3.3
1/1/2010
greater than equal to sign 135,000 Btu/h and < 240,000 Btu/h No Heating or Electric Resistance Heating EER = 10.6
COP = 3.2
1/1/2010
All Other Types of Heating EER = 10.4
COP = 3.2
1/1/2010
greater than equal to sign 240,000 Btu/h and
< 760,000 Btu/h
No Heating or Electric Resistance Heating EER = 9.5
COP = 3.2
1/1/2010
All Other Types of Heating EER = 9.3
COP = 3.2
1/1/2010
VRF Multi-Split Heat Pumps (Water-Source) <17,000 Btu/h Without Heat Recovery EER = 12.0
COP = 4.2
10/29/2012
(EER Level)
10/29/2003
(COP Level)
With Heat Recovery EER = 11.8
COP = 4.2
10/29/2012
(EER Level)
10/29/2003
(COP level)
greater than equal to sign 17,000 Btu/h and
< 65,000 Btu/h
All EER =12.0
COP = 4.2
10/29/2013
greater than equal to sign 65,000 Btu/h and
<135,000 Btu/h
All EER = 12.0
COP = 4.2
10/29/2013
greater than equal to sign 135,000 Btu/h and
< 760,000 Btu/h
Without Heat Recovery EER = 10.0
COP = 3.9
10/29/2013
With Heat Recovery EER = 9.8
COP = 3.9
10/29/2013

*Variable Refrigerant Flow Equipment were previously covered under the broader classes of small, large, and very large commercial package air conditioning equipment before being distinguished as separate equipment classes in the May 16, 2012 final rule. 77 FR 28991.

Test Procedure for Small, Large, and Very Large Commercial Package Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps

Current Test Procedure

To determine compliance with DOE standards, manufacturers must follow the test procedures specified at 10 CFR 431.96 for commercial package air conditioners and heat pumps manufactured or distributed into commerce on or after January 8, 2007. These are also in the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.

  • Final Rule: Test Procedures, Federal Register, 71 FR 71340 (Dec. 8, 2006)
  • Docket No. EERE-2006-TP-0121 contains all notices, public comments, public meeting transcripts, and supporting documents.
  • Final Rule: Test Procedures, Federal Register, 77 FR 28928 (May 16, 2012) (This rule contained test procedures for products in addition to those in the 2006 rule.)
  • Docket No. EERE-2011-BT-STD-0029 contains all notices, public comments, public meeting transcripts, and supporting documents.

For further guidance or to submit questions related to the implementation of this test procedure, visit the Guidance and Frequently Asked Questions page.

Waivers, Exceptions, and Exemptions

Waivers

Test procedure waivers have been issued for commercial central air conditioners and heat pumps. For more information, see the Waivers webpage.

For information about obtaining test procedure waivers, see 10 CFR section 431 subpart V.

Exceptions

DOE's Office of Hearings and Appeals has not authorized exception relief for commercial central air conditioners and heat pumps.

For information about obtaining exception relief, see 10 CFR part 1003.

State Exemptions to Federal Pre-emption

DOE has not exempted any state from this energy conservation standard. States may petition DOE to exempt a state regulation from preemption by the Federal energy conservation standard. States may also petition DOE to withdraw such exemptions. For details, see 10 CFR 431 subpart V or subpart W.

Statutory Authority

The current energy conservation standards for commercial package air conditioners and heat pumps are mandated by Part A–1, the "Certain Industrial Equipment" of Title III of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), as amended. (42 U.S.C. 6311–6317). This equipment is treated as covered equipment under Part A-1. (42 U.S.C. 6311(1)(B),(C),and (D) )

Historical Information

The Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPACT 1992) established standards for small and large classes of commercial package air conditioning and heating equipment. DOE subsequently updated the standards for small and large water-cooled and evaporatively-cooled commercial package air conditioning and heating equipment to be equal to the levels in ASHRAE 90.1-1999. 66 FR 3336 (Jan. 12, 2001).

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005) amended standards for small and large air-cooled commercial package air conditioning and heating equipment and set new standards for very large air-cooled air conditioning and heating equipment. DOE codified these standards on October 18, 2005. 70 FR 60407.

The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, amended the efficiency levels for small commercial air-cooled 3-phase air conditioners and heat pumps with a cooling capacity less than 65,000 Btu/h.

On July 22, 2009, DOE adopted amended energy conservation standards for very large water-cooled and evaporatively-cooled air conditioners and heat pumps, which were the same as the efficiency levels in ASHRAE 90.1-2007. 74 FR 36312.

On December 8, 2006, DOE adopted all the current test procedures specified by ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2004. 71 FR 71340.

On May 16, 2012, DOE adopted the most recent industry test procedure for small, large, and very large commercial package air conditioning and heating equipment and adopted a test method for variable refrigerant flow commercial air conditioning and heating equipment. DOE also adopted amended energy conservation standards for small, large, and very large evaporatively-cooled and water-cooled commercial package air conditioners and heating equipment while creating separate equipment classes for variable refrigerant flow commercial air conditioners and heating equipment. 77 FR 28928.

Previous Standards

2009 Final Rule for Very Large Equipment

EISA Prescribed Standards

EPAct 2005 Prescribed Standards

2004 ANOPR

2001 Final Rule

Helpful Links and Contact Information

Helpful Links

Find tips and guidance for making your home, workplace, or vehicle more energy efficient visit EnergySavers.gov.

DOE supports the testing and verification of ENERGY STAR® products in close collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency. ENERGY STAR qualified light commercial heating and cooling products can save your business approximately $1.70 per square foot over the life of the equipment.

Contact information

For more information related to the regulation of this product, please email:


commercial_package_ac_heating_equipment@ee.doe.gov