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ENERGY STAR Quality HVAC Installation

Program Development Page

The ENERGY STAR Quality Installation Program ("ESQI") launched in 2008. Since that time, significant changes have occurred in energy efficiency program design and implementation and within the HVAC industry. ENERGY STAR has also learned lessons about what has worked and not worked well within the ESQI program.

Objectives of the program include:

  • Educating homeowners when they are replacing their HVAC system.
  • Building awareness of the importance of quality installation among homeowners when making a purchasing decision.
  • Creating a program with national reach so all households in the U.S. can participate.
  • Enabling HVAC contractors to promote and profit from properly installing HVAC systems. This includes helping them differentiate their business from other contractors who may sell the same equipment but take short cuts when installing those systems.
  • Reducing the amount of wasted energy and associated carbon emissions that result from improper installation of replacement HVAC systems in existing homes.
  • Growing the market for home professionals who can assess and verify HVAC systems.
  • Strengthening industry-based oversight organizations that credential HVAC contractors.
  • Transforming the market and empowering utilities and other program sponsors to cost-effectively incentivize HVAC quality installation practices.

ESQI takes a fairly broad view of quality installation, however, energy efficiency program sponsors across the country view "quality installation" in different ways. Some programs include duct sealing as a required measure. Other sponsors have standalone programs for duct sealing and for the purchase of efficient equipment.

EPA is considering proposing all of the following as ESQI Program Requirements:

  • Installation of ENERGY STAR qualified equipment
  • Proper sizing so that the installed equipment capacity matches the home’s heating / cooling load determined using Manual J
  • Matching indoor and outdoor units
  • Verifying a minimum level of duct tightness
  • Checking for properly charged refrigerant
  • Verifying that system airflow is within acceptable parameters

According to a variety of industry sources and studies, the performance of an HVAC system can be significantly compromised if even one of these measures are not properly addressed.

ENERGY STAR is accepting comments on:

  • The applicability of each of these measures and the energy savings attributable to one or all of them
  • Whether there are certain HVAC system configurations that may make some of the measures less-than-critical to ensure that the HVAC system is properly installed
  • The ability of program sponsors to capture energy savings for one or all of the measures

If would like to provide feedback on the ESQI program, please contact HVACQI@energystar.gov.