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Sponsoring an HVAC Quality Installation Program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is partnering with sponsors around the country to offer the ENERGY STAR HVAC Quality Installation (QI) program, which supports the proper installation of residential heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. This innovative program helps utilities go beyond simple equipment incentives to deliver additional savings by improving HVAC installation procedures.

The QI program helps homeowners identify contractors who install HVAC equipment to the QI guidelines. By purchasing high efficiency equipment and having it properly installed, a homeowner can lower their energy bills, increase comfort, and extend the useful life of the equipment.

The ENERGY STAR QI program requires a local sponsor, such as an electric or gas utility. EPA offers assistance with program design, contractor training and templates for program documents. In addition, EPA also offers marketing support through case studies highlighting program success stories and brochures PDF (1.5MB) that can be co-branded with local sponsors and participating contractors. EPA is also developing free online contractor training sessions to supplement on-site training.

If your utility or organization would like to learn more about how to sponsor an ENERGY STAR Quality Installation program, check the program Fact Sheet PDF (59KB), Sponsor Guide PDF (759KB), and the FAQ PDF (220KB), or contact Chandler von Schrader at EPA: 202-343-9096, vonSchrader.Chandler@epa.gov.

Key Components of ENERGY STAR HVAC Quality Installation

Comprehensive assessment and installation

ENERGY STAR QI programs are managed by local sponsors who recruit HVAC contractors to perform Quality Installations of residential HVAC equipment. Contractors must participate in QI training to ensure technical capabilities and understanding of program requirements.

Before installing new equipment in a home, contractors complete a comprehensive assessment to determine the appropriate equipment size. Contractors then perform the installation in accordance with the Quality Installation guidelines.

The contractor tests the system and makes adjustments as necessary to ensure that each QI requirement is being met. Upon project completion the contractor submits to the program sponsor a commissioning form documenting the equipment specifications and system measurements.

A network of qualified contractors

ENERGY STAR Quality Installation Guidelines are based on the Air Conditioning Contractors of America's (ACCA) HVAC Quality Installation Specification, and are recognized as an American National Standard. Eligible systems include residential retrofit and new construction installations of central air conditioners, air-source heat pumps and furnaces. The four main requirements are:

These industry best practices help ensure that the new equipment is:

  • Correctly sized to meet the home's needs
  • Connected to a well-sealed duct system
  • Operating with sufficient airflow in the system
  • Installed with the proper amount of refrigerant

Independent verification of installations

Quality assurance is an important component of the program and reassures homeowners that participating contractors will be held accountable to the QI standard. To maintain the credibility of the program, program sponsors monitor the quality of work performed by all participating contractors. Key components of monitoring includes the:

  • Reporting process which requires participating contractors to report all completed jobs to the Program Sponsor.
  • Job report review process which ensures program compliance and provides for follow-up with the contractor when necessary.
  • Customer feedback mechanism which allows customers to provide feedback directly to the Program Sponsor.
  • On-site inspection protocols using a two-phase approach.
    • Phase 1: In-field verification on three of the first five installations completed by a contractor who is new to the program.
    • Phase 2: After the first five installations have been successfully completed, at least 5% of the subsequent installations by each contractor require in-field verification.
  • Conflict resolution mechanism which identifies a clear method to respond to and resolve customer complaints.
  • Record keeping and tracking of results from on-site inspections, customer surveys, and corrective actions. Records must be available for review upon request from the ENERGY STAR QI Program.

For more information on sponsoring an ENERGY STAR Quality Installation program, contact Chandler von Schrader at EPA: 202-343-9096, vonSchrader.Chandler@epa.gov.

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