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Sponsoring an ENERGY STAR Verified HVAC Installation (ESVI) Program

Utilities are increasingly looking to offer energy efficiency programs to meet regulatory obligations, reduce peak demand, and contribute to environmental protection. Voluntary partnerships are an important pathway for meeting these goals because energy efficiency delivers an impressive value proposition to both consumers and businesses. ENERGY STAR, the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency recognized by more than 89% of American households, provides a powerful platform for utilities implementing demand side management programs.

Many utilities have prescriptive rebate programs that offer incentives for high efficient HVAC equipment. But nearly half of all heating and cooling equipment in U.S. homes never performs to its advertised capacity and efficiency due to poor design and incorrect installation. This means homeowners pay higher operating costs over the life of the equipment and utilities may not be realizing their deemed energy savings they had anticipated.

The ENERGY STAR Verified HVAC Installation Program (“ESVI”) offers utilities a platform to expand their residential energy efficiency programs beyond providing rebates and incentives for HVAC equipment. Utilities will not only have higher confidence that estimated savings based on efficient equipment will be achieved, but can also claim savings based on the verification of proper:

  • System airflow
  • Equipment sizing
  • ENERGY STAR equipment that is matched
  • Refrigerant charge
  • Duct performance

ENERGY STAR has designed the ESVI Program to help utilities cost-effectively deliver energy savings through third party verification of the quality installation of HVAC equipment. Utilities benefit by:

  • Being able to more quickly design and launch programs
  • Being able to offer more cost-effective upstream incentives
  • Having access to ENERGY STAR marketing and technical resources including:
  • Facilitating market transformation, including supporting local businesses

The Impact of Quality Installation on HVAC Efficiency and Energy Savings

Figure 1 illustrates the potential losses in efficiency when equipment is not installed correctly.

Systems not designed, installed, and verified to meet these quality installation standards may not operate as designed or deliver their rated efficiencies.

Fig. 1: Rated SEER vs. Field Adjusted SEER

Rated SEER vs. Field Adjusted SEER

A system not designed and installed to meet quality installation standards will not preform to the OEM rated efficiency. The impact of each of these elements varies for each installation and multiple “faults” are additive, but in all cases the end result is a system that under performs.

The ESVI Program requires that HVAC system installations are verified to meet quality installation standards. These requirements are based on the ANSI / ACCA Standard 5, ensuring that equipment is:

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

For more information about incorporating the ENERGY STAR Verified HVAC Installation Program into your utility portfolio, download the ESVI Sponsor Guide PDF (822KB) and please contact esvi@energystar.gov.