The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has delivered proposed regulations governing the efficiency of central air conditioning systems and heat pumps to the Federal Register for publication, setting out the department's intention to propose regulatory standards for increasing the seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER, for new central air conditioners and heat pumps by 20% to a 12 SEER. Current law sets that standard at 10 SEER.
If adopted, this proposed rule would substitute for the standard set out in a rule transmitted by the outgoing Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency to the Federal Register on January 16, 2001, four days before the conclusion of President Clinton's term of office, and published on January 22, 2001. That rule would have raised the SEER standard for central air conditioners and heat pumps to 13, a 30% increase. DOE has been reviewing that rule pursuant to President Bush's January 20, 2001, directive concerning regulatory review.