A Look Back, A Look Forward
It’s a new year, and we all like to think that means things will change, but that isn’t always true with the government. Well, at least when it comes to Congress working together and getting along. So, I want to take this space to recap 2022 and look ahead at 2023.
In 2022, ACCA continued to work hard for you and your business to not only survive in this era of bigger government, increased regulatory burdens, and costs—but also potentially thrive as changes in how energy is produced and consumed bring forth exciting new opportunities for HVACR contractors.
Top of the list from 2022 is how we fought for our members to oppose the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), as the law encompassing climate change, healthcare, and tax imposes costs that are set to burden small businesses and their employees. The new law also disadvantages non-union HVACR contractors due to a re-emphasis on prevailing wages that already have been codified.
With that said, some aspects of the IRA contain great opportunities for the HVACR industry—most notably, tax credits, rebates, and other incentives for consumers to transition from heating systems powered by fossil fuels to electric systems. ACCA’s members can receive a substantial boost in business as more people look to them for proper installation, service, and maintenance. Additional incentives include the installation of solar energy systems, an exciting opportunity for ACCA members entering this market.
To help you take advantage of these opportunities, ACCA developed a library of IRA resources that are updated as more information is released on the law. ACCA’s IRA Resources for Contractors are free to our members and provide direction and tools to help business owners attract customers looking to take advantage of these incentives. Check them out here: https://www.acca.org/members/industry/iraresources.
Regional Standards – SEER2
Last year marked the revision of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) regional efficiency standards that went into effect on January 1, 2023. The first transition increased efficiency standards for residential split system air-conditioners and heat pumps.
The second transition is a change to the DOE’s test procedures that produce SEER2, EER2, and HSPF2. The revised heat pump test procedure increases the external static pressure to be more realistic, but that will “reduce” the current rating, and the new rating will be lower.
The new standards for residential split-system air conditioners have different requirements depending on the region of the country. For the north region, non-compliant equipment manufactured prior to January 1 can be sold and installed in 2023. However, for the south and southwest regions, all non-compliant equipment had to be installed prior to January 1. However, if you still have such equipment in your inventory in 2023, you can sell the equipment to a distributor or contractor located in the north region.
In the south and southwest regions, for residential new construction projects that installed indoor units prior to January 1 but had not completed the installation of equipment, outdoor units installed in 2023 must now be >15 SEER or be “transition” compliant and the system must be a registered match. There is no restriction in the north region.
Contractors that install residential systems in the south and southwest regions must maintain records for four years detailing specific model information, the address of the installation, and the name of the purchaser for split-system central air conditioner condensing units, split-system central air conditioner indoor units, and single-package central air conditioners.
ACCA is fighting the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ban on disposable cylinders for hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants, set to go into effect in 2025 and 2027, because it is a costly change for contractors. In December, ACCA filed a lawsuit in conjunction with two other trade associations, Heating Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) and Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC), to overturn the EPA’s ban.
The Year Ahead
ACCA is continuing its fight in 2023, by actively fighting for its members to ensure that common-sense legislation and regulations go on the books. We are lucky to have several strong allies from the trades in the House of Representatives, and now a Senator, Markwayne Mullins, who won his race this past November in Oklahoma.
As members of this vital industry, ACCA calls on you to do your part by visiting with your local, state, and federal representatives to learn what policies and proposals they support and advocate for the skilled trades – especially since workforce is, and has been, our industry’s number one challenge for years and the need for skilled labor is at an all-time high.
For more information on how to help, visit ACCA’s advocacy page at https://www.acca.org/advocacy/government-relations. If you have any questions about getting involved, please reach out to me, I’d love to talk to you about how you can join the fight with ACCA!
- CEO’s Column: It Was a HOT Summer! - September 5, 2023
- CEO’s Column: Stay Ahead of the Competition with Training - August 2, 2023
- Shaping ACCA’s Priorities – Tell Us What You Want Us to Focus On! - June 8, 2023
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