New Legislation Drives Home ACCA Message on Quality Installation
For decades, policy makers have focused federal efficiency programs on lab-tested efficiency ratings that has led consumers to expect highly efficient HVAC systems will save more energy and money. This is the message heard across the nation each time the federal government raises federal efficiency standards.
Despite the decades-long focus on more efficient equipment, however, we know that too many consumers are not getting what they paid for due to installation problems. According to the EPA, more than 40 percent of all HVAC systems are improperly installed in a home. Generally, an improper installation occurs when the equipment isn’t properly sized, the ducts are too small or leaky, or the refrigerant charge is inadequate.
According to a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) study, poorly installed HVAC system will cause most homes to use 30 percent or more energy than they should. This is a growing issue as middle–class families struggle with the rising costs of energy (the average household spends almost $2,000 per year on energy) and equipment costs are on the rise.
Congress has continually focused on increasing equipment efficiency ratings to show their support for a greener future. However, this focus could be changing due to legislation that ACCA has championed!
For several years ACCA has been pushing for the reinstatement of the federal HVAC efficiency tax credits that includes language requiring the systems to be installed properly. This has been an ACCA member priority because we know that poorly installed systems will not operate as efficiently as indicated on their efficiency labels. This fall, ACCA secured a major win by having the Home Energy Savings Act introduced in both the House and Senate. This bipartisan legislation is what ACCA been fighting for on Capitol Hill and gathering support for from environmental groups, state energy officials, and other relevant groups. This legislation will help change the focus from lab-tested efficiency programs to the importance of hiring a quality contractor who will deliver efficiency and comfort for their customers.
The Home Energy Savings Act provides tax incentives through the year 2026 for homeowners to cover part of the cost of upgrading their HVAC systems to more efficient models. This could apply to air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, heat pumps, water heaters, etc. Most important, the Home Energy Savings Act requires energy efficient HVAC equipment to be installed according to ACCA quality installation standards in order to receive the tax credit offered. In fact, the legislation states that systems shall be installed according to the Air Conditioning Contractors of America Quality Installation standards!
The Home Energy Savings Act also increases the tax credit from ten percent to fifteen percent of the cost of efficiency upgrades and raises the lifetime cap on the credit to $1,200 to encourage multiple efficiency projects. These incentives would allow middle-class families to upgrade their home and lower their energy bills while simultaneously providing work for members of the HVAC industry.
This isn’t just an efficiency bill, it’s a workforce bill that would provide more work for ACCA members across the country!
This legislation, which has been years in the making, is a big win for ACCA! Since 2016 we have been leading the charge on focusing on quality installation practices and even hosted HVAC 101 for Congress where we educated congressional staffers about the important role ACCA members play in delivering efficiency. Thanks to the strong support from ACCA members across the country, we finally have it introduced and are pushing for swift passage from Congress!
The response seen from legislators has been very positive and ACCA continues to gather support from members of Congress from both political parties. But, we need your help too. Visit https://acca.mmp2.org/engage/energy-savings and tell your elected officials to support the Home Energy Savings Act!
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