Germantown CEO helps develop new HVAC standards

Last updated on April 12th, 2022 at 09:57 pm

Keith Coursin of Desert Aire Corp. has helped develop new energy efficiency standards for the HVAC industry by working with energy conservation groups and other manufacturers.

For the past year, Keith Coursin, president of Desert Aire Corp. in Germantown, has been intimately involved in negotiations between manufacturers of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment and energy efficiency advocates, working to develop new federal energy-saving standards for residential HVAC equipment.


Coursin is chairman of the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), a consortium of HVAC industry manufacturers. Desert Aire designs and builds commercial, industrial and residential dehumidifiers.


The new standards will likely be introduced through new energy legislation later this year or in early 2010. If passed, the new standards on HVAC equipment could save $13 billion in energy costs between 2013, when the new standards take effect, and 2030.


“Because it’s a consensus standard between the industry and energy groups, the DOE (Department of Energy) almost has to accept (the proposed standards),” Coursin said. “The Hill sees it as a win – and they need some victories. And this is a consensus one.”


The proposed standards were developed by the ACHRI, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the Alliance to Save Energy.


The ACHRI has fought court battles against previous energy-saving standards, Coursin said, largely because previous rulings made residential HVAC units more expensive, which resulted in fewer sales.


In recent years, the industry has changed its tact and has worked with energy efficiency advocacy groups to develop new efficiency standards.


“The question we asked ourselves was, ‘How many lawsuits can we afford to take on? Is there a better way to do this?'” Coursin said. “A few years ago, when the energy efficiency groups and industry started talking about this, we realized that we had common goals, and that if they were intelligently applied we could improve efficiency and not cost consumers really large amounts of money.”


Under the agreement, the country would be divided into three different regions, each with their own standards for efficiency. The northern region, the nation’s largest, has the longest heating season, while the south, the second-largest, has a longer cooling season. The southwest, which includes California, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico, also has a longer cooling season, but is much dryer than the larger southern region, Coursin said.


There are also separate standards for new construction and replacement equipment for existing homes, Coursin said. Visit sites like to know more about it.


“This keeps moving the curve (of increasing efficiency) going forward,” he said. “And getting the trailing existing (housing) stock moving forward is important too.”


One important feature of the proposed energy efficiency standards has been a firm timetable, which comes into effect in 2013. By giving manufacturers enough notice, they are able to effectively invest in research and development, product design and any new machinery needed to build more efficient systems, Coursin said.


“By knowing that these will be the standards for this time period, manufacturers can invest for that time period,” he said. “This giving us the time and ability to get (a return on investment) we will be able to drive the costs down.”



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