CEE Directory: The Clearinghouse for Residential HVAC

Opportunity

If you were a homeowner or contractor in 2003 looking to replace a central air conditioner or heat pump, you probably based your energy efficiency decision on seasonal energy efficiency ratings—SEER. With only SEER to rely on, CEE members were unable to verify that the equipment they were promoting in their energy efficiency programs was not negatively impacting their summer peak demand. A different measure was needed: EER, or Energy Efficiency Rating, along with an approach to reliably verify equipment performance.


Approach

CEE launched the CEE Directory of Efficient Equipment in the summer of 2004. At first, CEE saw the Directory as a tool for efficiency program administrators who needed to identify and promote HVAC systems with verifiable energy efficiency and peak demand reduction capabilities. During the three years the industry needed to test all the equipment, CEE published the Directory with equipment organized by CEE tier.

The Directory also captured an audience of homeowners and contractors, giving CEE the opportunity to explain key efficiency concepts: how to calculate the size of the system and how to match the coil and condenser units—not to mention the notion of peak demand on the hottest days of the year, and how this impacts cost for all consumers. Visitors to the Directory can find a rebate program in their area and learn more about ENERGY STAR®. As with all good ideas, the scope has far exceeded original intentions.

Today, the Directory catalogues thousands of HVAC systems, gas boilers and furnaces, and gas water heating products that qualify for CEE residential and light commercial initiatives. Access it at www.ceedirectory.org.

Outcome

The Directory has grown into a vital clearinghouse of information.CEE Directory of Efficient Equipment

  • Contractors wishing to sell efficient products use the Directory to identify systems and confidently present independent, verified performance information to homeowners, often in the form of certificates that link to available utility incentives.
  • Distributors, manufacturers, home energy raters, builders, architects, and educators are all drawn to the site as a fast and easy reference point.
  • Homeowners searching for efficient products and credible information on quality installation have a place to turn.

Almost immediately, the CEE HVAC Directory positively impacted the market. By the end of 2004, ENERGY STAR had adopted the Directory as its qualified product list. Manufacturers made compliance their first priority. Consumers logged in and enrolled in member programs. CEE later added a Quality Installation feature to even better support contractors.

What started as a project for efficiency program administrators—a centralized, up-to-date and verified source of central air-conditioner and heat pump performance data—has evolved to become a vital platform that supports increased efficiency throughout the residential HVAC market.

CEE seeks opportunities to create market infrastructure supporting efficiency. The diverse stakeholders in the Directory share a common purpose of promoting more efficient central air-conditioning and heat pump equipment. In turn, CEE embraced the responsibility for creating this comprehensive resource, and in the process, is transforming markets.