March 16, 2015

Program administrators have realized that addressing home heating and cooling systems in a holistic manner generates key savings opportunities on top of what's gained from efficient equipment. Bringing these insights to the table at CEE resulted in a new CEE Residential Space Heating and Cooling Initiative. This initiative replaced the CEE Residential HVAC Initiative and the CEE Residential Gas Space Heating Initiative on January 15 of this year. 

In addition to ongoing analysis resulting in efficiency specifications for central air conditioners, air-source heat pumps, boilers, and furnaces, the new initiative addresses system effects, such as duct leakage and possible interactions between heating and cooling. The Initiative continues an emphasis on quality installation, and looks at how contractors working in the home can capitalize on efficiency and whole house comfort opportunities.

A Message for HVAC Contractors

HVAC contractors typically work on both heating and cooling. A strong message to this audience in the initiative is that they can, and should, address efficiency opportunities of both systems at the same time. Simply installing a high efficiency 95 percent AFUE furnace will not optimize savings if a home's 30-year old air conditioning and leaky ductwork are ignored.

Programs and the HVAC industry can take advantage of these multiple customer touchpoints to simultaneously address efficiency and whole home comfort. Contractors are the consumer-facing party and “trusted advisor"—a key partner to cultivate.

Unearthing More Opportunity

Consider the efficiency opportunities you may be missing in your residential HVAC or whole house programs. As a gas utility, could you pick up more high efficiency installations by working with the local electric utility to flag old furnaces when they go in to replace the air-conditioning? Could an electric utility gain savings by having the gas utility look at the furnace fan when installing or servicing a furnace? Are you losing claimed savings due to bad installations or problems in the distribution system? These are the types of situations addressed by the new Initiative.

Initiative Participation

Participation in this initiative can be accomplished through supporting one or more of the CEE equipment specifications and Quality Installation or an equivalent approach. Multiple tiers for furnaces, boilers, central air conditioning, and heat pumps, several of which align with ENERGY STAR® or ENERGY STAR® Most Efficient criteria, help you achieve savings appropriate for your area. In return the initiative gives you pathways for approaching contractors with binational approaches that you can customize for your jurisdiction. Through participation, you have access to the HVAC industry due to the strong relationship it has with CEE. You'll also have a peer group as you consider partnering with other utilities, engaging in contractor education and training, or designing home energy audits that go beyond looking only at equipment efficiency.


CEE Directory of Efficient Equipment
The CEE Directory offers efficient gas and electric home and small commercial equipment.

The CEE Directory of Efficient Equipment offers a convenient way for administrators, contractors, and consumers to identify gas and electric equipment by CEE tier.


About CEE
CEE is an award-winning consortium of efficiency program administrators from the United States and Canada. Members work to unify program approaches across jurisdictions to increase the success of efficiency in markets. By joining forces at CEE, individual electric and gas efficiency programs are able to partner not only with each other, but also with other industries, trade associations, and government agencies. Working together, administrators leverage the effect of their ratepayer funding, exchange information on successful practices and, by doing so, achieve greater energy efficiency for the public good.