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DOE Investigates Possible Air Conditioner Efficiency Violations

February 15, 2012 - 5:13pm


The Department of Energy’s Office of Enforcement is committed to its compliance enforcement responsibilities with regard to federal energy conservation standards and ensuring that all those subject to the requirements are treated fairly and equally.  Today, the Office of Enforcement issued a series of subpoenas as part of an investigation to determine whether manufacturers of split-system air conditioners are making and distributing in the U.S. condensing units that do not meet the current 13 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) federal energy conservation standard, which has been the standard since 2006.   

The Energy Department has received information suggesting that some manufacturers may be distributing 10 SEER condensing units in the U.S., which do not meet the current 13 SEER standards.  In response, Acting General Counsel Tim Lynch stated, “We are committed to effective enforcement of these energy conservation standards, helping American consumers save money and energy, while encouraging U.S. businesses that are manufacturing more efficient products.  We are not going back to 10 SEER.”

The Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) issued revised guidance clarifying federal requirements regarding the distribution of air conditioner components after a manufacturer files a notice with the Department that they are no longer producing the discontinued model. 

The Office of Enforcement requests that anyone with information about distribution of 10 SEER units in the U.S. promptly notify the Department.  Information may be submitted via email to   The Department has substantial authority to protect the identities of those who provide information in support of enforcement investigations and will take all legal action necessary to ensure the confidentiality of sources. The Department's policy is to protect sources to the maximum extent permitted by law.