With the way the cost of fuel and energy has been ballooning, purchasing high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment has almost become a necessity. Not only is it the environmentally-responsible decision, but it’s the economically-responsible decision as well.
In order to help consumers make the best choices, Canada has launched the EnerGuide program and joined up with the ENERGY STAR program. Both of these initiatives aim to help reduce Canada’s energy consumption as well as our impact on the environment.
The EnerGuide is a rating system that gives consumers a standardized method of comparing the efficiency of different models of heating and air conditioning systems available in Canada. The EnerGuide rating is included in the manufacturer’s product information, and is often found on a label right on the product. It identifies the energy performance rating of air-to-air heat pumps, gas, propane and oil furnaces, and central and ductless air conditioning systems.
EnerGuide labels for air conditioners and heat pumps display the model’s seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER. The rule of thumb to remember is the higher the rating, the more efficient the product. The same goes for gas and oil-fired furnaces, which have their energy-efficiency expressed as their annual fuel utilization efficiency, or AFUE. The higher the better once again. The EnerGuide label also illustrates where each particular product is compared to the most efficient and least efficient models in its range.
One of the easiest ways to tell if a product you’re looking at is a high-efficiency model is to look for the blue ENERGY STAR symbol. This symbol will only appear on products that meet ENERGY STAR’s efficiency criteria, which for air conditioners and heat pumps is a SEER of at least 14.5, and for furnaces is an AFUE of at least 94.0.
It’s important to remember that high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment is the optimal long-term investment. Higher-efficiency units may have a higher price tag upfront, but that will more than even out as this equipment will significantly lower your energy costs.
An HVAC professional can help you determine how the EnerGuide and ENERGY STAR programs can best meet your household’s needs.
For more information on EnerGuide visit www.oee.nrcan.gc.ca/energuide. For more information on Canada’s ENERGY STAR Program, visit the website of Natural Resources Canada at www.energystar.nrcan.gc.ca or call the Office of Energy Efficiency at 1-800-387-2000.