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4 comments

Are Regional Standards the Right Solution for HVAC?

Posted July 13, 2011 6:00 AM

The U.S. Department of Energy has established the first-ever regional standards for central air conditioners and furnaces, requiring significantly noticeable decreases in energy use. How do you feel about these new requirements? Is it a step in the right direction, or will the new regulations create undue hardship in the industry? Is there a better way than government action to increase efficiency?

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#1

Re: Are Regional Standards the Right Solution for HVAC?

07/14/2011 6:58 AM

When there is no economic benefit for innovation, government intervention can sometimes be a good thing. (I can't believe I just wrote that!) The best example I can think of is automobile fuel efficiency. The technical potential for more efficient engines existed in the early '70's, but no manufacturer would be the first to spend millions in research when there was no market for such a thing. Once the government mandated higher fuel economy, then all the players had to either invest themselves or buy someone else's research, but all had to act together, so there was no economic disadvantage to any one manufacturer. The problem comes in when government starts to believe that it was bureaucracy that created the new product or process. "We need cars that get 1000 miles to a gallon!" Except the technical potential just isn't there, no matter how many bills you pass.

Now apply this concept to HVAC. Again, no manufacturer is going to be the first to invest without a clearly recognized market. If innovation is needed (and defining THAT is a topic on its own), the government is going to have to mandate it so that everyone's in the same boat. The first question to ask, though, is, "Does the technical potential exist?" Beats me; I'm a controls guy. A bunch of Carrier folks work just up the street from me, and they might have some clever ideas just waiting for research money.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Are Regional Standards the Right Solution for HVAC?

07/14/2011 4:11 PM

You make it sound like the main reason people innovate and spend money on new technology is because they are forced to by "big daddy government".

Most of the times there are tecnological advances it is because some entrepreneur figures out a way to do something better and then connects with the people who can provide marketing, financing, manufacturing, etc. When there is a need, a viable product and a chance for people to make some money people will step out of their own. Compensation of some sort; money, recognition, etc., will move industry to innovate on their own without government interference, regardless of the field; i.e. agriculture, mechanical, energy, airplanes, automotive, etc.

Rarely, if ever, does government involvement promote free enterprise and capitalism; the driving force of our great country. Usually it is just the opposite and kills the ambition of people to risk their time, effort and money in a venture.

Left alone, people will find ways to do things better and more efficiently without having to be threatened and browbeaten by some mindless, skilless beauracrat who knows nothing of business. The OP refers to the Dept. of Energy; this is the one where the head of that dept. has a goal of us paying $5+ per gal. of gas, for no other reason than to limit use of petroleum products and line the pockets of government so they can spend even more or yours and my money vote-getting schemes. And we're supposed to freely allow them more interference in our lives through regulation and imperious dictate. I don't think so!

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: Are Regional Standards the Right Solution for HVAC?

07/15/2011 2:48 PM

However... The government is responsible for many technological advancements through such programs as NASA, and the Military. The space race was fueled by the government, and was probably one of the fiercest technological races for the human race... many new technologies and innovations were born from it.

War is one of the top producers of new materials, technologies and advancements. Things the DOD are working on today will be in the consumer world years from now. This "Internet" thing was born from Government. The Internet began as a Cold War project to create a communications network that was immune to a nuclear attack.

Much of our day to day lives, the advancements in technology, the tools, materials, toys, guns, cars, cell phones, computers, internet etc etc etc was all born from government wartime advances, with huge R&D budgets.

But I agree that it is quite difficult to get anything meaningful done outside of the government due to all the bureaucratic red tape on everything.

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#3

Re: Are Regional Standards the Right Solution for HVAC?

07/15/2011 1:45 AM

I want to decide on the boundaries between whatever "regions."

--Elbridge Gerry

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