Follow the Energy Star to the Most Efficient HVAC Systems

As people become more and more aware of environmental concerns, the demand for change increases. To that end, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implemented the Energy Star program. The purpose of the program is to spread awareness about the benefits of “going green” and to make it easy for consumers to find eco-friendly products and appliances. Since its inception back in the ’90s, the program has been a huge success, helping to significantly lower the global carbon footprint. But the EPA didn’t stop there. To distinguish products that are vastly superior in terms of energy efficiency, the Energy Star Most Efficient program was created. Find out how an Energy Star Most Efficient HVAC system is the cleanest and greenest energy-saving machine.

How Appliances Qualify for the Most Efficient Program

Those that have earned the Most Efficient label have undergone rigorous testing designed by the EPA. This testing determines the best from the rest. For any product to qualify it must first meet the most recent set of standards issued by the Energy Star program. Most Efficient products are then put through further testing to ensure they are worthy of the exalted title.

Of course, installing such an exceptional appliance to condition your air doesn’t just mean you’re doing your part to help save the planet, it also means you’re saving money. No matter what kind of system you want for your home, you can rest assured that an HVAC system that has earned the Energy Star Most Efficient label offers unparalleled energy conservation and monetary savings while still performing at least as well as traditional models.

To earn the Most Efficient label, an HVAC system must meet the following guidelines for its class:


For a residential boiler to qualify, it must be a self-contained fuel-burning (gas or oil) appliance that uses hot water or steam for heating. This includes water heating capabilities. Boilers with an input rating of 300,000 Btu per hour or higher, or those that are designed for commercial use, are excluded from eligibility. Most Efficient Boilers also possess:

  • An AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) rating of 95 percent or above for gas powered models.
  • An AFUE rating of 90 percent or above for oil powered models.
  • They must pass the program requirements for Energy Star as indicated by the product specification for boilers in version 2.1.


Qualifying furnaces must be non-weatherized gas-burning heating appliances with a heat input rate of less than 225,000 Btu per hour. Such systems heat the air with the combustion of fossil fuels such as propane or natural gas. They must also have heat exchangers, blowers, burners and connections to the heating ducts. They may or may not be able to heat water for use in the home. Oil furnaces, weatherized gas furnaces, mobile home furnaces, commercial furnaces and those with a Btu rating of 225,000 per hour or higher are not considered. Most Efficient furnaces also feature:

  • An AFUE or 97 percent or higher.
  • Automated configuration capabilities, and system status and communication features. For instance, the furnace must be programmed to send a fault code that signals it needs servicing.
  • Must meet the program requirements for Energy Star as listed by the product specifications for furnaces in version 4.0.

Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps

Central air conditioners and heat pumps need to meet the Energy Star’s most recent set of standards for its class, including specific SEER, EER, HSPF and/or COP performance levels (where applicable). Air-source heat pumps and central air conditioning units rated for more than 65,000 Btu of cooling, and systems that operate on three-phase power, are not considered. Additionally, Most Efficient units must have the following features:

  • Central A/Cs, air-source heat pumps and ground-source heat pumps must be equipped with communications, automated configuration and system status capabilities.
  • Air-source heat pumps and central A/Cs must meet product specifications for version 4.1, and geothermal heat pumps must meet product specifications for version 3.1.

Do you need more tips on finding an Energy Star Most Efficient HVAC system? Please feel free to contact us at WA Air Conditioning anytime.


April 7, 2014 10:08 pm