In September a law will be introduced banning the sale of inefficient air-conditioning equipment. I quote” new or replacement air-conditioners installed (via plug or hard wired) in houses, townhouses and units in Queensland meet a minimum tested average energy efficiency ratio (EER) of 2.9.”
Just to put that into context this means all mobiles, splits and VRV systems installed in houses and commercial buildings will have to have an eer of 2,9 or they will be illegal to install. Here in the UK we have no such LAW but there are guidelines in part L for commercial buildings so generally this practice has already happened by default.
Personally I think making inefficient units illegal and encouraging further development in energy efficiency from manufacturers is a great idea. This type of legislation has already been bought in for boilers increasing the efficiency of new equipment enormously.
End users are already aware that energy efficiency is important either from an environmental viewpoint or from an economical one due to the rise in energy prices. However if we have a hot spell and people are uncomfortable there is nothing in the UK to stop them rushing out and buying inefficient kit and having it installed.
The problem lies in the economics; energy is still cheap compared to the capital cost of the kit.
E.g. a mobile aircon unit will cost £300 to buy; assuming it is a 3kw machine with an EER of 2 and electricity is 10p/kWkr it will cost 15p/hr to run. If we assume that in a typical British summer it will run for 180 hours, (30 days, for 6 hours a day) that equates to 180 x 15 p = £27.00. If the same machine had an eer of 3 it would cost £18 to run.
Now to get an EER of 3 out of a mobile is almost impossible so we would have to go for a fixed installation that is going to cost over £1000. The real question that needs to be asked is should you be allowed to buy cheap equipment, which is inefficient and environmentally damaging?
I think we should ban inefficient kit now! Or at least lets start discussing it, the level of efficiency would need some thought but 2.9 sounds like a good place to start.
By Graham Hendra
Graham Hendra is Consulting Technical Manager at Spaceair