Regulations, Rheem, and You: What Rheem is Doing to Shape HVAC Requirements
January 2, 2024
It’s no secret that the HVAC industry is in period of change. Beyond technological advancements and product innovations, the industry as a whole is experiencing new regulations that impact everyone—from the engineers developing new equipment to contractors, technicians, installers, and the customers they serve.
Although the changes can be hard to navigate, Rheem works hard to make sure contractors and homeowners are in the know and prepared to work through new regulations. And one of the ways Rheem does that is by being a diligent participant in government affairs.
Rheem’s unique position concerning new HVAC regulations and standards means that we have a direct line to stakeholders and policy influencers—and we keep customer interests and concerns top of mind every step of the way.
Rheem and Government Affairs
For nearly 100 years, Rheem has been at the forefront of industry changes. And as standards and regulations continue evolve, Rheem remains deeply entrenched in the shapeshifting nature of HVAC, new policies, and what it all means for our customers and partners.
The day-to-day involvement on specific government affair issues may differ, but know that Rheem’s government affairs team is engrained at every level, from collaborating on emerging policy to conducting impact analyses, product and engineering reviews, and position advocacy.
In 2023, for example, when it comes to equipment standards, Rheem was on the technical committees that newly developed AHRI 1430 and AHRI 1600, covering commercial AC/HP and residential AC/HP respectively. Also in 2023, we were part of the ASRAC working group to develop the next efficiency requirements for large commercial unitary equipment.
Another area where Rheem is involved at all levels in sustainability and decarbonization.
“My responsibility, and that of Government Affairs team at Rheem, in the climate change conversation, is to accelerate policies that enable governments and stakeholders to meet climate commitments with Rheem® products,” says Karen Meyers, Vice President of Government Affairs. “In the U.S. and around the world, we offer Rheem’s perspective as an innovator. We harness our engineering, product development, and manufacturing expertise, along with a deep knowledge of policy drivers and regulatory, code and standards requirements, to communicate with policymakers and regulators and drive positive action.”
The Next Big Policy Change: A2L Refrigerants
On the immediate horizon, the United States and dozens of nations globally are transitioning from the high global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants traditionally used in air conditioning systems and heat pump water heaters to more environmentally friendly coolants with dramatically lower GWP. The most common low GWP alternatives are classified by ASHRAE as mildly flammable, or A2L. The switch to A2Ls goes into effect on January 1, 2025.
“The improved environmental performance of these climate-friendly refrigerants requires hundreds of local and state code bodies to update complex building codes to permit the installation of systems that use this new technology,” Meyers says. “In the U.S., Rheem is leading an initiative within our industry to accelerate the adoption of new state building energy codes by 2024 in preparation for a nationwide change in 2025 to environmentally friendly HVAC products. The goal is lofty and, in some cases, municipalities will also need to update their building codes, but we are well on our way with only a handful of states remaining.”
Rheem has met with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to advocate for industry interests with respect to refrigerant transition. As we get closer to 2025, Rheem will continue to update our customers and partners with the need-to-know information that will make this transition as smooth as can be.
What Rheem’s Connection to Government Affairs Means for Customers
In everything we do at Rheem—from shepherding new regulations to developing new product—the voice of customers remains paramount.
During Rheem Product Excellence Panels, for example, we invite contractors from around the country to weigh in on innovations needed on new product and express pain points. We then take the information we learn during these sessions to engineer and build the next generation of Rheem equipment, designed directly with their direct input in mind.
In the same vein, Rheem keeps customer interests top of mind when speaking with industry stakeholders and policymakers as it relates to shaping new HVAC regulations. We voice the concerns and input you’ve shared with us to help guide these new standards and changes. You can trust that our seat at the table is shared by you, and your voice is heard.
Policy is always changing, and Rheem is evolving with it. From new products to training, we have the tools to help support you through these changes and will continue to provide updates on new regulations as they become available.
In the meantime, you can stay up to date with the latest HVAC industry news and information at Rheem.com/HVACKnowZone.