ARI Certification Has Multiple Benefits
Originally published: 02.01.07 by Francis Dietz
Program protects the environment, conserves energy, and saves money
How many private-sector programs can make these claims: saves energy, increases environmental protection, and saves money for homeowners and businesses? Likely, not many programs do all of that, but the certification programs run by the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) since 1959 do all that and more.
It’s no secret that everyone is trying to save energy — and thus money — these days. And we all want as clean an environment as we can reasonably and cost-efectively achieve.
Manufacturers of residential central air conditioners and heat pumps constantly are seeking new ways to achieve higher energy efficiency for their products, and they do a good job at it. Today’s units are some 50% more efficient than they were just a decade ago. It’s easy to make claims of energy efficiency, but it takes more effort to verify those claims. That’s where ARI’s certification programs come in.
The vast majority of ARI members voluntarily submit their products to independent, third-party laboratories, under contract to ARI, that test them to verify their energy-efficiency ratings. A manufacturer whose tested product does not meet its claims is required to re-rate it and is subject to myriad penalties, including additional product tests, monetary sanctions, and a request to remove the product from the market.
Because of ARI’s certification programs, the building owner in Boise who purchases ARI Performance Certified™ products can rest assured that the equipment is as efficient as the manufacturer claims it is. He knows he’s getting what he paid for.
Similarly, the homeowner in Honolulu knows that the new AC unit she just bought does indeed achieve a 15 SEER rating because the unit has the ARI Performance Certified™ mark on it and because she has a certificate from her contractor stating that she has an ARI Performance Certified™ matched system.
The importance of ARI’s program to businesses and homeowners alike is manifested in cost savings, energy savings, and reduced emissions from electric power plants. But it’s not just businesses and homeowners that benefit. Contractors — both commercial and residential — can use ARI’s Performance Certified™ program as a selling tool. It’s fine to present a product to a customer as achieving a certain level of energy efficiency, but it makes the sale that much easier if a contractor can prove to the customer that what he says is true.
And proving it is much easier than you might think. ARI’s Directory of Certified Product Performance contains some 150,000 records on hvacr equipment in ARI’s 25 certification programs. Contractors can print out a certificate of ARI Certified Product Performance for each piece of equipment listed in the directory. That certificate is proof that the product has been independently tested and found to meet the efficiency level claimed by the manufacturer.
For residential contractors, the Directory also can perform another very valuable service: proof of an ARI Performance Certified™ matched system. Any contractor familiar with high-efficiency systems knows that outdoor condensing units and indoor evaporator coils must be properly matched for the system to achieve the advertised efficiency level. Finding the perfect match, as we call it, is easy with the ARI Directory. Contractors can type in the model number of the proposed outdoor unit and instantly see a list of matching indoor coils, or visa versa, regardless of the manufacturer. Proof of a matched system also is required for homeowners to qualify for utility rebates and tax credits.
Contractors and the public can access the Directory at www.aridirectory.org. Kits with downloadable and customizable brochures and information on how to use the Directory are available from ARI. To request a kit, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, and one will be mailed to you.