ACCA Partners with RESNET and ICC to Develop New Standards for HVAC System Installations

The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) has partnered with the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) and the International Code Council (ICC) to develop the ANSI/RESNET/ACCA/ICC 310-2020 Standard for Grading the Installation of HVAC Systems.

The new standard is the product of a collaborative effort of the three organizations that establish the procedures, tolerances, and record-keeping practices for evaluating and grading elements of an HVAC system’s design and installation.

The standard provides a pathway to earn an improved Energy Rating Index (ERI) score when the heating and cooling system is installed in compliance with its published requirements. The standard applies to Unitary HVAC systems and is comprised of five tasks: a design review, a total duct leakage test, a blower fan volumetric airflow test, a blower fan watt draw test, and a noninvasive evaluation of refrigerant charge. Designed to be completed in sequence, the results of each task are evaluated for compliance with specified thresholds including design tolerances and installation quality.

“ACCA is proud to have been part of this initiative to launch this effort,” said Barton James, ACCA president and CEO. “Our participation on the development committee included Rob Minnick, ACCA board member; Brian Mount, ACCA member, and Wes Davis, ACCA director of technical services. We welcome this important standard and look forward to promoting its use. It is a great step forward and demonstrates the importance of quality installation to an HVAC system’s efficiency, performance, and comfort.”

“RESNET is proud to collaborate with ACCA and ICC in producing the new ANSI standard,” said Steven Baden, RESNET executive director. “The new standard will result in lower HERS Index Scores for builders that have a certified HERS Rater rate the performance of the HVAC system.”

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that up to 30 percent of an HVAC system’s efficiency can be lost if it is improperly designed and installed. In 2014, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published a report on the impact design and installation faults had on system efficiency. After further investigation into how the information could be reflected in the ERI and Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index score, RESNET, ACCA, and the Code Council partnered to publish the ANSI/RESNET/ACCA/ICC 310-2020.

“We are pleased to continue our strong partnership with ACCA and RESNET to develop such an important standard,” said Mark Johnson, Code Council executive vice president. “We intend for this standard to support consistency in rating and labeling by home energy raters, energy auditors, or HVAC contractors.”

The standard is currently focused on the cooling system; therefore, homes in heat-dominated climates will benefit most from improved ERI or HERS scores. With the goal of lowering the scores, initial estimates indicate that scores could drop by as many as 6 points when considering the application of Standard 310-2020.


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