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Understanding Energy Efficiency Rating


As more and more people have become interested in energy efficiency a rating system was developed to help the average consumer to understand how energy efficient appliances are.

Energy efficiency rating can be used to compare different appliances or systems and help you to choose the best product for your needs. You can easily see from an energy efficiency rating how well that product stands up to other products of the same type.

The Point of Energy Efficiency Rating

Energy efficiency rating was intended to be an aid to the consumer. However, there has been growth in different types of rating systems that leads to confusion. What can help you understand these ratings better is to know that different products have different ratings. You simply need to learn about the ratings for the type of product you are buying.

How Ratings are Determined

Ratings are determined differently for each type of product or system. Here are some common energy efficiency rating systems:

- Materials for building: The ratings are determined by the amount of heat that passes through the material. Those that allow a lot of heat to pass through get a lower rating than those that do not allows heat to pass through. When buying building materials you want an energy efficiency rating that is higher.
- Appliances and other equipment: The ratings are determined by how much energy the system uses when in operation. Ratings used are usually EER, SEER, COP, HSPF and AFUE. You want a higher number that represents the equipment uses a lower amount of energy to operate.

Examples of Energy Efficiency Rating

As mentioned above, appliances are often rating using a number of rating systems. Here is a look at those systems:

EER – Stands for energy efficiency ratio. Measures cooling systems and how they work depending on the outside air temperature. Higher EER numbers mean more efficiency when operating. Used for air conditioners and heat pumps.
SEER – Stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio. Measures central cooling systems operation for a whole season. SEER numbers that are higher mean more energy efficient products. Used mostly with central air systems.
COP – Stands for coefficient of performance. Measures both heating and cooling systems based on outside temperatures. Often used for heat pumps.
HSPF – Stands for heating seasonal performance factor. Measures heating over a seasonal period. Used most often in heat pumps.
AFUE – Stands for annual fuel utilization efficiency. Measures the efficiency of gas or boiler furnace over a season.
Understanding these rating systems can help you to make more informed decisions when comparing the different products energy efficiency rating.


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