• For air conditioners, it is theoretically illegal to install a SEER 13 unit in the southeast after 12/31/2014. Theoretically because a court settlement between DOE and HARDI (the trade group for HVAC dealers) agreed that DOE would not enforce the regional standard for 18 months, until July 1, 2016. This is kind of like saying the speed limit is 55, but the police are not permitted to issue speeding tickets.
• The Energy Guide “yellow label” will be updated for units shipped after the end of 2014. Instead of a single rating point, new labels for split-system air conditioners and heat pumps will now be shown in a range representing the lowest and highest SEER ratings for all the condenser’s certified coil combinations. All of the component parts in the entire system, inside and out, must have an aggregate SEER that meets the new guidelines.
HBAG was successful in getting the State Codes Advisory Committee to recommend NOT moving forward with the 2012 International Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Code as a permissive code for local governments to adopt to mitigate damage from forest fires. This permissive code contains provisions addressing fire spread, construction materials, accessibility, defensible space (site development), water supply and more for buildings constructed near or in “forested” areas with a tiered approach based on the severity of the threats. It would be very costly and is in conflict with many environmental rules such as tree ordinances and water plans. HBAG is concerned that it could be used as a tool to stop growth. HBAG developed a tool kit with illustrations showing how a site would be negatively impacted at each tier. Although HBAG has made great progress in demonstrating that WUI is not right for Georgia and DCA has a strong statement against the use of this code, ithas been adopted by the State Fire Marshal as part of the Fire Regulations, and the Forestry Service and Emergency Management Managers are aware of it. HBAG continues to work with the Fire Marshal and others to show that WUI is not the right tool for Georgia and to remove all references. Contact HBAG immediately if “Fire Wise” or updates to the hazardous mitigation plans are being discussed in your community. We have the tools to assist you. HBAG especially thanks Tim Williams, SCAC member and HBAG past President, Neal Davis, HBAG Vice-President and Regulatory Consultant, and Bettie Sleeth for their efforts in this endeavor. o