Old Heating and Cooling Standards
Our institutions use measurements like the SEER rating to keep track of the kind of energy efficiency we are achieving. A few decades ago, old HVAC systems might have had a SEER rating that was as low as a five. In some cases, it might have even been lower.
In recent history, many HVAC regulations required cooling efficiency systems to achieve a SEER rating of 13 or 14, depending on the region. When it came to heating, all regions were required to achieve a heating efficiency of at least 14.
Back in 2015, the country was divided into three regions, so it made sense to give different energy efficiency standards. These three regions are the southeast region, the southwest region, and the north region. Hawaii falls under the category of the southeast region as far as HVAC regulations go.
But why would there be different HVAC energy efficiency standards for different regions of the country? The answer is that different sections of the country have different climates.
In places with hotter climates, people tend to use their air conditioning more. If you look at the required cooling efficiency in the southeast and southwest regions of the country in recent years, you will notice that these regions need to meet a somewhat higher efficiency standard for their cooling.
In the north, standards are somewhat lower. However, people use much less air conditioning in the north. Therefore, this does not lead to an excessive waste of energy.