BALTIMORE, MD--(Marketwire - May 24, 2011) - Supporting the recent introduction of new, bipartisan energy efficiency legislation, Robert Wilkins, vice president public affairs at Danfoss North America (, a leading manufacturer of high-efficiency electronic and mechanical components and controls for air-conditioning, heating, refrigeration and motion systems, is advocating that the HVACR industry take a more assertive role in the movement toward high-performance buildings.

According to Wilkins, most building professionals recognize the benefits of the movement: long-term costs savings, reduced energy consumption, healthier and more comfortable work environments, smaller carbon footprints and decreased greenhouse gas emissions.

A recently published Danfoss report -- Industry Research & Report: High-Performance Buildings-- supports Wilkins' assertions. In this qualitative research, Danfoss interviewed building owners, architects, engineers, contractors and manufacturers in an effort to identify the key benefits and challenges of designing, constructing and operating high-performance buildings. The results of those interviews are included in the report, which is available for download on the company's website.

As the report reveals, first-cost issues often impede progress toward high-performance buildings.

"Tight capital, strained earnings, high vacancy rates, deflated values and depressed prices, public and private debt and future entitlement commitments, which together contributed to the weakest economy and building marketplace that we have known for some time, mean the first-cost focus will likely persist for the foreseeable future," noted Wilkins. "This is what makes the legislation introduced by Senators Shaheen and Portman so important."

As first-cost issues continue to plague building professionals and energy costs steadily increase, Wilkins sees both challenges and opportunities for the HVACR industry to provide higher efficiency at reduced cost, especially with the support of provisions in the proposed legislation.

"New buildings present an opportunity to achieve significant energy savings over the long term, particularly if building owners use a systems approach to energy efficiency," said Wilkins. A systems approach considers how building components and systems can be integrated to work together to achieve maximum energy results and, ultimately, net-zero energy building design.

But existing buildings -- where old, inefficient equipment can be replaced with today's efficient technologies -- represent the greatest opportunity to conserve energy in the near term. More than 25,000 old, inefficient chillers with ozone-depleting CFC refrigerants still operate in the United States, with half the efficiency of modern chillers. In addition, many residential air-conditioning systems with SEER equivalents of 7, 8 or 9 continue to operate, even though new systems averaging 14 SEER and premium systems between 16 and 20 SEER are available commercially.

"We need to create financial incentives that help building owners overcome the challenging physical and economic obstacles to system upgrades," said Wilkins. "This includes financing mechanisms and the removal of disincentives, including the 39-year tax depreciation on mechanical equipment with estimated life spans of 15 to 20 years."

At the same time, Wilkins suggests the industry advocate for:

  • Modernized building codes that level the playing field for state codes and encourage manufacturers to effectively and efficiently meet consistent and higher standards -- provisions included in the proposed legislation
  • An effective building energy rating system for moderate and lower-end buildings -- similar to the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) system for higher-end buildings -- to help building owners realize the value of their investment in energy efficiency and incentivize them to research and install energy-saving solutions

Wilkins commends Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) for introducing the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2011 (S.1000) on May 12.

The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2011 uses a variety of low-cost tools to reduce barriers for private sector energy users and drive adoption of off-the-shelf efficiency technologies that will save businesses and consumers money, make America more energy independent and reduce emissions. Designed to speed the transition to a more energy efficient economy, the bill would:

  • Expand the existing Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Guarantee program to include energy retrofits
  • Establish a loan program that enables customers of rural electric co-operatives to make efficiency upgrades to their homes or businesses
  • Strengthen national model building codes to make new homes and commercial buildings more energy efficient
  • Provide standards on outdoor lighting, residential HVAC and lighting and other appliance products
  • Work with states to establish a revolving loan program to help finance efficiency upgrades
  • Require the federal government, the single largest energy user in the country, to adopt energy saving techniques for computers
  • Require agencies to share best practices for advanced metering technology to remotely monitor and better manage energy usage in government buildings

The demand for energy is expected to grow as much as 45 percent by 2030. "Market-driven innovations in our industry will continue to move us toward a more energy-efficient future," Wilkins concluded. "But regulatory support, beginning with passage of the Shaheen-Portman bill, is needed if we truly wish to see greater strides toward high-performance buildings and a more energy-independent and financially secure future."

"We also encourage the industry to recognize the importance of moving energy efficiency legislation like the Shaheen-Portman bill forward by engaging with their own senators' offices to ensure the ultimate bill will be the most practical solution to meet our national objectives for HVACR systems."

To read more of Wilkins' call for support of high-performance buildings, please visit

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About Danfoss:
Danfoss is one of the world's leading manufacturers of high efficiency electronic and mechanical components and controls for air-conditioning, heating, refrigeration and motion systems. We operate in more than 100 countries, employ 25,740 people, and hold more than 1,800 patents on a wide range of products. Our innovative, reliable products are backed by local sales and support to help our customers solve their greatest challenges. With its visionary and committed employees, Danfoss meets the needs of its customers through its EnVisioneering(SM) partnerships. EnVisioneering focuses on developing new technologies for sustainable business growth through engineering innovation, energy efficiency and environmental responsibility. For more information about Danfoss, visit: For more information about EnVisioneering, visit:

Contact Information:

Rebecca DeNicco
Godfrey PR
(717) 393-3831, ext. 203