Jarn News,  2020-12-14

On July 1, 2020, Brazil’s new energy efficiency regulation for air conditioners was officially announced by INMETRO, National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology, through Decree No. 234.

The new regulation changed the rating criterion from Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) to the Cooling Seasonal Performance Factor (CSPF) or IDRS in Portuguese based on ISO16358: Air-cooled air conditioners and air-to-air heat pumps – Testing and calculating methods for seasonal performance factors. The new rating matches the actual situation of air conditioner use much more closely by considering partial load, the thermal load of the air-conditioned environment, and the outdoor temperatures that vary widely, not only throughout the year, but also on the same day.

The regulation reclassifies the energy efficiency categories and also includes PBE Brazilian Labeling Program, the new energy label. The qualified air conditioners can be granted the ENCE National Energy Conservation Label and Energy Saving Seal of PROCEL, National Energy Conservation Program.

The energy efficiency of the new regulation is voluntary until December 31, 2022, then will become mandatory from January 1, 2023, from when the manufacture, import, and sale of products that do not comply with the new specifications will be prohibited. The minimum CSPF values will be raised further from January 1, 2026, as shown in Table 1.

Brazil’s energy-saving regulation for air conditioners had targeted non-inverter units and had not been reviewed for about 10 years. Accordingly, the performance of inverter air conditioners was not evaluated correctly, and the market penetration of inverter units with high initial costs remained relatively low. Inverter units account for 40 to 45% of wall-mounted type split air conditioners in the Brazilian market in 2020, according to ABRAVA, the Brazilian Association of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning, Ventilation and Heating.

The new regulation will clarify the high energy-saving performance of inverter air conditioners and the difference in performance among inverter models. In the new energy efficiency classes, non-inverter models will probably be rated as Class E or F, and entry-level inverter models will probably be rated as Class B, C, or D. Thanks to new standards and energy labels, consumers can clearly understand the energy-saving performance of air conditioners and can make better choices among the current product offerings. Although high-performance inverter models have a higher initial cost, if their lower lifetime operational cost due to reduced power consumption is widely recognized, it is thought that the shift to high-performance inverter air conditioners will proceed in Brazil. Particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, which obliges people to spend more time at home, the benefits of inverter models are greater than ever.

In anticipation of market expansion driven by the new regulation, Asian manufacturers such as those from Japan, China, and South Korea, which specialize in inverter technology, are aiming to increase sales in Brazil by strengthening their lineups of inverter models. In fact, starting in October 2020, Daikin’s sales subsidiary, Daikin McQuay Ar Condicionado Brasil (DMB), will offer a full line of room air conditioners (RACs) with the new rating label produced by its factory, Daikin Ar Condicionado Amazonas (DAM), located in Manaus Free Zone.

Along with energy savings, it is hoped that air conditioners in Brazil will shift to lower global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants in the future. However, R410A is predominantly used for new air conditioners in the Brazilian market at present. ABRAVA indicated that after 2029, when the Kigali Amendment will come into effect, R410A will be phased down and lower GWP hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) including R32 will be adopted. By then, in order to implement the introduction of mildly flammable (A2L) refrigerants on a large scale, it will be necessary to reinforce training for technicians in the education sector such as SENAI, National Industrial Training Service, and FATEC, Faculty of Theology and Sciences, with strong support from manufacturers and ABRAVA.

In Brazil, Daikin is the f lag bearer for R32 air conditioners, which are environmentally friendly and energy efficient. Daikin alone launched test marketing of an R32 model supplied by its Thai factory in February 2019, which is a wall-mounted split-type air conditioner with 32,000 BTU/h (9.4 kW), a CSPF of 7.50 and classified as A so it already complies with the Class A energy efficiency rating to be applied in 2026 onwards.

With the rise in CSPF values from 2026, the spread of air conditioners with R32 refrigerant may increase in Brazil.