Language selection


Central air conditioners and heat pumps

May 2021

Technical bulletin on amending the standards

WebinarTuesday, May 18, 1:30-2:30 pm EST

In April 2021, Natural Resources Canada's (NRCan) Office of Energy Efficiency updated its Forward Regulatory Plan 2021-2023 which identifies its intention to amend Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations (the Regulations) to align single-phase central air conditioners and heat pumps with standards in the United States while taking into account Canadian climate conditions.

This technical bulletin has been released to initiate the consultation process and to collect stakeholder views on the requirements being considered for central air conditioners and heat pumps.

Input received during this stage of the process will inform the development of the Amendment 17 proposal. NRCan will undertake a cost-benefit analysis using the best-available Canadian market data to assess the economic and environmental impacts of these standards and to ensure Canadian consumers and businesses benefit from their implementation.

The Government of Canada intends to pre-publish a regulatory proposal in the Canada Gazette, Part I, within approximately one year of this bulletin.


The Government of Canada is committed to improving energy efficiency standards for consumer, commercial and industrial products and to reduce regulatory burden through alignment with the United States (U.S.), provinces and territories where it makes sense in the context of Canadian domestic policy.

In Canada, central air conditioners and heat pumps that have been manufactured on or after February 3, 1995 are subject to Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations. The most recent changes to the regulations related to these products were implemented.  In 2016, seasonal Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) were updated and in 2018, average off mode power consumption MEPS were introduced; these changes resulted in regulatory requirements that are aligned with those in place in U.S.

On January 6, 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published a Federal Register of the direct final rule pertaining to central air conditioners and heat pumps for Energy Conservation Standards (82 FR 1786), which introduced a new test standard and associated performance metrics and prescribed more stringent MEPS for single package and split systems - these new requirements will apply to products manufactured on or after January 1, 2023Footnote 1

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is considering amending its Regulations to align test standard requirements with those of the U.S. DOE. NRCan is also considering making the optional -15oC (5oF) test point in the U.S. DOE test procedure mandatory in Canadian regulations to better reflect operating conditions in Canada.  Minimum energy performance requirements would be closely aligned with those of the U.S. DOE and the reporting would incorporate the -15oC (5oF) test point to account for Canadian climatic conditions and be reported for Climate Region V (instead of climate region IV, as in the U.S.).   

In addition, in 2010, DOE removed its “through-the-wall (TTW) air conditioner and heat pump” subcategory. Therefore, this product class existed only for products manufactured prior to January 23, 2010 and DOE specified that TTW products manufactured on or after that date would have to comply with the standard for space-constrained products. NRCan kept both classes with the same MEPS, TTW and space-constrained products. NRCan is considering amending the Regulations to sunset TTW product class. Products defined as TTW would henceforth be considered as space-constrained products and have to comply with the standard for space-constrained products.

Product description

Central air conditioners and heat pumps are air-source air conditioners and heat pumps, with rated capacity of less than 19 kW (65,000 Btu/h).These include: single package, split system (single-split, multi-head mini-split, multi-split including variable refrigerant flow (VRF), multi-circuit systems), ducted, ductless, space-constrained, and small-duct, high-velocity air conditioners and heat pumps.

Energy performance testing standard

NRCan is considering referencing the following energy performance testing standard:

  • Appendix M1 to subpart B, Part 430 of Title 10 to the United States Code of Federal Regulations, entitled Uniform Test Method for Measuring the Energy Consumption of Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps with the following adjustments to accommodate Canadian climate:
    • The optional -15oC (5oF) test point in the U.S. DOE test procedure would become mandatory in Canadian regulations
    • The HSPF2Footnote 2 metric that is used to evaluate compliance would be based on Climate Region V (for calculation of the performance metric in the test standard)

Energy performance standard

Proposed MEPSFootnote 3 for central air conditioners and heat pumps are listed below in Table 1. Canadian HSPF2 MEPs for Region V have been converted from U.S. HSPF2 MEPs for Region IV, based on minimum performance levels expected for units tested to temperature test points required in Appendix M1 and the additional -15oC (5oF) test point.

Table 1
Product class SEER2Footnote 4 MEPs
in the U.S. and Canada
(Region IV)
MEPs in U.S.
(Region V) MEPs in Canada
(i)(A) Split systems—air conditioners with a certified cooling capacity less than 45,000 Btu/hr 13.4    
(i)(B) Split systems—air conditioners with a certified cooling capacity equal to or greater than 45,000 Btu/hr (and less than 65,000 Btu/hr) 13.4    
(ii) Split systems—heat pumps 14.3 7.5 6.0
(iii) Single-package units—air conditioners 13.4    
(iv) Single-package units—heat pumps 13.4 6.7 5.4
(v) Small-duct, high-velocity systems 12 6.1 4.9
(vi)(A) Space-constrained products—air conditioners 11.7    
(vi)(B) Space-constrained products—heat pumps 11.9 6.3 5.0


  • The requirements for average off mode power consumption remain unchanged.
  • Compliance to heating performance requirement in Canadian Regulations is based on Region V (for HSPF2 calculation)

Important dates

These modifications to the Regulations would come into force six months after the date of publication in the Canada Gazette, Part II.

NRCan is considering making these regulatory requirements applicable to products manufactured after January 1, 2023. 

Labelling requirements

There would be no mandatory regulatory label requirements proposed.  Voluntary labelling requirements will be determined in consultation with industry.

Verification requirements

The product will continue to carry a third party verification mark indicating that the product meets the seasonal cooling and heating MEPS (i.e. seasonal energy efficiency ratio 2 (SEER2) and heating seasonal performance factor 2 (HSPF2)) and the average off mode power consumption (PW,OFF) MEPS and that the information to be reported has been verified.

The verification mark is the mark of a Standards Council of Canada accredited certification body that operates an energy efficiency certification program for the product.

Reporting requirements

Energy efficiency report

The energy efficiency report required for central air conditioners and heat pumps would include the following product specific information obtained from the U.S. M1 test procedure as adjusted above.  These data fields are similar to the existing regulatory reporting requirements, except that the metrics (now denoted as ‘SEER2’ and ‘HSPF2’) are calculated differently according to the U.S M1 test procedure:

  • SEER2;
  • Rated cooling capacity;
  • HSPF2 for Region V and rated heating capacity @-8.3oC (47oF) for heat pumps;
  • PW,OFF;

In addition, the energy efficiency report would require the following information to be reported for heat pumps:

  • COP @-15oC (5oF) at rated capacity; and
  • Rated capacity @-15oC (5oF)

The Regulations apply to products imported or shipped inter-provincially for sale or lease in Canada. This report must be submitted, by the dealer, to NRCan before the product is imported into Canada or traded inter-provincially for the first time.

Import report

There is no change considered to import reporting.

Comments invited

The purpose of this bulletin is to provide stakeholders with technical detail required to comment on the requirements under consideration for these products. 

Additional information on Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations including a current list of Standards Council of Canada accredited certification bodies can be found in the Department’s website.

We welcome your comments by June 7, 2021.  All correspondence should be forwarded to:

Natural Resources Canada
Office of Energy Efficiency

Page details

Report a problem on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: