Heating Seasonal Performance Factor Ratings — What to Know

seasonal performanceWhen considering an HVAC system replacement or upgrade, Heating Seasonal Performance Ratings (HSPF) is a critical number to understand. HSPF is a rating that measures the energy efficiency of a heat pump during cool and cold months, with higher-rated units between 9 and 10 providing significant energy efficiency. How is HSPF calculated, how does it relate to SEER, and how does it affect the bottom line cost of running a building’s HVAC?

How HSPF Rating is Determined

A heat pump must have a minimum 8.2 HSPF rating for commercial use. So how is HSPF calculated? A mathematical formula determines a heat pump’s HSPF rating. A heat pump’s total heating output during its fall and winter operation hours, measured in standard BTUs, is divided by the energy it consumes, measured in kilowatt-hours, or kWh. Since kilowatts are 1,000 watt-hours, the kilowatt-hours must be multiplied by 1,000. The HSPF formula looks like this – BTUs/(kWhs x 1,000).

Are SEER and HSPF the Same?

No, SEER and HSPF are not the same as measuring energy efficiency during different operational phases. HSPF measures the energy efficiency of a heat pump while it’s heating, while SEER measures its energy efficiency while cooling. Since heat pumps deliver heating and cooling, they will have an HSPF rating and a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating.

SEER ratings measure how much electricity the unit uses throughout an entire season to cool a building versus widely varying outdoor conditions.

Although SEER ratings for air conditioners can exceed the mid-20s, high-efficiency heat pumps have minimum SEER ratings of 18. Generally speaking, a heat pump with a higher HSPF will also have a higher SEER rating.

Are SEER and COP the Same?

No, although both numbers are used to determine the energy efficiency rating of a heat pump. COP establishes how much heat will be produced by every watt of electricity supplied and is calculated differently. COP is calculated by dividing the heat provided by the energy needed to create it.

COP is usually replaced by EER, another metric used to measure energy efficiency in cooling units. EER is calculated by dividing the capacity (in BTUs) by its power (watts).

HSPF, SEER, and EER – What is Their Impact?

So we’ve defined these acronyms and explained how they are calculated. What do they mean for your building and financial bottom line? How can paying more attention to these numbers help building owners save money?

  • These numbers reveal your building’s energy efficiency, meaning how much electricity is needed or used to produce heat. Heat pumps with higher energy efficiency ratings save money by using less electricity, lowering operating costs.
  • High-efficiency units help reduce the building’s carbon footprint, bringing the building in line with ordinances such as New York City’s Local Law 97, which was passed in April 2019, to decrease the environment’s negative human impact. Some regulations have heavy fines for violations, so upgrades mean avoiding those fines.
  • Buildings that upgrade to newer, more energy-efficient HVAC equipment may be eligible for rebates or tax breaks. Some cities or states may offer additional incentives and aid, financial assistance programs, or other economic benefits.

If you are considering a total HVAC overhaul, consider investing so that your building is ENERGY STAR® rated. Buildings with ENERGY STAR® ratings receive many financial benefits:

  • The facilities operate at a lower overall cost.
  • ENERGY STAR® buildings have a higher value than similar buildings without an ENERGY STAR® rating, and they can also charge higher rent prices.
  • ENERGY STAR®-rated buildings can accept federal contracts, unlike non-ENERGY STAR®-rated buildings.
  • If your building is ENERGY STAR® rated, the owners will get better interest rates and terms when seeking loans.

ENERGY STAR® ratings will also put your building on the radar of green energy groups and people who want to work for environmentally responsible companies.

Trust Tragar with Your HVAC Overhaul

When it’s time for heating system maintenance or upgrade, call the experts at Tragar Home Services. We offer extensive heat system services. Tragar has been keeping Nassau County and Suffolk County residents comfortable for more than 60 years. For information about heating system upgrades, call Tragar Express today at (516) 221-2559. You can also email us at info@tragarexpress.com.