Are there energy efficiency standards in the hot tub industry? Are they required or voluntary? In this article we set out to answer these questions and more. First off, we need to consider that the hot tub industry is not nearly as evolved or progressive as say consumer electronics or home appliances where standards are set and energy efficiency is at the forefront of every manufacturer and consumers minds alike. Albeit slow, the hot tub industry continues to advance with both internal and external pressures at work to improve energy efficiency and upgrade standards. In the last decade there has been some state level oversight and regulation (external pressure) that has prompted hot tub manufacturers to take initiative and start engineering hot tubs to be more energy conscious and efficient. The California Energy Commission (CEC) has been one of those state level regulators that has pioneered standards for hot tub energy efficiency starting back in 2006. California is arguably the largest hot tub market in the country so the CEC standards which they refer to as Title 20 has affected the entire industry. In order to sell or manufacturer a hot tub in the state of California a manufacturer must be compliant with Title 20 standards.
Since the inception of CEC Title 20, the APSP has made efforts to collaborate on a national level to create standards for hot tub manufacturers to adopt and implement. The APSP Standards Committee (made up of hot tub manufacturing professionals) exchanges ideas, creates standards, and promotes best practices within the hot tub and spa industry. The standards are then drafted by a writing committee prior to going through ANSI (American National Standards Institute) review and publication. The APSP-14 Committee is directly responsible for the Standard for Portable Electric Spas Energy Efficiency. The APSP 14 standard encompasses the testing procedures and method for determining the energy efficiency of portable electric hot tubs and spas and is also consistent with California’s Title 20 requirements. Currently, standards vary from state to state and lack cohesiveness and consistency. The ultimate goal of APSP 14 is to create a standard that can be adopted across the country on both a state and federal level through legislation. There are already 20 states that have implemented the standard through legislation.
Below are some notable excerpts from the APSP 14 Standard as well as some proposed changes:
1. Consistent testing procedures and method for determining energy efficiency for every make and model of portable electric spa and swim spas (consistent with the CEC Title 20 requirements)
2. Energy Labels across the whole portable spa industry which would give consumers a way to compare models and brands. States that adopt the consumer labels will display the energy usage compared to all other hot tub brands in the industry
3. Improving the energy calculation (formula) to comply with the CEC Title 20 changes. The improved formula reduces energy consumption another 6%
4. Changing the testing standard so that it no longer gives an advantage to larger spas
5. Testing must be done by a 3rd party lab or in-house testing must be verified and validated by a 3rd party to ensure requirements are properly met