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Air Conditioning units are rated by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER).
SEER refers to the amount of BTU output divided by the total electric energy input in Watt Hours during the typical cooling season. So the higher the S.E.E.R. rating the more b.t.u.s of heat you remove for electricity used.

The Mininum SEER required now is 13, that is 30% increase in efficiency verse the 10 SEER minimum just a few years ago.

air conditioner air condensing unit
High Efficiency Air Conditioner Compact Condensing Unit

In Michigan, 13 SEER is adequate and affordable to operate in most homes. A higher efficiency
may be desired if the home is larger then normal or for commercial buildings. A way to achieve
higher efficiency  is a larger condenser coil, meaning a larger outside unit. The highest efficiency
units use a larger coil and a "two stage" or "variable speed" compressor; these units do require
more advanced control boards and repairs can sometimes be costly.

   New units today are manufactured for use with R-410A refrigerant; manufactures can no long make units with R-22. However, manufacturers still make a "Dry" unit which is shipped with nitrogen and can be evacuated and filled with R-22. The cost of R-22 has tripled in the last year, so this is usually only a cost effective option with condenser replacements rather than replacing the entire system. The oil in an R-22 system is not compatible with R-410A, so existing R-22
systems cannot be converted to R-410A. R-22 is sited to be banned from production in 2020.