HVAC Standards Lawsuit Settled—New Standards Take Effect Jan. 1
Mar 12, 2014
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A settlement in a lawsuit over regional HVAC standards means that the regional air-conditioning and national heat pump standards can go into effect, as scheduled, on Jan. 1, 2015.

All lawsuit parties have signed onto the agreement. The court is expected to accept the agreement and end the litigation.

The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) applauded the resolution of the lawsuit, which was filed over implementation/enforcement of regional standards for residential central air-conditioners (ACs) and non-weatherized furnaces. AHRI helped forge the settlement agreement, which was submitted to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Tuesday, Match 11.

The agreement calls for regional, non-weatherized furnace standards—which were part of the Department of Energy (DOE) Final Rule in 2011, and which were stayed by the Court in 2012—will be vacated. DOE will undertake another rulemaking for those products.

The agreement also provides for an 18-month grace period, until July 1, 2016, for compliance with regional AC standards. This provision is designed to avoid stranded inventory and to protect manufacturers, distributors, and contractors.

The agreement also includes a commitment by DOE to review and clarify the process by which direct final rules are promulgated. DOE also pledged as part of the agreement to initiate a negotiated enforcement rulemaking involving all stakeholders.

“This is a significant accomplishment for the industry, and it wouldn’t have been possible without Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI), Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), and AHRI all coming together,” said AHRI President and CEO Stephen Yurek. “The leverage HARDI created with its motion to get DOE to agree to the terms they agreed to will really help not only for today as we look at the regional standards going into effect for cooling equipment, but also for the future, for having a clearer picture of the DOE’s rulemaking process."

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