Arlington, Va. — The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) applauded the resolution of a lawsuit regarding implementation and enforcement of regional standards for residential central air conditioners (ACs) and non-weatherized furnaces. AHRI was instrumental in a settlement agreement, which was signed by all parties to the lawsuit and submitted to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today. The court is expected to accept the agreement, thereby ending the litigation and allowing the regional AC and national heat pump standards to go into effect, as scheduled, January 1, 2015.
Under the settlement agreement, the regional non-weatherized furnace standards contained in the Final Rule promulgated by the Department of Energy (DOE) in 2011 and stayed by the Court in 2012, will be vacated, and DOE will undertake another rulemaking for those products. In addition, the agreement provides for an 18-month grace period – until July 1, 2016 – for compliance with the regional AC standards, a provision designed to avoid stranded inventory and 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; and a pledge by the agency 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 & 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,” he added.