AHRI Applauds Court Approval of Regional Standards Settlement
April 24, 2014
, Vice President, Public Affairs
Arlington, VA – The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) today applauded approval by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit of the resolution of a lawsuit regarding implementation and enforcement of regional standards for residential central air conditioners (ACs), heat pumps, and non-weatherized furnaces. AHRI was instrumental in a settlement agreement, which was signed by all parties to the lawsuit and submitted to the Court on March 11. The court’s acceptance officially ends the litigation and allows the regional AC and national heat pump standards to go into effect, as scheduled, January 1, 2015.
“The Court’s action today creates the certainty that manufacturers, distributors, contractors, and technicians have long sought with respect to regional standards and their effective dates,” said AHRI President and CEO Stephen Yurek. “We can now move forward not only with implementing the new regional AC standards and national heat pump standard, but we can also put our full energy into developing a workable enforcement scheme for regional standards,” he said.
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 that until July 1, 2016, products in inventory and manufactured prior to January 1, 2015 that do not meet the South or Southwest regional standards can continue to be installed in these regions to avoid stranded inventory.
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.
“As I said when the agreement was submitted to the Court, this is a significant accomplishment for the industry,” said Yurek. “The leverage that was created by the litigation caused DOE to agree to terms that will really help our industry, 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.
The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) is the trade association representing manufacturers of air conditioning, heating, commercial refrigeration, and water heating equipment. An internationally recognized advocate for the industry, AHRI develops standards for and certifies the performance of many of these products. AHRI’s 300+ member companies manufacture quality, efficient, and innovative residential and commercial air conditioning, space heating, water heating, and commercial refrigeration equipment and components for sale in North America and around the world.