Settlement Reached in Regional Standards Lawsuit

On Tuesday, a settlement agreement was formally agreed to and filed with the court in the Regional Efficiency Standards lawsuit. The settlement, which must be formally approved by the court, signifies a victory for our industry.

The settlement does the following:

  • The energy efficiency standard for residential gas furnaces in the Northern Region has been remanded. The DOE will begin the process of assessing a new standard and has agreed to use a more transparent process. It is likely that a new furnace standard would not take effect until 2021-2022.
  • On January 1, 2015 the efficiency standard for central air-conditioners in the South will be 14-SEER. In the Southwest, that standard will be 14-SEER/12 EER.
  • Distributors in the South and Southwest will have 18-months (July 1, 2016) to sell any inventory of 13-SEER equipment which was manufactured before January 1, 2015.
  • DOE has agreed not to assess civil penalty upon distributors for violations related to the enforcement of regional efficiency standards for central air-conditioners and heat pumps.
  • DOE agrees to evaluate and assess the usage of the Direct Final Rule process, which was used to establish the Regional Efficiency Standards and was the focus of the lawsuit challenging the standards.
  • DOE will present a proposal for a negotiated rulemaking regarding the enforcement of the regional standard to the Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee (ASRAC). If approved ASRAC, DOE will attempt to use a negotiated rulemaking as a means to determine an effective enforcement scheme by engaging all interested parties, gathering data, and attempting to reach consensus amongst all stakeholders.


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