The regional energy-efficiency standards dictating residential HVAC equipment have been a hot topic in the industry since — and before — a lawsuit halted the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) rule in its tracks. And now, as the regional standards ruling remains entangled in litigation, it is becoming more difficult for the HVAC industry to determine how to move ahead.
The initial implementation date for the first phase of the standards, which would have raised the minimum-efficiency standards for nonweatherized furnaces, was scheduled to occur in May 2013. However, the rule was delayed and stayed due in part to a pending lawsuit. The next phase of the standards, which will mandate regional minimum-efficiency standards for air conditioners, heat pumps, and weatherized furnaces is still slated to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2015. However, due to the ongoing litigation, there is currently a swell of uncertainty surrounding this portion — and every other aspect — of the rule.