WASHINGTON - According to the Heating, Airconditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI), the U.S. House and Senate continue to consider legislation that would establish regional efficiency standards on heating and cooling equipment. The House and the Senate committee staff are working on a compromise bill that combines elements of the previously passed House and Senate bills, both of which contain provisions regarding regional standards. The compromise bill is being drafted behind closed doors but is expected to be released a few days in advance of the final vote.

It is believed the vote will take place the week of Dec. 3. There will be limited debate and no amendments allowed during floor consideration.

“The final outcome is expected to be very close because the bill will include controversial provisions such as an increase in average fuel economy for cars and SUVs, and a requirement that energy utilities use more renewable resources, such as wind and solar, in their portfolios,” said Charlie McCrudden, director, government relations, Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). “If both bodies pass the bill, President Bush could still veto the bill and it is unlikely the House and Senate could override a veto.”

A number of major HVAC associations are calling industry members to action stating that the effects of this bill passing could be “harmful and counterproductive.”

“Distributors have already seen buyers’ reluctance to replace air conditioning systems since the federal increase to a 13 SEER minimum in favor of saving money by repairing older, inefficient systems,” noted Talbot Gee, vice president, HARDI. “Regionalizing equipment standards would only further drive costs up, eliminate consumer choice, and ultimately threaten many HVACR businesses while saving little to any energy.”

ACCA along with HARDI and the Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association (GAMA) are asking that each HVAC industry participant call his or her senator or representative by Tuesday, Nov. 27, to voice their opposition to regional efficiency standards for heating and cooling products.

For more information or to find out how to contact your congressperson, visit www.hardinet.org or www.acca.org.

Publication date:11/19/2007