ARLINGTON, Va. - Just when you thought our efficiency mandates were secure, H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES Act), would gut the federal preemption provisions of the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) and the Energy Policy act of 1992 (EPACT), effectively allowing “any jurisdiction in the nation to enact its own energy policy through the use of prescriptive building codes,” said Stephen Yurek, president of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI).

Of course, the association announced its opposition to the bill in its current form. According to Dave Calebrese, AHRI VP of public policy, “There’s always been a push by states to increase their own efficiency levels. Some areas want to go higher than the federal standards.”


The act would “severely impact the ability of heating, air conditioning, and commercial refrigeration manufacturers to provide products to residential and commercial customers in the most timely, efficient, and economical way,” said Yurek.

“Allowing any building code, anywhere in the country, to specify an efficiency level for residential and commercial heating, cooling, and commercial refrigeration equipment would quite simply create marketing and distribution chaos for our member companies, distributors, and contractors,” he said.

The act would affect contractors that operate in more than one state, said Calebrese. “In one state, you could install one type of equipment, but in another state you couldn’t,” he said. For wholesalers, stocking difficulties could result. In jurisdictions requiring higher-efficiency levels, “It eliminates the choices the consumer might have had,” he said.

The bill is in the house now, Calebrese said, and it has support. AHRI prefers the Senate’s approach to decreasing energy intensity. “The Senate bill does not have these same provisions in there,” he said. It includes broader issues such as climate change and carbon caps/credits. It also includes the regulation of HFCs.


Yurek seemed to express a sense of betrayal over H.R. 2454. “We, as an industry, negotiated the federal preemption provisions of NAECA and EPACT in good faith, obtaining those provisions in exchange for being regulated for the first time with regard to energy efficiency,” he said. “We have unequivocally kept our end of the bargain, and our products are more efficient than they have ever been.

“Up until now, Congress and regulatory agencies have kept their end of the bargain as well. The result has been a very productive arrangement that has - and will - save the nation enormous amounts of energy - 54 quadrillion Btus through 2030. We will vigorously oppose any attempt to change the rules that have worked so well to preserve American jobs, and protect American consumers and the environment.”

According to the association, more than 60 percent of the homes in America have less-efficient HVAC systems. AHRI would prefer that Congress revises and expands tax credits in the stimulus bill, to allow more Americans to at least bring their HVAC systems to the federal minimum efficiency level.

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Publication date:06/15/2009