ARLINGTON, Va. — In response to the direct final rule establishing regional efficiency standards for residential central air conditioners, heat pumps, and furnaces, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a proposed rule in the Federal Register on new labeling requirements for these products. The Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) directs the FTC to determine the appropriate method(s) for disclosing information to consumers, distributors, and installers, and authorizes it to modify the EnergyGuide label that appears on the products or develop other disclosures. EPCA also calls on the FTC to complete a rulemaking within 15 months from the publication of the final rule establishing regional standards.

The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) announced that it has submitted comments on the FTC’s proposed rule. In its comments, AHRI recommends that the FTC:

• Continue to recognize the existing reporting mechanism through voluntary industry certification programs such as AHRI.

• Allow manufacturers that participate in AHRI’s certification programs the option of adding a reference in the EnergyGuide label to the AHRI directory of certified product performance.

• Not make Quick Response (QR) codes mandatory for manufacturers since there may not be enough space to add QR codes on EnergyGuide labels. In addition, the codes may end up confusing consumers, particularly when recognizing that not all consumers will have the capability to access such codes.

• Not impose additional disclosure burdens on manufacturers. Instead, recognize the fulfillment of the current appliance labeling requirements and the release of regional standards information by manufacturers will provide consumers with the necessary disclosure.

• Not limit the range of input capacities in the oil-fired furnace label and make the multiple input capacity and efficiency label format optional for oil-fired boiler manufacturers.

• Allow manufacturers to apply the new EnergyGuide labels when the final appliance labeling rule takes effect.

• Maintain the basic colors (yellow and black) that are used in the current appliance labeling rule.

Publication date: 8/13/2012