A break in regional efficiency standards came on Friday, Jan. 11, when a settlement between the Department of Energy (DOE) and the American Public Gas Association (APGA) effectively ended the race to the compliance deadline of May 1, 2013. In its suit, APGA alleged that data collection was done improperly. The settlement will send DOE back to the drawing board on non-weatherized furnaces and mobile home furnaces.

According to the Heating, Air-conditioning, and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) there is now a 10 day period for intervening parties, such as HARDI and the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) to file a response with the court. After that the court will decide whether to accept or reject the settlement agreement. Rejection is not currently expected.

Until the court’s acceptance of the settlement, non-condensing furnaces remain legal to install in all states until further notice, according to ACCA.

In a statement on HARDI’s website, Vanessa Spates, communications coordinator for HARDI, reported, “This settlement agreement does not affect the regional efficiency standard for central air conditioning, nor does it provide any guarantee that a similar regional standard for these products may not again be set by the DOE in the subsequent rulemaking. Rather, the settlement means that the DOE would essentially hit reset on the portion of the rule covering residential gas furnaces and mobile home gas furnaces. It is unclear how this settlement will affect an enforcement rulemaking, which was to be completed by DOE later this month and has yet to begin.”

The Jan. 1, 2015 deadline for central air conditioners and heat pumps remains in place.

More information will be provided as the story continues to develop. Follow us on Twitter for the latest at www.twitter.com/distributioncen #RegionalStandards