Officials with HARDI and the ACCA are celebrating a decision that upheld federal preemption of HVAC efficiency standards in a case that pitted manufacturers’ desires for nationwide consistency against local control.

On Jan. 25, U.S. district court Judge Martha Vazquez ruled that that Albuquerque, N.M., violated federal law when it included higher HVAC efficiency standards in its 2007 building codes.

The lawsuit was brought by members of the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute; the Air Conditioning Contractors of America; and the Heating, Airconditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International.

Talbot Gee, HARDI executive vice president, said the court’s ruling was the right one.

“This is a victory for AHRI, and the industry as a whole,” Gee said. “This victory preserves a vital precedent for how our products are governed, and this issue provided a perfect example of how effectively all aspects of the HVAC industry can work together.”

Two ACCA member companies were plaintiffs in the lawsuit and the association’s president and chief executive officer, Paul Stalknecht, thanked them for taking on the city.

“I want to recognize the contribution of ACCA members Affordable Services Inc., and Thompson Heating and Air Conditioning, who stood up for the industry and agreed to be a named plaintiff in a case against the city they work in every day,” Stalknecht said. “Federal law is clear and was upheld in the case. States and localities cannot set their own standards that are higher than the federal standards without a waiver from preemption. The resulting patchwork quilt of minimum efficiency standards would be confusing to consumers and impossible to enforce.”