The U.S. Department of Energy has agreed not to enforce new furnace efficiency rules pending the outcome of a court settlement.

In a policy statement released Friday, the department said it would not apply the new requirements under its discretion until the case is settled. The standards were to take effect May 1. 

In January, the U.S. government agreed to drop rules that would have boosted the efficiency of most residential furnaces while breaking the country into zones where they could be sold. Under the terms of a lawsuit settlement negotiated by the Obama administration and the American Public Gas Association, the government said it would start a new round of rulemaking and give the HVAC industry another chance to comment. 

The Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, which represents most major HVAC manufacturers, opposed the settlement but asked the government to postpone implementation due to the uncertainty created by its decision to drop the regulations. 

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., has yet to rule on the settlement. In its announcement, the Energy Department said it hoped the court would act quickly to accept it.