The Air Conditioning Contractors of America is adding its voice to those urging a court to accept a proposed settlement in the protracted fight over regional HVAC efficiency standards.

Following months of negotiations between the U.S. Department of Energy and opponents of the regulation, an agreement was submitted Tuesday to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

It calls for the regional standards for air conditioners and heat pumps to go into effect Jan. 1, 2015, as planned. HVAC manufacturers, distributors and contractors will be given 18 months to sell existing stocks. The regional HVAC market standards for indoor furnaces, which have been on hold since 2012, will be dropped and the U.S. Department of Energy will propose new regulations.

The ACCA, along with Heating, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International, opposed the original regulations and sued to stop them, saying the government’s rulemaking process was flawed.

“It is our hope that the court will expeditiously accept this settlement to end this prolonged legal challenge," said ACCA President and CEO Paul T. Stalknecht. "The settlement vindicates ACCA's concerns about the DOE requiring condensing furnaces without regard for potential impact on homeowners. We are also pleased to see that our comments aren't likely to be overlooked in any future rulemakings.  Now the industry can move forward to develop an enforcement plan for the regional standards on split system and single package central air conditioners."  

The Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, which represents the industry’s major manufacturers and worked with the government to set the standards, broke with other HVAC groups and opposed efforts to continue the lawsuit. It is supporting the proposed settlement.