A U.S. appeals court has OK’d the agreement between government regulators and the HVAC industry that ends the years-long fight over regional furnace and air conditioner efficiency standards.

Under its terms, regional standards for air conditioners and heat pumps will go into effect Jan. 1, 2015. HVAC manufacturers, distributors and contractors will be given 18 months to comply, however. 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 Energy Department has agreed to review and clarify the rulemaking process and work with the industry on enforcement.

"We are thankful that the court accepted the settlement motion and ended this prolonged lawsuit," 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 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."