FTC Approves Final Revised Energy Labeling Rule for Home Heating and Cooling Equipment

The Federal Trade Commission is issuing changes to its Energy Labeling Rule, which will add regional information to the familiar yellow EnergyGuide label on residential furnaces and central air conditioners.  The additional information on the new labels, including a map, will help consumers and businesses install equipment appropriate for their location under new Department of Energy (DOE) regional efficiency standards.

The new DOE regional standards are mandated by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, which also directs the FTC to create disclosures related to those standards.  Unlike existing DOE standards, which impose uniform, national efficiency levels for heating and cooling equipment, the new standards vary by region for certain products.  The FTC’s new labeling rules will not be required until the compliance date for the DOE regional standards.  Currently, the DOE compliance date for non-weatherized gas furnaces and mobile home gas furnaces is scheduled for May 1, 2013, and the date for central air conditioner regional standards is January 1, 2015.  However, a pending federal court settlement relating to the regional standards for furnaces may delay the May 2013 compliance date for those standards.

The final Rule requires the EnergyGuide label on product packaging, at the point of sale, and on websites and the products themselves.

The Commission vote approving the Notice amending the Energy Labeling Rule was 4-0-1, with Commissioner Wright not participating.  It is available on the FTC’s website and as a link to this press release and will be published in the Federal Register soon.  (FTC File No. R611004; the staff contact is Hampton Newsome, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2889)

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