By Ronald L. Perl, Esq.

On January 14th, the American Public Gas Association (“APGA”) and US Department of Energy (“DOE”) submitted a joint motion to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to vacate new regional efficiency standards for gas furnaces that were scheduled to go into effect on May 1, 2013. These new standards, which were originally published at 76 Fed. Reg. 37408 (June 27, 2011), had created concerns for community associations because of venting requirements that implicated general common elements. Specifically, the now vacated standardswould have required new gas furnaces installed in our region to increase efficiency from 78% to 90%. According to the APGA, who was the plaintiff in this action, 90% efficient furnaces require expensive venting modifications, including side venting. This is significant to community associations because side venting may be difficult or impossible because of space limitations or building code issues. Associations will therefore face requests to install new venting through common element walls or other space. The APGA challenged the standards on both substantive and procedural grounds. This settlement, if approved by the court, will apparently cause the DOE to go back to the drawing board on these standards and reopen the rulemaking process. The joint motion can be found here.

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