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August 21, 2014

Court Rejects Department of Energy’s Gas-Log Fireplace Rules

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Court Rejects Department of Energy’s Gas-Log Fireplace Rules

A U.S. Court of Appeals has thrown out the rules adopted in 2011 by the Department of Energy to try to regulate gas-log fireplaces so that they use less energy. The court has ordered the Department of Energy to rewrite its efficiency rules for the “faux hearths” that simulate a wood fire with artificial logs and a natural-gas flame, The Wall Street Journal reports. 

In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected the DOE’s attempt at regulating the energy efficiency of the gas-log fireplaces, but left the door open for future regulation. 

Judge Janice Rogers Brown, writing for the majority, said that the department needed to do extra research in justifying the efficiency standards on “decorative” fireplaces. 

The DOE had argued that under the 1987 National Appliance Energy Conservation Act that it had the right to regulate gas-log fireplaces “designed to furnish warm air.” But the court ruled that DOE could not regulate the fireplaces as heating devices under that rule, but that it could regulate the decorative products separately from that rule. The court ruled that the agency could attempt to regulate the gas-fireplaces, but it would need to justify the rule by analyzing the products’ energy use and improvements manufacturers could feasibly make.

Source: “Court Snuffs Out Rule on Fake Fireplaces,” The Wall Street Journal (Feb. 11, 2013)

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