WASHINGTON (AP) — Fake fireplaces do not need real rules on energy efficiency.
A federal appeals court on Friday threw out an Energy Department rule that could have forced decorative fireplaces to meet federal energy efficiency standards. The appliances, also known as "gas logs," are fueled by natural gas but are designed to minimize the amount of heat generated.
A divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said the Energy Department rule made no sense, since the appliances are purchased for their appearance rather than to heat homes or businesses.
Judge Janice Rogers Brown, writing a 2-1 opinion for the court, could not resist a little judicial humor as she poked at the Energy Department. "We hold DOE's feet to a not-so-decorative fire by vacating the rule in part" and ordering officials to come up with a new rule, Brown wrote.
A spokesman for the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, which represents the fireplace industry, called the ruling an important victory. More than two-thirds of the estimated 6 million gas fireplaces in the U.S. are purely decorative, the group said.
Had the DOE rules gone into effect in April as scheduled, several companies could have been forced out of business, said Jack Goldman, president and CEO of the fireplace group.