Happy 2023, PM Engineer readers! Thank you for spending this part of your day with me as I discuss topics in compliance. Let me introduce myself. I, Misty Guard, am a policy wonk, bibliophile, gastronome, musicophile, techie nerd and scotch whiskey aficionado. Over the past 21 years, I have worked in and for Fortune 20 corporations, family-owned corporations, federal and state agencies, a code development organization and multiple consulting firms. I now own and operate the consulting firm, Regulosity LLC, through which my passion for working at the intersection of water, energy, public health and environmental policies and programs brings benefits to businesses around the world.

Utilizing our expertise in public policy, business and technology, as well as our vast experience with water and plumbing, energy and mechanical, environmental and public health, electrical and explosive and disability and innovation policies, we focus on creating solutions that support businesses in achieving compliance with laws, regulations, codes, standards and public policies. In addition, we actively participate and comment on governmental rulemakings, building and safety codes development and standards development.

I personally met Julius Ballanco in 2015 when, as we were providing opposing testimony at the ICC public comment hearings, he insulted my grammar skills. I rebutted the insult, the ICC membership voted in my favor, and Julius congratulated me on the win. I have called him a best friend ever since and have enjoyed phone calls, standards committee meetings, code development seasons and dinners with Julius. Julius is a reliable source of endless industry knowledge, dedicated to the public's well-being and safety and passionate about the plumbing and mechanical industries. As I attribute much of my passion for working in the plumbing and mechanical industries to Julius' stories, enduring friendship and support through the years, I am committed to continuing his work of serving you with the information you need to succeed. Here is some important industry information from which you may benefit.

Appliance Energy Efficiency and Water Conservation Standards: Now you are responsible

States and municipalities are setting requirements that deviate from federal appliance energy efficiency and water conservation standards. Generally, this means that you — engineers, designers, installers and retailers — need to be aware of a jurisdiction's requirement for a specific product — to the city level — and verify that specified and installed products and products offered for sale meet the requirements for that jurisdiction. Energy efficiency and water conservation standards are now your responsibility and are no longer only a manufacturer issue.

As I attribute much of my passion for working in the plumbing and mechanical industries to Julius' stories, enduring friendship and support through the years, I am committed to continuing his work of serving you with the information you need to succeed.

History of the federal model

Federal appliance energy efficiency and water conservation standards establish minimum efficiency standards for energy consumption and water conservation. Ever since the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 and its amendments were implemented, manufacturers, private labelers, dealers and distributors — for domestic or imported products — carried the obligation to ensure that covered products met the federal requirements.

The federal model helped with intrastate and interstate commerce. If you were a distributor with a multiple-state territory, you could easily stock a single product version for sale in multiple states. If you were an installer outside a major metropolitan area or with a service area crossing state lines, you could purchase a single product version for installations everywhere you work. If you were a designer with multiple state territories, you could easily specify a single product version for multiple jobs. If you were a manufacturer selling in multiple markets, you could make a single product variation using the same label and packaging. Those days are over.

What is changing?

States and municipalities are making five distinct changes:

  1. Adding more regulated products;
  2. Requiring that covered products meet energy efficiency rates and water conservation flow reduction requirements which are more stringent than the federal levels;
  3. Adding installers and retailers as responsible parties;
  4. Prohibiting the leasing of non-compliant products; and
  5. Using code officials as an additional enforcement arm.

Newly regulated products

On average, states and municipalities are adding nine products not regulated at the federal level. Examples of new state-level or municipal-level regulated products are:

  • Residential ventilating fans;
  • Computers;
  • Computer monitors;
  • Commercial fryers;
  • Commercial hot-food holding cabinets;
  • Commercial ovens; and
  • Commercial steam cookers.

Products with more stringent requirements

States and municipalities are deviating from federal energy efficiency rates and water conservation flow reduction requirements for, on average, 12 products. Examples of products with more stringent state-level or municipal-level requirements are:

  • Faucets;
  • Showerheads;
  • Water closets; and
  • Urinals.

Installer and retailer responsibilities

Retailers may be included in the definition of "sellers." Generally, sellers, including online or brick-and-mortar retailers, are not allowed to offer non-compliant products for sale or installation after specific dates. The state-level or municipal-level regulations also may prohibit the shipment of non-compliant products to addresses within the state or municipality. Additionally, the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) may be permitted to conduct random or scheduled inspections at facilities to ensure compliance with state-level or municipal-level regulations.

Installers may be included in new state and municipal regulations with prohibitions on installing non-compliant products after specific dates. Additionally, the AHJ may be permitted to conduct inspections — random or scheduled — at sites to ensure compliance with the regulations.

Leasing vs. selling

Historically, states and municipalities focused on restricting selling, offering for sale or installing non-compliant products. New Jersey prohibits the leasing of non-compliant products.

Code officials as an enforcement arm

Historically, states and municipalities have a single agency with enforcement authority. New Jersey requires subcode officials to inspect covered products during inspections for compliance with regulations.

2023 watch list

This dynamic and changing list is expected to expand during 2023:

What can you do?

I recommend that state government and municipality activities be monitored by you personally or by submitting a request for monitoring to your trade association. Or you can give me a call at Regulosity!