A newly issued draft interpretive rule from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that changes the definition of “shower heads” to “shower valves” has sparked significant concern among NAHB members, members of the Plumbing Manufacturers Institute and other groups. The problem is that this change in definition, which was published in the Federal Register on May 19, may conflict with the applicability of current water conservation standards for showerheads, and could therefore effectively lead to a ban on multiple outlet shower systems such as hand showers, body sprays, gang showers and others that have become very popular in some market segments. Although DOE has labeled its showerhead rule as an “interpretive” rule (which could be implemented without public comment), NAHB believes that the proposed definition rule is substantive in nature and should therefore be subject to the traditional notice-and-comment rulemaking procedures set forth in the U.S. Administrative Procedures Act. That said, NAHB’s legal affairs, regulatory policy and codes and standards experts are now evaluating the notice in preparation for filing our comments to DOE by the June 18 deadline. For more information, please read DOE’s draft of the interpretive rule and the Federal Register notice. Comments to the DOE can be emailed directly to the agency at: Showerhead_Guidance_Comments@hq.doe.gov.
– from NAHB