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FTC Proposes Updates to R-Value Rule for Home Insulation Products

The Federal Trade Commission has proposed amendments to the R-value Rule, which governs ratings for home insulation, as part of its systematic review of all current FTC rules and guides.

Issued in 1979, the R-value Rule requires home insulation manufacturers, professional installers, new home sellers, and retailers to provide R-value information, based on the results of standard tests, to help inform consumers. The R-value rates a product’s ability to restrict heat flow and thus reduce energy costs.

The FTC sought comments on the Rule (formally, the “Trade Regulation Rule Concerning the Labeling and Advertising of Home Insulation”) in 2016. Based on comments received, the Commission proposes amendments that would:

  • exempt space-constrained ads from required energy savings claims disclosures;
  • clarify that commercial products sold for residential use are subject to the Rule;
  • require R-value claims for non-insulation products to be substantiated by the Rule’s ASTM standards (commonly used tests for measuring R-value);
  • update the Rule’s references to ASTM test procedures and revise Rule provisions for updating those tests;
  • add information to fact sheets about the importance of air sealing and proper insulation installation; and
  • direct online retailers to post labels and fact sheets for covered insulation products sold directly to consumers.

The Commission vote approving the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was 2-0. The notice will be published in the Federal Register soon. Instructions for filing comments appear in the Federal Register Notice. Comments must be received by February 12, 2018; they will be posted at ftc.gov/policy/public-comments. (FTC File No. R811001; the staff contact is Hampton Newsome, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2889)