FTC Approves Final Amendments to its R-Value Rule for Home Insulation Products

As part of its systematic review of all current rules and guides, the Federal Trade Commission has concluded a two-year review of its R-value Rule. The Commission now implements amendments to reduce the regulation’s burden, clarify its requirements, and make it easier for the FTC to take action against deceptive R-value claims for non-insulation products.

Initially promulgated 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. An insulation product’s “R-value” represents the product’s ability to restrict heat flow and thus reduce energy costs.

In 2016, the FTC sought comments on the Rule (formally, the “Trade Regulation Rule Concerning the Labeling and Advertising of Home Insulation”). Based on the comments received, in December 2017 the Commission sought additional public comments on proposed 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 to consumers’ energy costs; and
  • direct insulation retailers to post on their websites labels and fact sheets for covered products sold directly to consumers online, as many large retailers commonly sell insulation products on their websites.

After reviewing the comments received, the FTC has now approved a final Rule that incorporates the amendments proposed in 2017.

The Commission vote authorizing publication of the final amendments in the Federal Register was 5-0. (FTC File No. R811001; the staff contact is Hampton Newsome, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2889.)

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