August 30, 2014

Lennox gets reprieve, to keep making refrigerated display cases

President Obama has signed legislation that benefits a business in Marshalltown. Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, was a co-sponsor of the bill.

“It was to deal with a regulation that had an unintended consequence of making it difficult for a product manufactured by Lennox to comply with certain energy efficiency guidelines that relate to the refrigerated display cases used in delis,” Braley says.

Lennox Industries, which employs about a thousand workers at its facility in Marshalltown, makes refrigerated cases used in delis and grocery stores, with glass doors and lights in the interior to showcase the products inside that are for sale. Federal officials drafting new energy efficiency standards believed a 2005 law put these refrigerated display cases in the same category as a standard home refrigerator.

According to Braley, the “inherent design” of refrigerated display cases made it impossible for the equipment to reach the minimum efficiency standards for refrigerators, effectively outlawing the manufacture of refrigerated display cases in the United States.

“After…bipartisan efforts to try to fix this problem, I’m very pleased that the bill was signed into law by President Obama yesterday and that’s good news for the employees at Lennox,” Braley says.

Braley and a Republican congressman from Georgia co-sponsored the legislation in May. Their proposal was tacked onto another bill that passed earlier this month in the House and Senate. According to the congressman from Georgia, more than 8500 jobs in plants across the country were at risk if U.S. companies were barred from making refrigerated display cases, including a Lennox Industries plant in his Georgia district as well as the one in Marshalltown.