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High Pressure Washers Recommend Water Heater Standards | Rare Techy


By Joanna Mauer, Technical Assistance Director, Utility Standards Clarification Program, and Joe Vukovich, staff attorney, Climate & Clean Energy Program, NRDC

A group of energy advocates and two major water heater manufacturers recently petitioned the Department of Energy (DOE) to tighten efficiency standards for residential water heaters. If adopted by DOE, the recommended standards would provide more energy savings than any other DOE standard to date—cutting greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants and reducing energy costs of customers.

Who gave the joint recommendation?

The signatories to the joint recommendation are two of the largest water heater manufacturers (Bradford White and Rheem), energy efficiency organizations (American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Appliance Standards Awareness Project, and Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance ), environmental advocates (Natural Resources. Conservation Council), and consumer advocates (Consumer Federation of America).

Why are new efficiency standards important for water heaters?

Water heating is the second largest source of American home energy use after space heating. However, unlike many other home appliances, water heaters have not improved significantly over the past 30 years. However, the advancement of new technology—such as the introduction of heat pump water heaters—offers great opportunities to reduce water heater energy use. A 2020 report by the Appliance Standards Awareness Project and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy found that water heaters represent the greatest potential for carbon dioxide reduction from national efficiency standards.

Why is joint evidence so important?

As stated in the joint recommendation, we estimate that the proposed standards will save 27 billion Btu (“quads”) of energy from water heaters sold over 30 years, nearly double the savings that the largest DOE standard would provide. to date (for commercial rooftop air conditioners). For comparison, the entire US economy consumes about 100 quads of energy each year. These energy savings translate into hundreds of millions of metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions—helping meet America’s climate goals—as well as reductions in other air pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides. , which is harmful to human health.

What are the recommended standards?

Most electric water heaters sold today rely on high energy consumption to heat water using decades old technology. The recommended standards will move most of the market for electric storage water heaters from this energy-efficient technology to the new heat pump technology, which will cut energy consumption in half. The recommended standards include exceptions to heat pump standards for very small water heaters (30 gallons and under), where heat pump technology has not yet been introduced to the market. There are also variations designed to accommodate “miniature” water heaters, which are shorter and wider than electric water heaters, and are designed to be installed in small spaces, usually to many houses.

For gas storage water heaters, the recommended standards reduce energy use by 10% compared to models that meet current standards. Builders can meet the gas storage standard by reducing the heat loss of the flue when the water heater is not pumping. (A previous DOE analysis found this efficiency level to be the most cost-effective level.) For tankless water heaters, the recommended standards would benefit students from using the technology. to capture more heat, saving about 15% of the energy used compared to current standards. About half of the current sales of instant water heaters have met the specified standard levels.

What does this mean for consumers?

Consumers—especially those who buy electric water heaters—will see significant savings on utility bills as a result of the recommended standards. As stated in the joint recommendation, for electric storage water heaters, we estimate that consumers will save $185 per year on average compared to current standards. For gas storage and instant water heaters, consumers save $17 and $31 per year, respectively. These utility bill savings are especially beneficial to low-income households, who spend three times more on energy bills compared to non-low-income households. In addition, since landlords have no incentive to install efficient water heaters (tenants pay the electricity bills), tenants, who have very low incomes, benefit greatly from the standards. is specified.

DOE’s preliminary analysis of water heater standards by March 2022 found that upfront cost of heat pump water heaters will pay for themselves in savings on energy bills in an average of three years. DOE’s analysis also found that the efficiency levels for gas storage and gas instantaneous water heaters reflect the joint recommendation that a payback period is significantly shorter than the life expectancy of the water heater.

What is meant by electrical engineering?

By shifting the electric water heater market to pump water heaters, the recommended standards will help consumers switch from gas water heaters to an electric model. useful electric water heaters that lower their water heater energy costs. In addition, the recommended standards tend to increase electrical performance. Today, heat pump water heaters still represent a small part of the market (2% according to ENERGY STAR® data) and are an expensive product. The recommended efficiency levels for electric water heaters ensure that most models are heat pumps while allowing manufacturers to innovate and develop low cost heat pump designs for the mass market. . This means that once the standards come into effect, consumers looking to switch from air water heating will have a wider range of heat pump options to choose from, including cheaper models than those currently available. these days.

What’s next?

DOE will release a proposed rule on water heater standards in March. The consensus is to inform DOE’s proposal. DOE will issue a final rule after considering comments submitted on the proposed rule. The new standards will take effect five years after DOE publishes the final rule.


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