WASHINGTON, July 21 (Portal) – The US Department of Energy on Friday proposed energy efficiency standards for water heaters that would save consumers $11.4 billion annually in energy and water bills.
The standards required by Congress for the efficiency of domestic water heaters have not been updated for 13 years. According to the Department of Energy, water heating is responsible for about 13% of both the annual energy consumption of dwellings and consumers’ utility bills.
The proposal would require the most common size electric water heaters to achieve efficiencies through heat pump technology and gas-fired water heaters to achieve efficiencies through condensing technology.
The standards, scheduled to take effect in 2029 when finalized, are expected to save nearly $200 billion and reduce more than 500 million tons of carbon emissions over 30 years, about the equivalent of the combined annual emissions of 63 million homes, or about 50% of homes in the United States, the Department of Energy said.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said the proposal “builds on the unprecedented actions this administration has already taken to reduce energy bills for working families.”
A group that includes water heater maker Rheem, environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council and efficiency and consumer organizations issued a joint statement welcoming the new standards.
However, instantaneous water heater maker Rinnai (5947.T) said the proposed standards for its products are “technologically impossible” and would limit consumer choice.
President Joe Biden’s administration, a Democrat, has issued proposed or final efficiency standards for 18 product categories so far this year.
Former President Donald Trump, a Republican, complained about efficiency standards for showerheads, saying they interfered with rinsing his hair. His power department has relaxed power standards for such devices. The Biden administration lifted the showerhead rule in 2021.
Reporting by Timothy Gardner in Washington and Nichola Groom in Los Angeles. Edited by Alison Williams and Matthew Lewis
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