DOE Announces New Efficiency Standards for Commercial Water Heaters

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced three new energy efficiency actions that will save Americans more than $1 billion in utility bills every year. The Congressionally mandated final standards for commercial water heaters and dedicated-purpose pool pump motors along with the proposed standards for residential boilers will each conserve energy and water while cutting harmful carbon pollution. The DOE expects the final standards for commercial water heaters will save American businesses approximately $149 million per year on energy costs, while the final standards for dedicated-purpose pool pumps and proposed standards for residential boilers will save American consumers approximately $926 million per year on their utility bills. These actions represent DOE’s latest steps—together with the private-sector—to promote innovation and reduce costs for American families and businesses through appliance efficiency, as directed by Congress.

Commercial Water Heaters

The efficiency standards being adopted for commercial water heaters, which have not been revised since 2003, will result in significant gains in energy efficiency and savings for American businesses. For commercial gas-fired storage, instantaneous, and hot water supply boilers, DOE is adopting a performance standard that will require condensing technology for new models starting in 2026. The energy savings over 30 years of shipments is 0.7 quadrillion British thermal units, which represents a savings of 5.6 percent relative to the energy use of products currently on the market. DOE estimates that the standards would result in cumulative emission reductions of 38 million metric tons of carbon dioxide—an amount roughly equivalent to the combined annual emissions of 4.8 million homes.

Dedicated-Purpose Pool Pump Motors

The final rule for dedicated-purpose pool pump motors would lower utility bills by $738 million annually and follows the lead of the efficiency standards already established by the state of California, extending savings to consumers nationwide. The DOE is finalizing this rulemaking, in coordination with our industry partners and stakeholders, to help ensure savings are fully realized and that replacement motors are as efficient as new pool pump systems commercially available today. Once compliance is required in the next two to four years for different motor types, the DOE expects the new rule to save consumers nearly $14 billion in utility bill savings over the ensuing 30 years of shipments and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 31 million metric tons—an amount roughly equivalent to the combined annual emissions of 3.9 million homes.

Consumer Boilers

DOE also released a proposal for consumer boilers that would reduce energy costs for American homes by $188 million annually. For gas-fired hot water boilers, the most common type, the DOE is proposing a standard that essentially would require modern condensing technology to provide efficiency gains. If adopted within DOE’s proposed timeframe, the new rules will come into effect in 2029. The DOE estimates the new rule will save consumers $3.1 billion in utility bills over 30 years of shipments while reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 39 million metric tons—an amount roughly equivalent to the combined annual emissions of 8.7 million passenger vehicles.

The DOE’s Building Technologies Office implements minimum energy conservation standards for more than 60 categories of appliances and equipment. To learn more, visit the Appliance and Equipment Standards Program homepage.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy

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