WASHINGTON, July 21 (Reuters) – The U.S. Energy Department on Friday proposed energy efficiency standards for water heaters that it said would save consumers $11.4 billion on energy and water bills annually.
The standards for residential water heater efficiency, required by Congress, have not been updated in 13 years. Water heating is responsible for about 13% of both annual residential energy use and utility costs, the DOE said.
The proposal will require electric water heaters in the most common sizes to achieve efficiency gains with heat pump technology and gas heaters to achieve efficiency gains through condensing technology.
The standards, which would take effect in 2029 if completed, are expected to save nearly $200 billion and reduce more than 500 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions over 30 years, roughly equal to the combined annual emissions of 63 million homes, or about 50% of U.S. housing, the DOE said.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said the proposal “builds on the unprecedented actions already taken by this administration to lower energy costs for working families.”
A group including water heater manufacturer Rheem, the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council and efficiency and consumer organizations issued a joint statement welcoming the new standards.
However, tankless water heater maker Rinnai ( 5947.T ) said the proposed standards for its products were “technologically impossible” and would reduce consumer choice.
The administration of President Joe Biden, 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 shower heads, saying they interfered with the rinsing of his hair. His energy department eased the energy standards for such fixtures. The Biden administration reversed the showerhead rule in 2021.
Reporting by Timothy Gardner in Washington and Nichola Groom in Los Angeles Editing by Alison Williams and Matthew Lewis
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