Biden administration wants water heaters to be more energy efficient

The Biden administration is moving forward with tightened energy efficiency standards for new residential water heaters, taking aim at what is the second-largest energy using appliances in most households.

| Updated on: Jul 22 2023, 07:18 IST
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President Joe Biden speaks about tightened energy efficiency standards for new residential water heaters. (AP)

The Biden administration is moving forward with tightened energy efficiency standards for new residential water heaters, taking aim at what is the second-largest energy using appliances in most households.

The Energy Department said their proposal, which would take affect in 2030, would save consumers some $11.4 billion in energy and water costs annually, while reducing hundreds of millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the rules 30 year lifetime.

Under the agency's proposal, the most commonly-used electric water heaters would be required to use heat pump technology in place of electric resistance, while gas-fired instantaneous water heaters would be required to use condensing technology. The rule also sets standards for gas-fired storage water heaters and oil-fired water storage water heaters as well. Overall, the Energy Department said, the rule would reduce energy use from residential water heaters by 21%.

The new requirements come as energy efficiency standards for household appliances have been under new political scrutiny. Earlier this year, a US Consumer Product Safety Commissioner floated the idea of a ban for gas stoves in January, drawing outrage from congressional Republicans and the broader public as idea was condemned as a symbol of government overreach. The White House later issued a statement that said the president didn't support banning the ranges.

The Energy Department, in a statement, noted the water heater standards, which were last updated in 2010, were required by Congress and had the backing of two of the largest water heater manufacturers.

The administration's past and planned energy efficiency requirements will save American's $570 billion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 2.4 billion metric tons over 30 years, the Energy Department said.

Still, the Energy Department estimated the water heater rule could cost manufactures more than $228 million in conversion costs to bring products in compliance and $2.2 billion a year in increased product costs, over the rules rule's 30-year lifetime. The department said the rule would result in far more annual benefits, including nearly $7.9 billion in reduced operating costs a year alone.

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First Published Date: 22 Jul, 07:17 IST