DOE On Target With New Water Heater Standard
Posted April 1, 2010
Remember when I asked you to take action and tell the Department of Energy to set a better standard for residential water heaters? Well, just shy of 10,000 of you responded and it made a difference. DOE heard all of us and improved their proposal for the water heater standard. These standards will not only boost the total national energy savings, but help create a bigger market for advanced water heater technology that will eventually make all of our showers much cheaper (but just as hot).
Don’t discount the significance of this win just because water heaters don’t seem that important. The new standard will net consumers $10 billion over the next 30 years! Hot showers for everyone!
The big improvement is a switch to a higher efficiency level for water heaters with more than 55 gallons of storage capacity that would essentially require advanced technologies to be used. Condensing gas technology and heat pump water heater technology in the largest units are cost effective now and will eventually become cost effective across the board. DOE found that a large heat pump water heater in particular could save over $600 dollars over the lifetime of the water heater. I wrote about how these units work last year.
According to DOE the standard will save 2.8 quads of energy, enough to power 15 million American homes for a year and avoid the need for three new 250 megawatt power plants. The standard will attain CO2 emissions savings of 164 million metric tons and keep a half a ton of mercury out of the air from power plant emissions.
DOE has now laid the ground work for water heaters to move from the simple tanks and burners that have been around for decades to the much more advanced units that will make all of our showers cheaper and more sustainable in the future. With this new standard and the increased use of solar hot water where it makes the most sense, we are going to slash the third largest use of energy in our homes while giving up nothing but wasted energy.
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