An Overview of the New Residential Water Heater Efficiency Standards

April 26, 2010 - 12:00pm

DOE issued new standards for residential water heaters last month that will save an estimated 2.6 quads of energy over 30 years. For most product sizes sold, the new standards can be met with modest changes, such as adding more insulation to today’s conventional tank-style water heaters. For the most common size electric water heater (50 gallons), the standards will save 4 percent, while for the most common size gas water heater (40 gallons), the new standards will save 3 percent. However, for the biggest products (those with over 55 gallons in storage capacity, which is about 9% and 4% of the electric and gas storage water heater markets, respectively), the new standards can only be met with heat pump and condensing technology. Heat pump electric water heaters save at least 50 percent and gas condensing water heaters save about 25 percent relative to today’s conventional storage water heaters. DOE expects that the standards on large water heaters will help to “kick-start” a transition to high-efficiency water heating technology. A team of analysts in the Energy Efficiency Standards Group in EAD, lead by Alex Lekov, developed key parts of the analysis of the impacts of the standards considered by DOE, including the Life-Cycle Cost Analysis and the National Impacts Analysis. This presentation will provide an overview of these analyses and discuss key issues that were evaluated by the team, including determination of energy use, installation costs, and product switching due to standards.

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