Latest DOE actions on appliance standards will cost consumers and increase carbon emissions

(ACEEE press, 11 Jul 2019) Today, the Department of Energy (DOE) reversed course and sided with the gas industry, at the expense of consumers, by indicating it plans to ignore energy-efficient condensing technology when developing future efficiency standards for gas furnaces and water heaters.

This decision is the latest in a series of DOE actions that undermine US appliance standards which save huge amounts of energy, lower bills for consumers and businesses, and reduce harmful pollution. In addition to this rule, DOE is also in the process of weakening national dishwasher standards, rolling back the light bulb standards, and providing a pathway for manufacturers to exempt themselves from product testing requirements.

Today’s ruling deals with efficient, condensing furnaces and water heaters that capture additional heat from the flue gases. A report from the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP) found that condensing technology has the potential to save consumers and businesses over $100 billion on their utility bills by 2050.

The gas industry has argued for years that these more efficient units should be a separate product class, so manufacturers can continue selling wasteful, outdated models. Although DOE has disagreed with the gas industry’s argument as recently as 2016, it is now reversing its decision to side with the gas industry.

Steven Nadel, Executive Director, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE):

“Condensing technology can reduce the energy use of products such as gas furnaces and water heaters by about 10-20%. The gas industry has sought to eliminate DOE’s consideration of condensing technology since at least the early 2000s, but until now, DOE, under both Bush and Obama administrations, had repeatedly rejected the gas industry’s arguments.”

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ACEEE press, 11 Jul 2019: Latest DOE actions on appliance standards will cost consumers and increase carbon emissions