ENERGY STAR® Program to Increase Water Heater Criteria this Fall

This fall, the ENERGY STAR program will increase the minimum Energy Factor (EF) for gas storage water heaters from 0.62 to 0.67. The increase in criteria, which will go into effect on September 1, 2010, will offer homeowners even greater water heating efficiency.

“ENERGY STAR seeks to keep its product criteria relevant by keeping pace with changing technologies in the marketplace,” said Steve Ryan, with the ENERGY STAR program at the Environmental Protection Agency. “In a recent poll, 77 percent of people are aware of the ENERGY STAR label and see the value in it. We work to keep the brand meaningful by making sure it continues to indicate cost effective savings with no loss of amenity. Storage water heaters are becoming more efficient, and this change recognizes that fact.”

Water heaters that meet the increased criteria offer homeowners significant savings in gas consumption even when compared to today’s 0.62 EF models, providing up to 14 percent greater savings than a conventional gas model. According to ENERGY STAR calculations, 0.67 EF models only consume 224 therms per year. Gas storage heaters with a 0.62 EF consume 242 therms annually, saving up to 7.3 percent more than a conventional model.

Several gas storage heaters with a 0.67 EF are currently available, including many new products recently developed in preparation for the upcoming change. There are also a number of other water heater models that carry the ENERGY STAR label, including electric heat pump, solar thermal and tankless units.

Plumbers can check with their distributors and local utilities on the availability of new 0.67 EF gas storage models and rebate offers in their area. Visit the Coalition online for more information on local utility rebates and other water heating efficiency news at www.eswaterheaters.org.

Though many of us always look for the ENERGY STAR logo we may forget what it means for an appliance to have the logo. Products and buildings that have earned the ENERGY STAR designation prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy efficiency specifications set by the government. In 2007 alone, Americans, with the help of the ENERGY STAR program, saved about $16 billion on their energy bills while reducing the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 27 million vehicles.