(NewsUSA) – According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), water heating accounts for up to 17 percent of national residential energy consumption, the third largest energy end-use in homes behind heating and cooling units and kitchen appliances. As homeowners install amenities that require increased hot water volume, such as luxury tubs and custom showers, the percentage of energy used to heat water will continue to rise.
In an attempt to address this significant percentage of energy consumption, DOE has developed ENERGY STAR criteria for water heaters, the last major residential appliance that the program has not addressed. According to DOE projections, Americans are expected to save approximately $780 million in utility costs while avoiding 4.2 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions by the end of the fifth year in effect.
Five categories of residential water heaters will be eligible for Energy Star labeling – high-performance gas storage, whole-home gas tankless, advanced drop-in or integrated heat pump, solar and gas condensing. The new Energy Star criteria go into effect in 2009.
“The Energy Star program empowers consumers to make smart energy choices that will save money and energy, and reduce our carbon footprint,” said DOE Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Andy Krassner. “Expansion of the Energy Star program to include water heaters will give Americans yet another way to more efficiently use energy in their homes and, in the interest of increasing energy security and addressing climate change, help further the President’s goal of fundamentally changing the way this nation uses power.”
By leveraging the established value of the Energy Star program, DOE hopes that manufacturers will focus on developing more efficient technologies and that consumers will recognize that Energy Star water heaters will deliver similar or better performance than conventional models while using less energy and saving money. According to an April 2008 report released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Energy Star label favorably influences more than 70 percent of households, up from about 50 percent in 2003.
More than 9,000 organizations have joined Energy Star as partners committed to improving the energy efficiency of products, homes and businesses. The Energy Star label now appears on more than 40 kinds of consumer products. A.O. Smith, industry leader for more than 70 years, has engineered a full line of Energy Star water heaters to meet the hot-water needs of households while benefiting budgets and the environment.