AGA Welcomes DOE Decision on Residential Furnaces and Commercial Water Heaters
Washington, D.C. – The American Gas Association (AGA) welcomes a decision today by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on residential furnaces and commercial water heaters saying:
“AGA fully supports DOE continuing to raise energy efficiency standards. Designating condensing and non-condensing natural gas heating appliances as separate product classes ensures that homes and businesses have access to energy efficient appliances while avoiding the forced removal of a low-carbon and affordable energy option for consumers. Carbon emissions from the average natural gas home decline 1.2 percent per year, a direct result of energy efficiency improvements to buildings and appliances and driven by the commitment by natural gas utilities to helping customers save money and lower their carbon footprints. Ongoing innovation will continue to make efficient natural gas the option for homes and businesses looking to save money and reduce emissions.”
DOE withdrew its March 2015 proposed rule and September 2016 supplemental proposed rule for energy conservation standards for non-weatherized gas furnaces, mobile home gas furnaces, and commercial water heating equipment, determining that use of non-condensing technology and associated venting constitute a performance-related “feature” under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act that cannot be eliminated through adoption of an energy conservation standard. This decision means that both noncondensing efficient furnaces and efficient condensing furnaces can remain on the market and continue to become more efficient. The 2015 and 2016 proposals would have effectively eliminated non-condensing appliances.
Natural gas utilities invest $3.8 million per day on energy efficiency programs to help customers install tighter-fitting windows and doors, upgrade insulation and purchase increasingly more efficient natural gas appliances. With these significant investments, customers offset over 13.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from 2012 to 2018—the equivalent to removing 2.9 million cars off the road for a year.
Regulations that mandate condensing furnaces could require homeowners to make structural modifications to their home that could impose significant costs. Estimates generated in response to DOE’s prior proposals found that condensing furnaces cost about $350 more than non-condensing furnaces on average and would require an additional $1,500 to $2,200 in installation costs.
The American Gas Association, founded in 1918, represents more than 200 local energy companies that deliver clean natural gas throughout the United States. There are more than 76 million residential, commercial and industrial natural gas customers in the U.S., of which 95 percent — more than 72 million customers — receive their gas from AGA members. Today, natural gas meets more than thirty percent of the United States' energy needs.