The American Gas Association Files Comments Opposing EPA Proposal to Eliminate Natural Gas Furnaces from ENERGY STAR Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Gas Association (AGA) filed comments in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) May 18, 2023, proposal to eliminate efficient natural gas furnaces from the ENERGY STAR program. AGA strongly opposes EPA’s proposal, which proposes to phase out the ENERGY STAR labeling and promotion of residential gas furnaces and that it would limit the certification to a small number of electric heating appliances.

“Customers deserve accurate and complete information on the energy efficiency of all appliances,” said Karen Harbert, AGA president and CEO. “This proposal would implement the very opposite of that —depriving consumers of accurate information about residential heating equipment and leading to higher energy use and emissions. The proposal would undercut the very purpose of the ENERGY STAR program.”

As outlined in the comments, EPA falsely claims that eliminating natural gas furnaces from the ENERGY STAR program would reduce energy consumption, improve energy security, and reduce pollution. Moreover, EPA claims, with no supporting analysis, that there would be significant emissions reductions from its proposal even when source emissions from power generation is considered. Unfortunately, EPA’s proposal may ultimately increase energy consumption, emissions, and pollution.

Discouraging customers from selecting efficient gas appliances could have significant cost implications for customers. A recent AGA analysis cited in the comments found that “an ENERGY STAR-qualifying natural gas furnace energy costs $584 compared to $971 for a qualifying electric air-source heat pump.”

“A sweeping change like this should be backed by data. EPA has failed to provide any data to justify this sort of change,” continued Harbert. “With this proposal, EPA has ignored not only the fact that gas appliances today can be more energy and emissions efficient than their electrical alternatives, but also the potential decarbonization benefits that hydrogen and renewable natural gas can bring to the table. We urge EPA to withdraw this poorly conceived policy,” Harbert concluded.