Biden Administration Proposes New Energy Standards for Commercial Water Heaters 

  May 23, 2022

By Dan Hounsell

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently proposed new energy-conservation standards for commercial water heating equipment, including gas storage, instantaneous water heaters, and gas hot water supply boilers. The proposed standards would require commercial water heaters to incorporate condensing technology, which significantly reduces energy consumption by extracting additional heat from the combustion process. If implemented within DOE’s proposed timeframe, the new standards would come into effect in 2026. 

“Water heating accounts for a considerable share of energy costs and domestic carbon emissions,” said Kelly Speakes-Backman, principal deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy. “Modernizing commercial water heater technology will slash energy costs for schools, hospitals, and small businesses while removing carbon and methane from our atmosphere.” 

If finalized, the proposed standards would save businesses and operators $140 million per year in operating costs. Over the next 30 years, the new standards are projected to generate $2.4 billion in savings, with an average life-cycle cost saving of $301 for a commercial building operator of a gas-fired storage water heater. Gas water heating accounts for 18 percent of natural gas consumption in commercial buildings, according to the Energy Information Administration, which is primarily driven by inefficient, non-condensing water heating equipment that allows excess heat to escape.

Dan Hounsell is senior editor, facility group.


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