Propane and the DOE's New Energy and Emissions Standards for Home Heating Products

Changes will save consumers up to $10 billion, 164 million tons of CO2 over 30 years.

In April, Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that the DOE had finalized higher energy-efficiency standards for a number of heating appliances—residential water heaters, pool heaters, and direct heating equipment such as propane fireplaces—that will together save consumers up to $10 billion and prevent up to 164 million tons of certain greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over 30 years. The more stringent standards for water heaters will go into effect in 2015 while the new standards for pool heaters and direct heating equipment will apply to products manufactured in 2013 and beyond.

Good news for consumers, great news for the planet and, as it turns out, good news for remodelers and builders who have been using propane-fueled equipment over appliances that run on electricity or oil. The new standards reflect the DOE's position that lowering carbon emissions goes hand-in-hand with improving energy efficiency. High-performance propane products allow construction pros to meet those standards with ease.

For example, the average installed price for water heaters meeting the new standard will increase by $120; consumers will see savings of $143 in average lifetime operating costs. For direct heating equipment, the average installed price will increase by $81 (offset by savings of $249 in average lifetime operating costs). And the cost to install pool heaters will increase by $103 (offset by savings of $226 in average lifetime operating costs).

The reduction in energy consumption behind those savings estimates also informs the DOE's projections for lowered GHG emissions. The new standards are expected to prevent the emission of about 164 million tons of CO2, an amount equal to that produced by approximately 46 million cars every year.

Under the Obama administration, the DOE has issued or codified new efficiency standards for more than 20 different products. This is expected to save consumers between $250 and $300 billion on their energy bills through 2030.

To read the DOE's final rule on changes for water heaters, pool heaters, and direct heating equipment, click here (PDF).

To enroll in free professional training courses about water heating and propane's GHG profile, go to www.buildwithpropane.com/training. The topics discussed in this article are explored in the following courses:

Go Green with Propane

Water and Energy Efficiency with Tankless Gas Water Heaters

Innovations with Propane Gas for Outdoor Residential Use


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A Return to the First LEED-Certified Home in the United States
 
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