WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced that as of January 2009, Energy Star-qualified residential water heaters are now available. Five types of residential water heaters will be allowed to carry the Energy Star label: high-efficiency, gas-fueled, storage water heaters; gas-fueled condensing water heaters; whole-home, gas-fueled, tankless water heaters; heat pump water heaters; and solar water heaters.

After space heating and cooling, water heating is the second largest energy expense in U.S. homes and represents up to 15.5 percent of all national residential energy consumption. DOE says Energy Star-qualified water heaters can reduce residential water heating bills from 7.5 percent to 55 percent. Over the next five years, the new water heater criteria are expected to save U.S. consumers $823 million in utility costs, avoid 4.2 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, and achieve cumulative energy savings of more than 3.9 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity and 270 million therms of natural gas.

The new water heater criteria were released on April 1, 2008, to allow manufacturers nine months to partner with Energy Star and submit qualifying models for the Energy Star label. DOE says Energy Star-qualified storage, whole-home tankless, and solar water heaters are available now, while gas condensing and heat pump models will be available later in the year. For more information, visit www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=water_heat.pr_water_heaters.

Publication date:01/12/2009