BOSTON — According to the Consortium for Energy Efficiency Inc. (CEE), the possibility of a new federal standard and increased demands for energy-saving equipment have caused manufacturers to produce more high-efficiency residential gas furnaces than ever before. CEE research estimates that 22 percent of all available models are rated at 90 percent Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) or higher, compared to just 12 percent in 1998.

In its High-Efficiency Residential Heating Initiative, CEE defines a high-efficiency gas furnace as one rated at 90 percent AFUE or above. There are currently 22 utilities and energy organizations promoting high-efficiency residential gas heating through the CEE initiative. A list of qualifying products can be found on the Energy Star® Web site at

“We’re thrilled to see the increase in the number of efficient furnaces on the market,” said Stephanie Jones, CEE program manager for residential gas heating. “With more high-efficiency products available, consumers should have an easier time choosing a furnace that can save them money in heating their homes.”

The CEE says that the current federal minimum is 78 percent AFUE, but the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is researching a possible revision, which could be finalized as early as 2004.

Responding to the market trend, CEE revised the performace levels for furnaces within its Residential Gas Heating Initiative in October 2002, setting tiers at 90, 92, and 94 percent AFUE. CEE’s original specification, set in 1998, was 90 percent.

Publication date: 01/27/2003