Energy Star Removes Gas Appliances from “Most Efficient” List
Since 1992, Energy Star has been the standard for choosing energy-efficient appliances. Run by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Energy Star program rates products that perform well above industry average; they are available for dishwashers, clothes dryers, water heaters, and more. The residential products that go above and beyond Energy Star criteria are placed on the organization’s “Most Efficient” list.
According to a September 28, 2021 memo from the EPA, gas appliances will no longer be eligible for the “Most Efficient” list as of 2022. In some cases, these fossil-fuel-burning products would not meet the criteria anyway, though some gas appliances can still meet standard Energy Star criteria. As the memo states, “For multiple years now, gas dryers have failed to earn ‘Most Efficient’ recognition even at the current level, which is less rigorous than that applied to electric models.” But the initiative showcases the growing concern over the health, safety, and environmental challenges posed by burning fossil fuels in homes.
Natural gas is primarily methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, responsible for as much as 20% of global warming impacts. Though the source of methane releases vary (fossil fuel production, leaks from drilling and abandoned wells, livestock, and more), there are more efficient ways of heating homes and drying clothes than burning gas. And burning natural gas indoors can have significant health impacts, as its combustion releases particulates, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen dioxide, which has been linked to “premature death, cardiopulmonary effects, decreased lung function growth in children, respiratory symptoms, emergency room visits for asthma, and intensified allergic responses,” according to the California Air Resources Board.
Taking gas-fired appliances off Energy Star’s “Most Efficient” lists is yet another step toward buildings running solely off electricity from renewable sources.
Ehrlich, B. (2021, October 21). Energy Star Removes Gas Appliances from “Most Efficient” List. Retrieved from https://www.buildinggreen.com/newsbrief/energy-star-removes-gas-appliances-most-efficient-list