Residential Water Heaters to Get Energy Star Label
by Allyson Wendt
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, water heating is responsible for up to 17% of national residential energy use. Now, for the first time, builders and homeowners will have an Energy Star standard by which to judge water heaters for efficiency. The new criteria cover five categories of water heaters and go into effect on January 1, 2009 (see chart). In some categories, water heaters with the Energy Star label will be significantly more efficient than models meeting basic federal standards—up to 121% for drop-in or integrated-heat-pump water heaters. High-performance gas-storage water heaters are subject to phased criteria, with the first phase representing a 6.9% improvement over federal standards and a second phase starting in September 2010 that will represent a 15.5% improvement over federal standards. One of the most popular types of water heaters, electric storage units, are not eligible for Energy Star labeling. For more information, visit www.energystar.gov/waterheaters.