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DOE finalizes efficiency standards for pool pumps and commercial water heaters, proposes boiler rules

Jan 21, 2024

The three efficiency rules could save consumers more than $1 billion in utility bills every year, the agency said.

The Biden administration has rolled out several efficiency actions in the last six months, including proposed rules for washing machines, refrigerators and residential water heaters, and a final rule covering electric motors.

In total, DOE said it has issued proposed or final efficiency standards for 21 product categories so far this year.

“This Administration remains laser-focused on promoting innovation that saves Americans money,” Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in a statement. “We’ll continue to work with our industry partners to improve consumers’ options and increase the reliability and performance of household appliances and critical commercial and industrial products.”

The final rule for commercial water heaters will save domestic businesses approximately $149 million annually on energy costs, DOE estimates, while the final pool-pump and proposed standards for residential boilers will save consumers about $926 million per year on their utility bills.

The efficiency standards for commercial water heaters were last updated in 2003, DOE noted. The new rules adopt a performance standard “that will require condensing technology for new models starting in 2026,” the agency said. Over 30 years, the rule is expected to result in energy savings of 5.6% relative to products currently on the market.

For pool-pump motors, DOE said once compliance is required “in the next 2 to 4 years” consumers will save nearly $14 billion on their utility bills over the following three decades.

The proposed rules for consumer boilers would reduce energy costs by $188 million annually, DOE said.The most common gas-fired hot water boilers would essentially be required to meet the new standards with modern condensing technology. The agency wants the new rules to come into effect in 2029 and estimates consumers will save $3.1 billion in utility bills over 30 years.

“By ensuring boiler manufacturers use proven energy-saving technologies, the new standards would reduce households’ utility bills while cutting pollution that contributes to climate change,” ASAP’s deLaski said. "It’s particularly helpful for renters, who are disproportionately low-income and rarely get to choose their home’s heating equipment.”