The Biden administration unveiled a regulatory proposal Friday targeting water heaters, the latest in a series of energy efficiency actions that have gutted home appliances.
The Department of Energy (DOE) says its proposal will ultimately “accelerate the deployment” of electric heat pump water heaters, save Americans billions of dollars and significantly reduce carbon emissions. If completed, the proposed standards will force less energy efficient, but cheaper, water heaters off the market.
“Today’s actions — together with our industry partners and stakeholders — improve outdated efficiency standards for common household appliances, which are essential to lower utility bills for American families and cut harmful carbon emissions,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.
“This proposal solidifies the trajectory of consumer savings that has been a key pillar of Bidenomics and builds on the unprecedented actions this Administration has already taken to lower energy costs for working families across the country,” he said.
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Overall, DOE projects the regulations, which are set to go into effect in 2029, will save Americans about $198 billion while curbing emissions by 501 million metric tons over the next three decades. That’s roughly the same carbon footprint as 63 million homes or half of all homes nationwide.
Under the rule, the federal government will require a higher efficiency for heaters using heat pump technology or, in the case of gas-fired water heaters, to achieve the efficiency obtained through condensing technology. Non-condensing gas-fired water heaters, however, are cheaper and smaller, which means they have lower installation costs.
According to the DOE, water heating accounts for 13% of annual residential energy use and consumer spending.
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Aside from water heaters, in the past few months, the DOE has unveiled new standards for a variety of other appliances including gas stoves, clothes washers, refrigerators and air conditioners. The agency’s comment period on a separate dishwashing regulatory proposal ended Tuesday.
According to the current federal Unified Agenda, a list of government-wide, semi-annual regulatory agencies plan to propose or finalize Over the next 12 months, the Biden administration further pursued rules affecting many appliances, including consumer furnaces, pool pumps, battery chargers, ceiling fans and dehumidifiers.
The Biden administration boasted in December that it had taken 110 actions on energy efficiency rules in 2022 alone as part of the climate agenda.
The DOE said Friday that, in total, its appliance regulations could save Americans $570 billion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 2.4 billion metric tons over the next 30 years.
However, consumer groups and experts have criticized the administration for its aggressive energy efficiency campaign. They argue that the new regulations will reduce consumer choice and increase costs for Americans.
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“It’s just spreading to a lot of appliances. It seems like almost everything that plugs in or lights up around the house could be subject to a pending regulation or soon,” Ben Lieberman, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, previously told Fox News Digital.
“Consumers don’t like any of it,” he added. “These rules are almost always bad for consumers for the simple reason that they restrict consumer choice.”