Agency Looks at Water Heater Efficiency

     WASHINGTON (CN) – Due to new requirements under the American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) wants public input to help develop energy efficiency testing methods for residential and commercial water heaters.
     The Dec. 18, 2012 technical corrections act amends the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), which established the Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products Other Than Automobiles. The program deals with testing, labeling, establishing federal energy conservation standards, and certifications and enforcement procedures, according to the proposal. “This program authorizes DOE to establish technologically feasible, economically justified energy efficiency regulations for certain products and equipment that would be likely to result in substantial national energy savings,” the proposal said.
     The EPCA also specifies that amendments to test procedures “must not be unduly burdensome to conduct,” and that a public comment period be offered. These test procedures must also be reviewed every seven years.
     The DOE’s rules specify factors that distinguish residential from commercial water heaters, and the agency specifically requests comments on how to distinguish between residential and commercial water heaters based on characteristics of the product in cases where the agency may be asked to exclude water heaters that do not have a residential use. In addition, the agency is looking at current measurement standards and the test procedures used to establish energy efficiency and annual energy consumption for these products, and wants input on potential new approaches that may be simpler to use, and appropriate for the wide range of water heaters covered under the new requirements.
     The comment deadline is Feb. 11.

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