US Government proposes new energy efficiency standards for home gas furnaces

Under the plans, non-weatherised gas furnaces and those used in mobile homes would be required to achieve an annual fuel utilisation efficiency of 95%

Big Zero Report 2022

US President Joe Biden’s Administration has proposed new standards to make natural gas furnaces in homes more energy efficient.

Under the plans, non-weatherised gas furnaces and those used in mobile homes would be required to achieve an annual fuel utilisation efficiency of 95%.

That would mean taking almost all of the gas used by the furnaces and turning it into heat provided to the living space, according to the Department of Energy (DOE).

It adds modern condensing furnaces, which use a secondary heat exchangers to capture excess heat from the furnace’s exhaust gases, make this standard achievable for every American home.

The proposed efficiency improvements would save consumers around $1.9 billion (£1.58bn) annually and over 30 years, reduce carbon emissions by 373 million metric tons and methane emissions by 5.2 million tons – the equivalent of what 61 million homes emit each year.

A consumer that installs a furnace meeting the proposed levels, in order to replace a non-condensing, inefficient furnace, will save $60 (£50) on their energy bills annually.

In addition to 15% of annual residential energy use, residential gas furnaces account for approximately 3.4% of all domestic energy use in the US as of 2020.

If adopted within DOE’s proposed timeframe, the new regulations will come into effect in 2029.

Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm said: “By updating energy standards for many carbon-emitting appliances, such as home furnaces, the Biden Administration is working to save consumers money.

“These efficiency measures not only reduce carbon and methane emissions but also provide huge material benefits to American households in the form of cleaner air, modernised technology and cheaper energy.”

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