New National Furnace Standards Will Save Consumers Money, but Stronger Standards Could Save Even More
Energy Efficiency Markets, February 11, 2015
The US Department of Energy has issued a proposed rule for furnaces that would provide significant savings for consumers on their home heating bills, and be among the biggest natural-gas saving standards ever completed by the agency. The new standards would reduce gas and propane furnace energy consumption by about 13 percent relative to basic furnaces sold today.
Improved furnace efficiency standards are a crucial energy-savings opportunity for homeowners and the nation, since about one-fifth of all the energy consumed in US homes goes to operate gas and propane furnaces. These furnaces provide heat for more than 40 percent of homes, and their minimum efficiency standards have been virtually unchanged since 1992.
DOE’s analysis, published this week, shows that efficiency levels higher than those in the proposed rule would achieve even larger savings for consumers, and increase national energy savings by 50 percent compared to DOE’s proposal. The agency cited concerns about potential impacts on manufacturers to explain its selection of the lower proposed levels.
Based on DOE’s analysis, ASAP estimates that typical consumers would save $600 to $800 over the lifetime of a furnace meeting new standards, depending on the standard level. A preliminary DOE analysis published last fall showed that consumers save money in both northern and southern regions, whether purchasing their furnace for a newly built home or to replace an older furnace, and at either the proposed standard level or the higher potential level. An updated version will likely be released soon.