Water Heating Initiative
Over the long term, the Initiative goal is to increase the market penetration of high efficiency water heaters. This will be achieved when consumers request high efficiency equipment, when products are readily available at retail as well as up the distribution chain, and when plumbing contractors, builders, and retailers successfully promote high efficiency equipment.
Recent government statistics show that market penetration of highly efficient gas and electric water heaters remains very low. While new technologies offer significant energy savings, heightened installation considerations and lack of contractor familiarity with these products hinder uptake. Additionally, gas storage water heaters face significant cost challenges, due in part to installation requirements and low gas prices. While the technologies used by high efficiency gas and electric water heaters are different, the fundamental market challenges are the same: emergency replacement, consumer awareness, and installation challenges that all result in low customer uptake.
These barriers have led members to adopt new approaches in the water heater market and to focus on customer engagement, contractor and consumer education, and program models that move incentives upstream toward retailers and distributors.
“CEE understands the need to support energy efficiency resulting in grid benefits without compromising customer satisfaction, and recognizes that the Initiative must go beyond equipment specifications to sufficiently address market barriers and customer needs. In addition, the opportunity for consistent messaging that is fuel and technology neutral has great and credible potential to achieve significant savings.”George Malek, ComEdThe CEE Residential Water Heating Committee drafted initial content in 2016 for a new joint gas and electric CEE Residential Water Heating Initiative in response to member and industry need for a coordinated response to market challenges facing both gas and electric water heater programs. In addition to providing a comprehensive evaluation of current efforts to promote energy saving solutions, the Initiative is charged with clarifying program needs to industry and maintaining Initiative relevance in the face of an industry innovating new technologies. CEE worked with members and water heater manufactures to expand the Water Heating Initiative to address heat pump products, including connected functionality. Members and industry achieved consensus that connected water heaters would employ the CTA 2045 modular port or equivalent and that the most efficient products available would be identified via multiple tiers.
Given common messaging with gas products, emerging member interest, and product readiness reports from the Emerging Technologies Collaborative, CEE launched a new work area, the CEE Heat Pump Water Heater (HPWH) Committee. Resources produced last year include the CEE Heat Pump Water Heater Product Overview document, CEE Catalog of HPWH Assessments, and CEE 2016 HPWH Program Summary.
Binational outreach to contractors and installers continued through a variety of channels that leveraged the Coalition for ENERGY STAR® Water Heaters platform. In addition, CEE presented member perspective as part of the 2016 ACEEE Hot Water Forum plenary session, identifying the challenges and considerations resulting from new federal minimum standards and test procedures for residential water heaters.
How to Participate
Supporting the goals of the current Gas Water Heating Initiative requires efforts to increase the general level of awareness of efficient gas-fired water heating options among consumers and contractors. As well, members demonstrate their support of new high efficiency water heating technologies along with ongoing work to:
- incorporate the CEE efficiency specifications for water heaters in incentive programs, aligning with at least one CEE Residential Water Heating Specification
- undertake awareness programs that use the communication strategies developed by the CEE committee to address market barriers related to low consumer and contractor education and emergency replacements
Note: Adoption of the NOx emission specification is optional for participation in this Initiative except where required by state law. It is certainly encouraged.
Atmos Energy Corporation
Baltimore Gas and Electric Company
Columbia Gas of Massachusetts
Columbia Gas of Ohio
Connecticut Natural Gas
Consolidated Edison Company
DC Sustainable Energy Utility
Energy Trust of Oregon
Great Plains Natural Gas
New Jersey Natural Gas
New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program
New Mexico Gas Company
Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Platte River Power Authority
Public Service Electric & Gas
San Diego Gas & Electric Company
South Jersey Gas
Southern Connecticut Gas
United Illuminating Company