DOE Boosts Efficiency Standards for Home Furnaces and Boilers
November 19, 2007
DOE increased the federal energy efficiency standards for residential furnaces and boilers on November 19th. The new standards apply to the residential versions of gas- and oil-fired boilers; non-weatherized and weatherized gas furnaces; oil-fired furnaces; and gas furnaces for mobile homes. The standards will cause negligible increases in up-front costs for some of the products, such as non-weatherized gas furnaces, and more substantial cost increases for other products, but in all cases the energy savings will outweigh the up-front costs over the long run. For instance, a gas boiler meeting the new standard is expected to cost $199 more to install, on average, but it should pay for itself within 12 years and should save the consumer $208 over the expected life of the boiler. See the final rule as published in the November 19th edition of the Federal Register.
The new standards will become effective in 2015 and are expected to save 0.25 quadrillion Btu over the following 24 years. DOE had considered mandating higher efficiency standards that would account for the potential influence of rising natural gas prices, but the agency was bound to follow a schedule set under a court ruling, and DOE's request to modify the schedule was denied. DOE plans to implement standards for 18 appliances over the next five years, in order to make a wide range of appliances more energy efficient. See the DOE press release and the Residential Furnaces and Boilers page on the Appliances and Commercial Equipment Standards Program Web site.