Not satisfied to confine its green meddling to gas stoves and gas generators, the central planners in the Biden White House now want to raise the price of water heaters by imposing new technology requirements on manufacturers.
On Friday, the unconstitutional Department of Energy proposed new energy-efficiency standards that would require electric water heaters to come equipped with heat pump technology, and gas heaters to use condensing technology. The standards would take effect in 2029.
Noting that water heating accounts for about 13% of residential energy costs, the Energy Department claimed the new dictates would save consumers $11.4 billion on their energy and water bills each year while reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 501 million metric tons over 30 years.
“Today’s actions—together with our industry partners and stakeholders—improve outdated efficiency standards for common household appliances, which is essential to slashing utility bills for American families and cutting harmful carbon emissions,” said Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm. “This proposal reinforces the trajectory of consumer savings that forms the key pillar of Bidenomics."
"Leave us alone," tweeted Republican Rep. Thomas Massie, an engineer with two degrees from MIT who's entirely removed his Kentucky ranch from the power grid and regularly shares his clever innovations online.
(1/3) I got back from DC and checked on a few of my farm experiments this am.— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) May 26, 2023
Here’s an automated chicken tractor I invented to pasture raise and protect meat chickens while I am away. They look more crowded than they are because they’re bunched up on the sunny side. pic.twitter.com/72YIV04Kcu
"These products already exist in the free market. Consumers should decide whether the upfront cost of a heat-pump water heater is worth the possible long term savings. In many cases, the monthly savings never make up for the upfront cost of the equipment," he added.
Heat-pump water heaters can save energy, but they make less sense in northern climates.— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) July 22, 2023
That’s because they extract heat from the surrounding air… warm air that your furnace will have to work harder to replace. There’s “no free lunch” from these water heaters in the winter.
Several consumer, energy efficiency and environmental groups rushed to endorse the proposed standards -- and so did water heater manufacturer Rheem.
"Rheem has been part of a broad coalition to offer important recommendations to inform the development of the new proposed standards," said Rheem SVP Greg Miller. Of course, as an industry heavyweight accounting for about a third of the residential market, Atlanta-based Rheem stands to benefit from regulations that would force smaller, weaker competitors to spend money on R&D to meet Washington's new command.
One of those competitors -- tankless water heater-maker Rinnai -- called the standards "technologically impossible" and warned they'd lead to a narrower range of choices for consumers.