Efficient Water Heating Technologies Can Save Consumers Nearly $18 Billion

Emerging Technologies Increase Consumer Choice and Improve

energy-efficient water heating technologies and practices can save
residential and commercial buildings on average 37% more energy
than conventional technologies.

These energy savings could be worth nearly $18 billion,
according to a new study of emerging technologies released today by
the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).


Water heating is typically the second largest use of energy in
residential buildings, following space heating and cooling. The
study, Emerging Hot Water Technologies and Practices for Energy
Efficiency as of 2011, surveys and examines a suite of sixteen
products and services ranging from heat pumps (50-55% savings) and
high efficiency gas water heaters (30-39% savings) to best
maintenance practices for multifamily buildings (25%


“The technologies we evaluated represent a sea change in the way
we think about heating water,” said Harvey Sachs, lead author and
ACEEE Senior Fellow. “Consumers can now choose among many
sophisticated tank, tankless, and solar water heating systems to
meet their needs.”


Indeed, one of the prominent features of this study is the great
variety of water heating technologies available today: the storage,
tankless, and hybrid units surveyed suggest that consumers can now
select a water heater that not only saves energy, but also offers
hot water service tailored to their needs. For example, in some
applications, point-of-use water heaters can deliver hot water to
isolated fixtures (such as new home additions and remote
lavatories) faster and with less waste than whole-home storage


Other findings in the report include:


• The 11 electric technologies included offer a cumulative
1.6 quadrillion Btu savings through 2025, at an average cost of
saved energy of $0.03/kWh. These energy savings are enough to serve
a typical city of about 17 million people for a year, and the cost
of energy savings is less than one-third of what the average
residential customer pays for electricity.

• Commercial point-of-use water heaters can deliver hot
water to lavatories and sinks in new buildings at a negative
incremental cost to developers.

• Drain water heat recovery devices and on-demand
recirculation pumps can greatly improve system performance at very
low cost compared with standard plumbing.


The water heating technologies evaluated in this study could prove
particularly useful for utility program administrators as they
explore options to meet rising energy demands and satisfy new
environmental regulations. Utilities act as key players in efforts
to bring emerging technologies into the mainstream through their
incentive programs and customer education.


“We were pleased to help sponsor ACEEE’s research to help raise
awareness about new water heating technologies that will help
better serve our customers,” said Ahmed Abdullah, Emerging
Technologies Program Manager, SoCalGas, one of several sponsors of
the project. Other sponsors include BC Hydro, Energy Trust of
Oregon, National Grid, New York State Energy Research and
Development Authority, Southern Company, and the U.S. Department of


ACEEE projects that the majority of measures evaluated in this
report (eleven of sixteen) will prove cost-effective by 2025, the
end of the analysis period. Others will be chosen by consumers for
amenity value, such as “endless hot water.”


“An exciting finding from this study,” said Jacob Talbot, report
coauthor and Research Analyst, “is that there are a great number of
technologies with both large savings potential and an economic
benefit to consumers.”


About ACEEE: The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
acts as a catalyst to advance energy efficiency policies, programs,
technologies, investments, and behaviors. For information about
ACEEE and its programs, publications, and conferences, visit

To read the report, click here - target=”_blank”>http://aceee.org/research-report/a112.

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