Few Energy Star Water Heaters Available

The adoption of appliances with the Energy Star logo varies widely between product types, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

For example, almost all televisions and dishwashers available in stores in 2011 were Energy Star products, while few water heaters had the efficiency label.

Energy Star-labeled dehumidifiers and dishwashers had a market penetration of more than 95 percent in 2011, marking the highest rate of adoption. Water heaters, desktop computers and freezers had the lowest adoption in the marketplace.

Energy Star, a joint program of the EPA and Department of Energy, is a voluntary, market-based program that identifies energy-efficient products. The intent is to identify the top 25 percent most efficient options within a product class at the date the specification goes into effect. When the market becomes well saturated with Energy Star-labeled appliances, the specifications are typically updated.

New specifications for dehumidifiers and dishwashers have been made effective in 2012. Televisions, room air-conditioners, clothes washers and audio/video products will have updated specifications in 2013. Water heaters, which are relatively new to the Energy Star program, have little market penetration because there are specifications for some, but not all water heater types.

For example, electric storage tank and electric tankless (instantaneous) water heaters cannot earn the Energy Star label because of limited energy savings potential. However, electric-powered heat pump water heaters can earn the label.

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