The American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act (H.R. 6582) was passed unanimously in the Senate last week.
The legislation was earlier approved by a 398-2 vote in the House of Representatives.
The bill will assist manufacturers of waters heaters, commercial refrigerators and air conditioners.
As regards water heaters, the legislation will apply a consistent rating system for all water heaters and will require the Department of Energy to develop a test method to accurately determine the descriptor for all types of water heaters, including new advanced technologies introduced over the last several years. The descriptor will make it easier for consumers to compare energy efficiency of different water heaters.
The uniform energy efficiency descriptor replaces a standard that is more than 20 years old that created two sets of energy efficiency measures for water heaters. When the original standards were put in place, smaller water heaters were rated using an “energy factor,” while larger units were rated based on “thermal efficiency.” Adding to the confusion, each of the two ratings required its own testing methodology, and manufacturers were not allowed to substitute ratings on different water heater models. Advances in water heater technology and improved efficiency testing methods combined to make the older standard obsolete.
A coalition, including energy advocacy groups and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) worked with members of Congress on the legislation, and a bipartisan group of senators and representatives were instrumental in securing passage of the bill.