AGA’s Solutions-Issued Approach Ignored
The American Gas Association (AGA) has expressed its disappointment in the Department of Energy’s (DOE) ruling on furnace efficiency standards. AGA President and CEO Karen Harbert stated that despite their efforts to work collaboratively with the DOE, their comments were disregarded.
Americans Forced to Choose
Harbert emphasized that the DOE’s ruling would corner American families using natural gas heat. When their furnaces fail, they would have to decide between retrofitting for electric heat with increased utility bills or undergoing a costly renovation to accommodate a different type of natural gas furnace.
Stringent Efficiency Requirements
The regulations, set to go into effect in 2028, require furnaces to achieve an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) of 95%. This means that manufacturers will only be allowed to sell furnaces that convert at least 95% of fuel into heat within six years. The current market standard AFUE for residential furnaces is 80%.
Market Impact and Higher Costs
The AGA estimates that the DOE regulations would remove up to 60% of current residential furnaces from the market. Additionally, they predict that the regulations would impact 55% of American households, leading to higher costs for 30% of senior households, 27% of small businesses, and 26% of low-income households.
DOE Defends the Rule
The DOE defends the regulations, claiming that they will result in more efficient appliances, lower costs, and reduced carbon emissions. The agency states that the energy standards for household appliances, including residential furnaces, are in line with Congress’s direction to reduce energy use and harmful pollutants in homes across the nation.
According to the DOE, these regulations, along with other initiatives by the Biden administration, are projected to save Americans $570 billion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 2.4 billion metric tons over the next three decades.