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Energy Department proposes reversal of Trump-era furnace efficiency rollback

Department of Energy
Greg Nash

The Energy Department on Wednesday proposed reversing a Trump-era rule that was expected to undermine its ability to regulate efficiency of both residential furnaces and commercial water heaters. 

The Trump administration’s rule  — completed five days before President Biden’s inauguration — was expected to keep inefficient heaters on the market for more time by dividing up the heaters into two categories based on how they’re vented. 

By creating a new class of products for furnaces that had a type of venting known as noncondensing venting, these furnaces would need to be regulated separately and could not be entirely phased out. 

In its proposed reversal, the Biden administration announced an initial finding that the noncondensing technology doesn’t provide “unique utility” to consumers, so it shouldn’t be considered a separate product. 

“DOE has tentatively determined that differences in cost or complexity of installation between different methods of venting … do not make any method of venting a performance-related feature … as would justify separating the products/equipment into different product/equipment classes,” it said. 

Making products more efficient typically reduces greenhouse gas emissions because less energy is used. Depending on cost differences between the products, consumers may also end up paying less money because they use less energy.

The Trump administration took similar approaches in regulations for other appliances, including washers and dryers, dishwashers and shower heads, which the Biden administration is also moving to reverse. 

Tags Joe Biden

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