Finally: A Big Step in the Right Direction for Furnace Energy Efficiency Standards

(This is an update of a blog posted 2/10/15 and to correct the record regarding historical manufacturer support for revised efficiency standards and the consumer savings estimated by DOE.)

The Department of Energy (DOE) has just proposed a long-delayed energy efficiency standard for the natural gas furnaces heating millions of U.S. homes. This is good news for our heating bills and the environment, but it could be even better.

The DOE proposal would set a national minimum efficiency level of 92 percent for gas furnaces beginning in 2021 — which means 92 percent of the gas burned in the furnace is converted into useful heat — and deliver cumulative net consumer savings of up to $19 billion. DOE estimates that the 2.78 quadrillion Btus saved by the proposed standards would deliver cumulative emissions reductions of 137 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.

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