Manufacturers Criticize Proposed Boiler Standard

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently proposed raising the minimum efficiency standards for several categories of residential gas and liquid fuel-fired boilers, the National Energy & Fuels Institute reported in its Oct. 17 newsletter.

The proposed standards would apply to newly manufactured boilers and would take effect in five years, using a tensile strength tester that evaluates the product’s durability, according to the Institute’s newsletter, NEON, which noted that major boiler companies argue the proposed rule will increase costs without delivering proportionate energy savings.

“If finalized, the proposal would raise the minimum Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) standards to 95% for gas hot water boilers and 88% for liquid fuel hot water boilers. This is an increase from the current standards of 84% and 86%, respectively,” the newsletter said.

Public comments on the notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) closed October 13 after a 60-day comment period. Manufacturers submitted extensive responses outlining concerns about DOE’s analysis and potential negative impacts on consumers if the standards are enacted. This includes R.W. Beckett CorporationEnergy KineticsWeil-McLain, and ECR International.

The newsletter said: “The companies warn the proposed rule will effectively eliminate cast iron boiler manufacturing and significantly increase production costs across all fuel types. The companies criticized DOE’s methodology for underestimating real-world installation costs and overestimating potential energy savings from condensing boiler technology. Specifically, they stated that DOE fails to account for common on-site factors like insufficient building insulation and piping that limit actual efficiency gains.”

NEFI worked closely with manufacturers in responding to the proposed standards.

“The DOE is utilizing the EPCA to aggressively push a political agenda,” said NEFI President & CEO Sean Cota. “The administration sees efficiency standards as a tool to push consumers towards more costly and less efficient electric heat pump systems, even if they cannot afford them” Cota said. “This dangerous political crusade will leave us with an unstable and unreliable grid and increased national security vulnerabilities.”

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