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GREEN SYSTEMS


Reaching the energy-efficiency conscious consumer: the ENERGY STAR choice for water heaters


the home, just behind heating and cooling. In January 2009, the ENERGY STAR®


R program for


residential water heaters was established. The U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR program provides residential water heater manufacturers, contractors and plumbers with resources and tools to help them promote high- efficiency products that save money and deliver the same or better performance as comparable products. Contractors and plumbers


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offering their customers more energy-efficient products are tapping into the growing base of energy-aware homeowners. Contractors can distinguish themselves from their competitors by tapping into resources provided by EPA ENERGY STAR programs to help consumers assess the benefits of these products and to select the most appropriate options.


How can plumbers and contractors market their involvement with ENERGY STAR? EPA’s ENERGY STAR label is


one of the highest-influencing labels in the marketplace. ENERGY STAR provides free marketing resources for those working with qualified products. The “We sell ENERGY STAR” logo is valuable branding that can be used in advertisements and brochures. A range of free resources are available at www.ENERGYSTAR.gov, including a list of qualified product models. In fall 2011, EPA rolled out an MS Excel-based savings calculator to help contractors and consumers calculate the benefits of ENERGY STAR qualified water heaters, as well as the payback period.


What tax credits and rebates are available for ENERGY STAR qualified residential water heaters? Contractors can help their


customers assess the full value of choosing ENERGY STAR qualified


esidential water heating represents the second largest consumption of energy in


water heaters by introducing them to available incentives. Detailed information on available incentives and rebates is available at energystar.gov/rebatefinder and energystar.gov/taxcredits. Homeowners can benefit from a $300 federal tax rebate for gas tankless and heat pump water


EPA’s ENERGY STAR label is one of the highest- influencing labels in the marketplace. ENERGY STAR provides free marketing resources for those working with qualified products.


heaters, as well as a tax credit for 30% of the installed cost of solar thermal. Many states offer additional incentives for these technologies. (See also www.DSIREUSA.org.)


What other incentives are available to offset the costs of an ENERGY STAR qualified residential water heater? Utilities also offer incentives.


More than 700 utility and state energy efficiency programs are promoting ENERGY STAR to households nationwide and offering rebates and incentives to their customers. Many gas and electric utilities educate homeowners on the benefits of these units. Center Point Energy in Minnesota, for example, has over 250 contractors in their network and offers a rebate of $100 on high efficiency ENERGY STAR qualified residential natural gas water heaters. This year to date, they have rebated over 900 qualified water heaters. In a recent survey of rebate participants, two-thirds of respondents were aware that ENERGY STAR natural gas water heaters were available and one-third


were made aware of the rebate offer through their plumbers. For more information on


incentive programs available from your utility, visit the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE). CEE tracks utility incentive programs for gas water heaters and rebates can be found on the Residential Gas Water Heating Program Summary 2011 page at www.1cee.org.


Are trainings available to learn more about ENERGY STAR qualified residential water heaters? Many manufacturers provide


contractors with training opportunities specific to the sales and installation of their ENERGY STAR qualified products. Increasingly, plumbing contractors are taking advantage of energy and water efficiency training programs such as the Accredited GreenPlumbers Training Program (www.greenplumberstraining.org) to better serve energy aware customers. GreenPlumbers residential audit calculates energy and water savings for new high efficient product installations. Plumbing contractors can then work with homeowners to deliver the best ENERGY STAR qualified product and to maximize the consumer’s return on investment. l


ENERGY STAR was introduced


by EPA in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Today, the ENERGY STAR label can be found on more than 60 different kinds of products, including lighting, appliances, TVs, computers and other office equipment, and on consumer electronics for homes, schools and commercial buildings. Products that have earned the ENERGY STAR prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy-efficiency specifications set by the government. In 2010 alone, Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved nearly $18 billion on their utility bills, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the annual emissions from 33 million vehicles.


phc december 2011 www.phcnews.com


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