Congress passes bill to create uniform water heater energy efficiency ratings, testing methodology; measure goes to president
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MILWAUKEE, Dec. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Congress has passed legislation establishing a uniform energy efficiency descriptor that applies to all residential water heaters sold in the U. S. The measure now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.
The bill, also known as the American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act (H. R. 6582) was passed unanimously in the Senate yesterday. The legislation was approved overwhelmingly by a 398-2 vote earlier this week in the House of Representatives.
In addition to applying a consistent rating system for all water heaters, the bill will require the Department of Energy to develop a test method to accurately determine the descriptor for all types of water heaters including new advanced technologies introduced over the last several years.
"Passage of this legislation will help reduce the confusion that consumers face when attempting to determine the energy efficiency of the water heater they intend to purchase," Paul W. Jones, chairman and chief executive officer of A. O. Smith Corporation, commented. "Once the bill becomes law, consumers will be able to make more informed decisions by comparing the efficiency of the entire range of water heaters that are on the market. It will make it easier for them to obtain available incentives that are based on an appliance's energy efficiency."
"It's also important to understand this legislation supports our national clean energy goals by promoting the use of high efficiency water heaters that reduce energy consumption and therefore reduce greenhouse gas emissions," Jones continued.
A. O. Smith was a member of a coalition of affected industry representatives, leading energy advocate groups, and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) that worked with members of Congress on the legislation.
A bipartisan group of senators and representatives were instrumental in securing passage of the legislation.
Senators Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Bob Corker (R-TN) were sponsors of the original Senate bill that became the basis for the final legislation. Supporting the measure were Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).
In the House, Representatives Jim Cooper (D-TN) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) co-authored the original bill that was incorporated, in its entirety, into the final version of the H. R. 6582 legislation.
Representative Phil Roe (R-TN) was a co-sponsor of H. R. 6582 along with Representative Ron Kind (D-WI). Blackburn and Roe both spoke on the floor of the House in support of the bill.
Representatives Diane Black (R-TN) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) also were supporters of the bill.
The uniform energy efficiency descriptor replaces a standard that is more than 20 years old that created two sets of energy efficiency measures for water heaters. When the original standards were put in place, smaller water heaters were rated using an "energy factor," while larger units were rated based on "thermal efficiency."
Adding to the confusion, each of the two ratings required its own testing methodology, and manufacturers were not allowed to substitute ratings on different water heater models. Advances in water heater technology and improved efficiency testing methods combined to make the older standard obsolete.
SOURCE A. O. Smith Corporation