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Last edited 30 Nov 2021
US water heating market update 2021
With 1.3 million gas water heaters sold to Californian homes – or one quarter of the US market – it is no surprise the impetus for tighter building regulations came from the West. In July 2019, Berkeley, California became the first city in the nation to ban natural gas connection in new construction and large renovation projects. Brookline, Massachusetts, Seattle and 42 cities and counties in California also announced gas phaseouts.
Oregon became the second state, after Washington, to adopt a standard for grid-enabled water heaters. The standard requires electric water heaters to be able to automatically adjust their power usage in response to changes in electricity prices or the needs of the power grid. Nevada legislators authorised their state energy office to adopt similar grid-enabled standards for energy-intensive appliances like air conditioners and water heaters.
While some states are adopting increasingly ambitious clean electricity standards and/or greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals to move away from fossil fuels, opposition remains strong. Laws to protect natural gas use have been adopted in Arizona, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Similar laws have been proposed in Texas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Utah, Indiana, Arkansas, Kentucky and Mississippi. Considering half of the US water heating market is driven by the sales of gas-fuelled units (USD 3.9 billion in 2021), industry experts foresee a slow shift in technologies.
The imbalance between the cost of gas and electricity is a clear obstacle to the refurbishment of systems. As most buildings in the US were built before the 1980s, additional enhancements of the building structure are often required to accommodate new technology, adding to the final bill.
Another trend emerging in both the residential and the commercial water heater market is the gradual rise of gas-fired condensing technology, for both storage tank and tankless type water heaters. The upgrade of gas water heater is growing to meet energy efficiency standards.
More information on the world residential and commercial water heating markets is available from BSRIA’s library of reports.
- American architecture and construction.
- BSRIA articles on Designing Buildings.
- Greenhouse gases.
- Heating ventilation and air conditioning HVAC.
- Hot water.
- Natural gas.
- Types of domestic heating system.
- Water heating.
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