Residential Water Heating Program - Facilitating the Market Transformation to Higher Efficiency Gas-Fired Water Heating - Final Project Report
Residential Water Heating Program - Facilitating the Market Transformation to Higher Efficiency Gas-Fired Water Heating - Final Project Report. (PDF file, 340 pages, 7.6 megabytes).
- Appendices A-R (PDF file)
Publication Number: CEC-500-2013-060
Report Date: December 2012
Water heating is the single most significant residential end use for natural gas in California. Natural gas is used to heat water in nearly 90 percent of homes and represents 49 percent of the average 354 therms of annual household consumption per the 2009 Residential Appliance Saturation Survey. Nearly 90 percent of California’s 12.3 million households use natural gas water heaters, with 2,111 million therms consumed yearly overall, according to the Energy Information Administration. An average California household could see its annual natural gas water heating consumption drop 35 percent using an advanced water heater combined with an improved distribution piping system.
This research program has helped facilitate the overall goal of reducing natural gas consumption for residential water heating in California with a broad-based set of closely linked project activities:
- Developing an integrated hot water generation and distribution system analysis tool, efficient water heating equipment and piping system best practices, and a design guide.
- Revisions for water heater standard testing and rating methods and updates to building and energy efficiency codes.
- Laboratory evaluations of water heating equipment and hot water distribution piping.
- Field performance monitoring of water heaters and surveys of consumer behavior and plumber distribution system installation practice.
- Advanced water heating system training for plumbing and other trades.
These findings could help facilitate a 3 to 4 percent reduction in statewide natural gas consumption for residential water heating approaching 86 million therms, along with significant emissions reductions and hot water requirements cumulatively through 2025, based on calculations by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. However, recent sustained lower natural gas prices, which were not anticipated at the outset of this program, will limit the cost-effectiveness of many of these efficiency improvements and will slow the market transformation process for achieving these consumption reductions.