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Last Updated: 03/01/19 Click to see brand name products that meet these requirements

A self contained fuel burning appliance of less than 300,000 Btu per hour energy input, for supplying low pressure steam or hot water for space heating applications. A heating unit that meets this definition and also provides hot water for domestic or other use is considered a boiler for purposes of this agreement.

Life Cycle Cost Savings

GSA's Green Proving Ground found that biomass boilers perform at 85.6% efficiency at a 45% partial load. Increased loads will increase efficiency. Payback can be less than 5 years, operating at 75% capacity with average pellet costs. Payback varies by system size and pellet costs, with the greatest savings with larger systems and lower fuel costs. Payback can be more than 20 years for smaller systems when pellet costs are higher (more than $300/ton).

GSA's Green Proving Ground found that condensing boilers will outperform conventional boilers by a substantial margin, with a 14% savings in natural gas consumption. Payback is 4 - 7 years at estimated typical cost. At end of life, replacing conventional boilers with condensing boilers is life-cycle cost effective even when only 3 -5 % more efficient than high-efficiency boilers.

For most applications, energy-efficient commercial boilers have the lowest life-cycle cost.  An efficient product is cost effective when the utility costs saved over the life of the product exceed the additional upfront cost (if any) of the more efficient model. Federal purchasers may assume that Energy Star-qualified products and products meeting FEMP-designated efficiency requirements are life-cycle cost effective. However, users wishing to determine cost effectiveness for their application may do so using the cost savings calculator on FEMP's product web page

Commercial packaged boilers that meet the new ENERGY STAR requirements offer end- users as much as 15% in energy savings and about $1,150 in energy cost savings per year when compared to standard models. If all eligible commercial packaged boilers sold in the United States were ENERGY STAR certified, the energy cost savings would grow to more than $1 billion and 23 billion pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions would be prevented, equivalent to the emissions of over 2 million vehicles.

Guiding Principles
Contributes to meeting The Guiding Principles for High Performance and Sustainable Buildings
Additional Guidance

Energy Star applies to residential boilers of up to 300,000 rated capacity (Btu/h), while FEMP covers commercial boilers of 300,000 - 10,000,000 rated capacity (Btu/h).

The ENERGY STAR Most Efficient program identifies the most efficient products among those that qualify for the ENERGY STAR in particular product categories. Product categories were selected and recognition criteria were established to ensure that products that receive this recognition demonstrate efficiency performance that is truly exceptional, inspirational, or leading edge. There are Most Efficient criteria for both gas and oil boilers.

Included products: Residential ventilating fans, as defined below, are eligible for ENERGY STAR® Most Efficient recognition in 2017. Residential Ventilating Fan: A ceiling, wall-mounted, or remotely mounted in-line fan designed to be used in a bathroom or utility room, or a kitchen range hood, whose purpose is to move objectionable air from inside the building to the outdoors. Excluded products. While included in the definition to keep consistency with the ENERGY STAR specification, criteria have not been established for the following products, and they are not eligible for ENERGY STAR Most Efficient recognition in 2017: Range hoods

In June of 2016, the Federal Energy Management Program updated its guidance for purchasing energy-efficient commercial boilers and residential boilers.

On Dec. 20, 2016, EPA finalized the Version 1.0 Energy Star specification for Commercial Packaged Boilers.  The specification includes products that meet the definitions of both a commercial boiler and packaged boiler, as specified by Energy Star.  Commercial boilers with a capacity greater than 2,500,000 Btu/hr are excluded from Energy Star certification.

The Green Proving Ground recommends using biomass boilers in buildings in cold northern climates that use fuel oil and are located within 50 miles of a biomass pellet mill.