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Residential Water Heaters

Last Updated: 06/08/23 Click to see brand name products that meet these requirementsopens in new window
Residential Water Heaters

A product that utilizes gas, electricity, or solar thermal energy to heat potable water for use outside the heater upon demand.

Life Cycle Cost Savings

Life Cycle Costing (LCC) aims to quantify the financial impact of a product over its entire life cycle to assist consumers in making decisions that will save them money over the long term.

For most applications, energy-efficient residential water heaters have the lowest life-cycle cost. Life cycle costs and savings vary considerably depending on the type of water heater.

Among electric water heaters, heat pump water heaters are the most efficient type available. FEMP recommends that to maximize savings, Federal purchasers should acquire heat pump water heaters whenever possible. For example, FEMP has estimated that an Energy Star-qualified 50 gallon electric heat pump water heater can save a typical federal user $2,485 in energy costs over the life of the unit, compared to an electric resistance water heater meeting only minimum DOE efficiency standards. In contrast, FEMP has estimated that even a relatively efficient electric resistance model meeting FEMP requirements would save only $145 compared to the same base unit.

Similar savings may be available from other types of water heaters. For example, EPA has estimated that an Energy Star-qualified gas condensing water heater can save over $1000 over the life of the unit compared to a standard model, an Energy Star-qualified whole-home tankless water heater can save 30% of annual energy costs, and an Energy Star-qualified solar water heating system can cut annual energy costs in half.

An efficient product is cost effective when the energy 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.

Guiding Principles
Contributes to meeting The Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings
Additional Guidance

Version 3.2 Specification for Energy Star Residential Water Heaters is effective as of September 22, 2017.  Included products are those that meet the definition of a Residential Water Heater, as specified within the ENERGY STAR version 3.2 certification.  Excluded Products are: Electric resistance water heaters, Add-on heat pump units, Products intended only for commercial applications, Combination space-heating and water-heating appliances.

In June of 2016, the Federal Energy Management Program updated its guidance for purchasing energy-efficient residential whole-home gas tankless water heaters, solar water heaters, high efficiency gas storage water heaters, and electric storage water heaters.

Compliant products not listed in GSA Advantage! may be available for federal purchase under GSA Schedule 51 V SINs 105 001 & 105 002 by visiting approved hardware stores in person or purchasing through the product catalogs of approved vendors.

Potential LEED Contributions

This product may contribute* toward points in multiple LEED v4 rating systems, including areas required for LEED v4 building certification. Primarily, the credits will apply in the Building Design and Construction (BD+C) and Building Operations and Maintenance (O+M) categories. This includes the specialty areas of: New Construction and Major Renovation, Existing Buildings, Core & Shell, Schools, Retail, Data Centers, Warehouse and Distribution Centers, Hospitality, and Healthcare. Specific credits are:

  • Energy & Atmosphere - Optimize Energy Performance

* It is important to note that no products, individually or collectively, can guarantee a specific number of points for LEED Category credit. Each credit will need to be matched to the product by a certified professional.