New efficiency rules proposed by the Department of Energy (DOE) could effectively eliminate less-efficient noncondensing commercial water heaters from the market, Miranda Wilson reports in Energy and Environmental News. According to the DOE, the updated standards would save businesses $140 million per year in operating costs.

“Water heating accounts for a considerable share of energy costs and domestic carbon emissions,” Kelly Speakes-Backman, principal deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy at DOE, said in a press release. “Modernizing commercial water heater technology will slash energy costs for schools, hospitals, and small businesses while removing carbon and methane from our atmosphere.”

For engineers, architects, and facility operators, the new rules come with pros and cons. While changing from noncondensing to condensing technology might require added costs and modifications to how the units are placed and vented, facilities may be able to recoup some of those costs through lower utility bills. Technology developments in recent years have also put commercial propane tankless water heating into consideration as an option that adds both energy efficiency and redundancy — and the new rules could inspire some facilities to make the upgrade.

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