Effective Dec. 30, 2024, residential furnaces, central air conditioners and boilers will not be eligible for the Energy Star label, as the EPA shifts toward highlighting electric appliances. The move could negatively impact consumer choice and does a disservice to efficient gas appliances.

In a letter to manufacturers notifying them of the proposal, the EPA stated, “With the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, EPA sees an unprecedented opportunity for the Energy Star program to support the national transition to the most energy efficient equipment available,” such as air source heat pumps.

Sunsetting the label will not prevent the sale, manufacture, or installation of gas appliances. However, industry trade associations voiced concern that the Energy Star designation plays an influential role in consumer choice. The decision to buy Energy Star products “is made thousands of times a day across the U.S., often in the wake of a furnace or air conditioner failure, severely limiting the time the consumer has to make a replacement decision. The information offered by Energy Star may be the quickest way for the consumer to make the best decision regarding energy efficiency,” Indoor Comfort Marketing reports.

Boilers share the same fate as furnaces in favor of newer technologies.

The problem with the EPA’s decision is that it doesn’t acknowledge low-carbon fuels such as propane, which helps gas appliances operate efficiently and with fewer emissions. And while the decision appears to apply only to residential appliances, many businesses use the same models, which could negatively impact the commercial market, as well.

That’s why it’s crucial for specifiers and contractors to educate their customers about efficient propane appliances so that they’re aware of the full breadth of options available to them.

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