Gas Water Heating Initiative


Over the long term, the Initiative goal is to increase market penetration of high efficiency water heaters. This will be achieved when consumers request high efficiency equipment and when plumbing contractors, builders, and retailers successfully promote a range of high efficiency equipment.

Recent government statistics show that market penetration of highly efficient gas and electric water heaters remains very low. While new technologies offer significant energy savings, heightened installation considerations and lack of contractor familiarity with these products hinder uptake. Additionally, gas storage water heaters face significant challenges in terms of cost, due in part to installation requirements. While the technologies used by high efficiency gas and electric water heaters are different, the fundamental market challenges are the same: emergency replacement, consumer awareness, and installation challenges that result in low customer uptake.

These barriers have led members to adopt new approaches in the water heater market and to focus on customer engagement and contractor and consumer awareness and education.


Binational outreach to contractors and installers continued through a variety of channels that leveraged the Coalition for ENERGY STAR® Water Heaters platform. Messages alert target audiences to market entry and benefits of highly efficient residential water heating products. The new platform has significant impact and requires strategic information sharing and engagement.

In light of common messaging with electric products, emerging member interest, and product readiness reports from the Emerging Technologies Collaborative, the Consortium launched a new work area, the CEE Heat Pump Water Heater (HPWH) Committee. Resources produced last year include the CEE Heat Pump Water Heater Product Overview document, CEE Catalog of HPWH Assessments, and CEE 2015 HPWH Program Summary.

CEE specifications enable member incentive programs to recognize and promote the most efficient products in the marketplace. As such, specifications catalyze market transformation along the distribution chain. As these efforts achieve market change, the CEE tier levels must be adjusted from time to time to encourage continuing advancement. These dual graphics show that the increased availability of efficient heaters indicates that manufacturers are engineering more efficient products. CEE member programs facilitate this progress.

Data Source:
These data were compiled over time by layering CEE tier specifications from the CEE Directory of Efficient Equipment.

As the technology for heat pump water heaters has matured, a new opportunity has emerged for electric efficiency program administrators. As demonstrated by the number of programs and the size of the incentives, a growing number of members are paving the way for a binational opportunity to address this technology and explore coordinated messaging with efficiency programs and industry toward promoting efficient gas water heaters.

Data Source:
CEE 2015 Heat Pump Water Heater Program Overview, July 2015,, downloaded February 17, 2016.

How to Participate

Supporting the goals of the Gas Water Heating Initiative requires efforts to increase the general level of awareness of efficient gas-fired water heating options among consumers and contractors. As well, members demonstrate their support of new high efficiency water heating technologies, along with ongoing work to:

  • incorporate the CEE efficiency specifications for water heaters in incentive programs, aligning with at least one CEE Residential Water Heating Specification
  • undertake awareness programs that use the communication strategies developed by the CEE committee

Note: Adoption of the NOx emission specification is optional for participation in this Initiative except where required by state law. It is certainly encouraged.


Alliant Energy


Atmos Energy

Avista Utilities

Baltimore Gas and Electric Company

Berkshire Gas Company

Black Hills Energy

Cascade Natural Gas

City of Palo Alto Utilities

Columbia Gas

Consolidated Edison Company

Consumers Energy

DC Sustainable Energy Utility

Delta Natural Gas

DTE Energy

Duke Energy

Efficiency Maine

Efficiency Vermont

Energy Trust of Oregon


Focus on Energy—Wisconsin


Gaz Métro

Great Plains Natural Gas

Liberty Utilities

MidAmerican Energy

Montana-Dakota Utilities

National Grid

New Mexico Gas Company

Nicor Gas Company

Northern Indiana Public Service

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

NV Energy

Pacific Gas and Electric Company


Puget Sound Energy

Questar Gas

San Diego Gas & Electric Company


Southern Connecticut Gas


Southwest Gas

Union Gas


Vectren Corporation

Xcel Energy