U.S. EPA Withdraws Proposal to Sunset Energy Star Certification for Oil-fired and Gas Furnaces

Last week, the EPA announced that it is withdrawing its previous proposal to sunset the Energy Star specification for oil and gas fired furnaces. Instead, the agency is moving forward with an updated oil fired and gas Energy Star specifications in a new proposal. Energy Star certification is important because it promotes high efficiency appliances that consumers often favor due to lower operational costs. The EPA proposed to remove the Energy Star certification from oil and gas fired furnaces last year as part of the Biden Administration’s move away from fossil fuels in favor of carbon neutral renewable fuels. EMA submitted comments to the EPA opposing the sunset of oil-fired furnaces and asked for a new Energy Star specification for dual fuel heat pump and oil-fired furnace systems that customers prefer in colder regions in the Northeast.

Key parts of the EPA’s new proposal include:

  • An increase in stringency for the oil furnace requirement to 87 AFUE. While more stringent than the eligibility requirements for federal tax credits, this level offers a consumer pay back of less than two years.
  • An increase in stringency for the gas furnace requirement to 97 AFUE.
  • A proposal to eliminate the regional distinction for Energy Star furnaces, to align with current minimum efficiency standards and simplify program administration and participation. Sales data reported to the EPA indicates that consumers are generally not taking advantage of the U.S. South performance level.
  • Finalize a test procedure, evaluate performance data and develop a proposed specification for heat pump/oil furnace dual fuel heating systems. Since the furnaces in these systems will run on a limited basis, the EPA is considering a lower furnace efficiency in the interest of overall cost.

According to the EPA, increasing the gas furnace efficiency requirement will align the Energy Star specification with eligibility requirements for Section 25C tax credits established under the Inflation Reduction Act. Energy Star certified oil furnaces will remain eligible for 25C tax credits. The EPA has posted a new webinar detailing the new Energy Star specifications for oil-fired and gas furnaces.