CEE Publishes Updated Residential Water Heating Specifications

MIDDLETON, MA - The Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) today announces the updated CEESM Residential Water Heating Initiative. The Initiative was approved and authorized by the CEE Board of Directors on December 20, 2022, with an effective date of January 1, 2023.

Water heating accounts for approximately 19 percent of all residential energy consumption in the United States  and 18 percent in Canada , representing significant savings potential from the purchase and installation of high-performance residential water heating. CEE Specifications and associated Tiers serve as a pillar of CEE members’ decarbonization and market transformation goals.  

The revised Natural Gas Specifications and Electric Specifications address the impressive strides made in electric heat pump water heater (HPWH) efficiency, emerging product types (electric split-system HPWHs, electric 120V HPWHs, and gas HPWHs), and increasing member desire for equipment with embedded connectivity and automated demand response capabilities. The specifications are designed to ensure that products recognized by CEE deliver cost-effective energy savings consistent with the objectives of CEE members and their demand side management programs.

Specification Changes in This Revision 

Updates introduced in this revision include, but are not limited to:

  • Increased performance requirements for electric HPWHs, and addition of a connectivity and automated load management requirement for the Advanced Tier
  • New dedicated categories for emerging HPWH product configurations with unique applications: Split-System HPWHs and 120V Electric HPWHs
  • Creation of a new Advanced Tier with ≥ 1.00 UEF for gas-fired storage water heaters
  • Increased performance requirements for gas-fired tankless water heaters
  • Expansion of the optional connected specification scope to gas-fired water heaters 

Enhanced Impact from Federal Tax Credits 

On August 16, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 was passed, naming CEE tiers as the basis for federal tax credits across several product categories through 2032, including residential electric and gas water heaters. Specifically, the Act cites products “which meet or exceed the highest efficiency tier (not including any advanced tier)”.

Regarding the CEE Residential Water Heating Initiative update and the IRA, Executive Director, Ed Wisniewski said, “CEE takes its role in driving energy savings and efficiency for our members and their customers very seriously, with rigorous analysis and consensus building. We are honored to have had our process once again recognized by Congress, this time in the Inflation Reduction Act. This is an extremely exciting and important time in strategic electrification, and CEE will continue to assist our members in moving the needle.” CEE took no action to be named nor to establish the timing of the associated tax credits. CEE is currently working with the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) to reflect the updated specifications and performance tiers in the CEE Directory of AHRI-Verified HVAC Equipment.

For more information, contact Kim Katz.


About CEE
CEE is an award-winning consortium of efficiency program administrators from the United States and Canada. Members work to unify program approaches across jurisdictions to increase the success of efficiency in markets. By joining forces at CEE, individual electric and gas efficiency programs are able to partner not only with each other, but also with other industries, trade associations, and government agencies. Working together, administrators leverage the effect of their ratepayer funding, exchange information on successful practices and, by doing so, achieve greater energy efficiency for the public good.

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