Skip to comments.PGW, others fight U.S. new-furnace rule
Posted on 03/21/2012 8:05:00 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
With little fanfare, the U.S. Department of Energy enacted a rule last year that will require all new furnaces installed in 30 Northern states including Pennsylvania and New Jersey to be high-efficiency models.
Who would object to such a noble effort to conserve energy?
Philadelphia Gas Works, for one.
The city-owned utility is among several parties that have challenged the Energy Department's rule, saying that some homeowners cannot afford to install costly high-efficiency heating systems and will opt for cheaper electric or kerosene heaters.
They say the new rule, which will go into effect nationwide in May 2013, will have the unintended consequence of inducing some homeowners to choose less-efficient heating methods to save up-front costs.
The government and supporters of the standards argue that homeowners will save money in the long run and that the high-efficiency furnaces collectively will achieve big environmental and economic benefits.
But Bert Kalisch, president and chief executive officer of the American Public Gas Association (APGA), says the long-term savings are irrelevant to millions of Americans who live paycheck to paycheck.
"One does not have to be a proponent of the Occupy Wall Street movement to understand that poverty (however defined) is a growing problem in this country and that the lower-income portion of our population is having trouble making ends meet," Kalisch wrote in a filing last year.
PGW and other utilities say furnaces that achieve at least a 90 percent efficiency rate not only cost more, but also require direct-venting systems that are not well-suited to city dwellings.
High-efficiency furnaces are vented directly through a wall. But in cities such as Philadelphia, where side-by-side rowhouses proliferate, owners cannot vent onto a public sidewalk or beneath a window. So they must vent through chimneys, requiring the installation of expensive liners and mechanical exhausts.
UGI Utilities Inc., the Valley Forge company that is Pennsylvania's largest distributor of natural gas, says that relining a chimney in an urban area could add $1,200 to $2,500 to the installation cost. It says the Energy Department underestimates the up-front costs, which some homeowners might never recover.
Chu gets another A+. /s
“..in the metropolitan DC area.”
I would bet they all live in apartments...and never have had to replace their furnace. That’s for “rich” who own their own homes.
Energy-efficiency nanny-state PING!
They don't worry about economic impact even when irrigation dams are blown up.
Thanks for the ping!
BTW, the price for freon for a/c units has doubled since last year, acc to my cooling technician.
With some high efficiency furnaces, the flue gases are cool enough that you can vent them with plain old PVC pipe. They would definitely save some money in the long run.
I wonder how they justify such a dramatic increase...
.and never have had to replace their furnace.”
I would suspect that many of these folks haven’t a clue as to where their heat and air conditioning come from, or their water or electricity. Rather like all of the people who come to the fair or livestock show for the first time and are amazed to find out that milk comes from a cow. And no, cows do not produce chocolate or strawberry milk-at least not yet.
That’s the all powerful New Deal Commerce Clause at work, folks.