7. HEAT PUMP WATER HEATERS
Rheem. With an Energy Factor of 2.0, the Rheem HP-50 heat pump water heater offers an industry-leading Energy Factor (EF) of 2.0, more than twice the energy efficiency of a standard electric storage water heater. For new and replacement applications, the unit has a storage capacity of 50 gallons and measures 21 inches in diameter and 75.5 inches tall. www.rheem.com
In 2009, several manufacturers began aggressively marketing heat pump water heaters, and for that reason Wilson thinks the super-efficient units will gain wider acceptance. “I believe this will be the year that they will finally be taken seriously,” he says.
Available for more than 20 years, heat pump water heaters use electricity to move heat instead of generating heat directly; therefore, they are two to three times more energy efficient than conventional water heaters, but their higher cost keeps many buyers away.
Nevertheless, Wilson says, interest in heat-pump water heaters is growing, driven in part by new Energy Star standards for water heaters that electric storage models cannot meet and more stringent DOE standards for water heaters that are on the horizon.
Several new products were introduced last year, including models from GE and Rheem.
Jennifer Goodman is Senior Editor Online for EcoHome.