Launch Slideshow

GE. With an Energy Factor of 2.3, the GeoSpring heat-pump water heater exceeds current Energy Star requirements and consumes 62% less energy than standard electric water heaters, the maker says. The unit features a backlit LCD display that allows homeowners to choose from four different modes to adjust to changing hot water needs. A vacation setting drops the systems temperature set point to 50 degrees F to save energy, while also preventing the water from freezing. 800.626.2005. www.geappliances.com.

Tank-Style Water Heaters

Tank-Style Water Heaters

  • HTP. The Everlast electric water heater is designed to be an efficient solution for point-of-use applications such as kitchen sinks. A specially designed cold-water connection allows the unit to achieve long draws of hot water without consuming large amounts of energy. The connection directs cold water to the heating element near the bottom of the tank, minimizing the mixing of cold and hot water. The stainless steel tank is available in three sizes: 6, 12, and 20 gallons. 800.323.9651. www.htproducts.com.

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    HTP. The Everlast electric water heater is designed to be an efficient solution for point-of-use applications such as kitchen sinks. A specially designed cold-water connection allows the unit to achieve long draws of hot water without consuming large amounts of energy. The connection directs cold water to the heating element near the bottom of the tank, minimizing the mixing of cold and hot water. The stainless steel tank is available in three sizes: 6, 12, and 20 gallons. 800.323.9651. www.htproducts.com.

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    HTP. The Everlast electric water heater is designed to be an efficient solution for point-of-use applications such as kitchen sinks. A specially designed cold-water connection allows the unit to achieve long draws of hot water without consuming large amounts of energy. The connection directs cold water to the heating element near the bottom of the tank, minimizing the mixing of cold and hot water. The stainless steel tank is available in three sizes: 6, 12, and 20 gallons. 800.323.9651. www.htproducts.com.

  • A.O. Smith. The Next Hybrid gas water heater combines tank and tankless water heating technologies to operate at 90% thermal efficiency. The unit performs like a tankless model, but a small buffer tank allows it to overcome some of the negative attributes normally associated with tankless models such as minimum flow rates. To maximize the systems energy efficiency, the exhaust gas from the tankless engine is routed back into the buffer tank to extract additional heat into the water. 866.362.9898. www.hotwater.com.

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    A.O. Smith. The Next Hybrid gas water heater combines tank and tankless water heating technologies to operate at 90% thermal efficiency. The unit performs like a tankless model, but a small buffer tank allows it to overcome some of the negative attributes normally associated with tankless models such as minimum flow rates. To maximize the systems energy efficiency, the exhaust gas from the tankless engine is routed back into the buffer tank to extract additional heat into the water. 866.362.9898. www.hotwater.com.

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    A.O. Smith. The Next Hybrid gas water heater combines tank and tankless water heating technologies to operate at 90% thermal efficiency. The unit performs like a tankless model, but a small buffer tank allows it to overcome some of the negative attributes normally associated with tankless models such as minimum flow rates. To maximize the systems energy efficiency, the exhaust gas from the tankless engine is routed back into the buffer tank to extract additional heat into the water. 866.362.9898. www.hotwater.com.

  • Burnham. The Alliance SL indirect-fired water heater is a tank-style option for builders who want to greatly reduce standby losses. Instead of using a flue, the indirect-fired water heater utilizes the power and large heating capacity of a boiler to provide hot water. The unit also features 2 to 3 inches of polyurethane foam insulation and a hydrastone lining to further reduce standby heat loss. 717.397.4701. www.burnham.com.

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    Burnham. The Alliance SL indirect-fired water heater is a tank-style option for builders who want to greatly reduce standby losses. Instead of using a flue, the indirect-fired water heater utilizes the power and large heating capacity of a boiler to provide hot water. The unit also features 2 to 3 inches of polyurethane foam insulation and a hydrastone lining to further reduce standby heat loss. 717.397.4701. www.burnham.com.

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    Burnham. The Alliance SL indirect-fired water heater is a tank-style option for builders who want to greatly reduce standby losses. Instead of using a flue, the indirect-fired water heater utilizes the power and large heating capacity of a boiler to provide hot water. The unit also features 2 to 3 inches of polyurethane foam insulation and a hydrastone lining to further reduce standby heat loss. 717.397.4701. www.burnham.com.

  • Bradford White. The Eco-Defender Safety System Ultra-Low-NOx series water heater is said to emit 75% less NOx emissions than standard gas tank water heaters. A primary-air radiant burner features a super alloy radiant flame holder that assists in the overall reduction of NOx emissions. The flame holders mesh material is said to have superior resistance to oxidation and corrosion, and a stainless steel diffuser evenly distributes the air/gas mixture across the flame holder. In this line, the U4TW models are Energy Star rated. 800.523.2931. www.bradfordwhite.com.

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    Bradford White. The Eco-Defender Safety System Ultra-Low-NOx series water heater is said to emit 75% less NOx emissions than standard gas tank water heaters. A primary-air radiant burner features a super alloy radiant flame holder that assists in the overall reduction of NOx emissions. The flame holders mesh material is said to have superior resistance to oxidation and corrosion, and a stainless steel diffuser evenly distributes the air/gas mixture across the flame holder. In this line, the U4TW models are Energy Star rated. 800.523.2931. www.bradfordwhite.com.

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    Bradford White. The Eco-Defender Safety System Ultra-Low-NOx series water heater is said to emit 75% less NOx emissions than standard gas tank water heaters. A primary-air radiant burner features a super alloy radiant flame holder that assists in the overall reduction of NOx emissions. The flame holders mesh material is said to have superior resistance to oxidation and corrosion, and a stainless steel diffuser evenly distributes the air/gas mixture across the flame holder. In this line, the U4TW models are Energy Star rated. 800.523.2931. www.bradfordwhite.com.

  • GE. With an Energy Factor of 2.3, the GeoSpring heat-pump water heater exceeds current Energy Star requirements and consumes 62% less energy than standard electric water heaters, the maker says. The unit features a backlit LCD display that allows homeowners to choose from four different modes to adjust to changing hot water needs. A vacation setting drops the systems temperature set point to 50 degrees F to save energy, while also preventing the water from freezing. 800.626.2005. www.geappliances.com.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmp4EAD%2Etmp_tcm131-673548.jpg

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    GE. With an Energy Factor of 2.3, the GeoSpring heat-pump water heater exceeds current Energy Star requirements and consumes 62% less energy than standard electric water heaters, the maker says. The unit features a backlit LCD display that allows homeowners to choose from four different modes to adjust to changing hot water needs. A vacation setting drops the systems temperature set point to 50 degrees F to save energy, while also preventing the water from freezing. 800.626.2005. www.geappliances.com.

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    GE. With an Energy Factor of 2.3, the GeoSpring heat-pump water heater exceeds current Energy Star requirements and consumes 62% less energy than standard electric water heaters, the maker says. The unit features a backlit LCD display that allows homeowners to choose from four different modes to adjust to changing hot water needs. A vacation setting drops the systems temperature set point to 50 degrees F to save energy, while also preventing the water from freezing. 800.626.2005. www.geappliances.com.

  • Rheem. The new Fury series gas water heater is one of the first atmospheric models to meet the latest Energy Star requirements of 0.67 EF. The unit uses a 24-volt powered damper to close off the flue, which helps retain the heat in the unit rather than letting it escape up the chimney. The units are available in three storage capacities in both tall and short models, and ultra-low-NOx models are also available. 800.621.5622. www.rheem.com.

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    Rheem. The new Fury series gas water heater is one of the first atmospheric models to meet the latest Energy Star requirements of 0.67 EF. The unit uses a 24-volt powered damper to close off the flue, which helps retain the heat in the unit rather than letting it escape up the chimney. The units are available in three storage capacities in both tall and short models, and ultra-low-NOx models are also available. 800.621.5622. www.rheem.com.

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    Rheem. The new Fury series gas water heater is one of the first atmospheric models to meet the latest Energy Star requirements of 0.67 EF. The unit uses a 24-volt powered damper to close off the flue, which helps retain the heat in the unit rather than letting it escape up the chimney. The units are available in three storage capacities in both tall and short models, and ultra-low-NOx models are also available. 800.621.5622. www.rheem.com.

  • Kenmore. The Elite Energy Star gas water heater achieves a 0.70 EF rating thanks to a patented air intake system. Much like a turbo charger, air is pushed into the combustion chamber and creates a pressurized environment. As a result of the pressurization, tighter baffling can be incorporated into the flue design to slow down the hot gas as it travels through the water heater. More heat is transferred to the water, and less energy is wasted. Both 40- and 50-gallon units are available. 888.536.6673. www.kenmore.com.

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    Kenmore. The Elite Energy Star gas water heater achieves a 0.70 EF rating thanks to a patented air intake system. Much like a turbo charger, air is pushed into the combustion chamber and creates a pressurized environment. As a result of the pressurization, tighter baffling can be incorporated into the flue design to slow down the hot gas as it travels through the water heater. More heat is transferred to the water, and less energy is wasted. Both 40- and 50-gallon units are available. 888.536.6673. www.kenmore.com.

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    Fresh Air Photo

    Kenmore. The Elite Energy Star gas water heater achieves a 0.70 EF rating thanks to a patented air intake system. Much like a turbo charger, air is pushed into the combustion chamber and creates a pressurized environment. As a result of the pressurization, tighter baffling can be incorporated into the flue design to slow down the hot gas as it travels through the water heater. More heat is transferred to the water, and less energy is wasted. Both 40- and 50-gallon units are available. 888.536.6673. www.kenmore.com.

  • Stiebel Eltron. The Accelera 300 heat-pump water heater offers 80 gallons of hot water storage with an Energy Factor of 2.5 and a first-hour rating of 78 gallons. The Energy Starlabeled unit is designed with the condenser wrapping the outside of the tank (rather than pumping the water through the heat pump), which is said to reduce the amount of electric power needed and improves overall energy efficiency. 800.582.8423. www.stiebel-eltron-usa.com.

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    Stiebel Eltron. The Accelera 300 heat-pump water heater offers 80 gallons of hot water storage with an Energy Factor of 2.5 and a first-hour rating of 78 gallons. The Energy Starlabeled unit is designed with the condenser wrapping the outside of the tank (rather than pumping the water through the heat pump), which is said to reduce the amount of electric power needed and improves overall energy efficiency. 800.582.8423. www.stiebel-eltron-usa.com.

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    Stiebel Eltron. The Accelera 300 heat-pump water heater offers 80 gallons of hot water storage with an Energy Factor of 2.5 and a first-hour rating of 78 gallons. The Energy Starlabeled unit is designed with the condenser wrapping the outside of the tank (rather than pumping the water through the heat pump), which is said to reduce the amount of electric power needed and improves overall energy efficiency. 800.582.8423. www.stiebel-eltron-usa.com.

There’s no arguing that tankless has become a buzzword among the green community, and it might be tempting to blindly jump on the bandwagon. But don’t discount tank-style water heaters too quickly. Advancements in both electric and gas storage water heaters are offering leaps in efficiency that are putting tank water heaters back on the green radar.

Pumped Up Efficiency

Perhaps one of the greatest advancements has been the integration of HVAC heat-pump technology into electric tank water heaters. The combination of the two technologies can produce efficiency ratings as high as 2.3 EF (Energy Factor), compared to the current minimum efficiency rating for a 60-gallon water heater at 0.89 EF, making them one of the most efficient water heating options available.

Often referred to as “hybrids,” these units are more than twice as efficient as standard electric water heaters and cost less than half the amount of money to operate. By using an Energy Star–rated heat-pump model, the DOE estimates that the average household can save almost $300 per year compared to a standard electric water heater. The units do cost more up front (about $1,200–$1,800), but the payback period is estimated to be only three years. They also can earn three points toward LEED certification, versus two for an electric tankless unit out of a total of six points available for water heating. The National Green Building Standard (NGBS) awards 7 points for heat pump units with a 1.5 EF and a maximum 10 points for 2.0-EF models.

A heat-pump water heater operates like a heat-pump HVAC system, borrowing heat from the atmosphere. An evaporator inside the tank uses refrigerant to absorb heat from the surrounding air and transfers it to a heat exchanger that heats the water inside the tank. Cool air is then expelled into the atmosphere. The tank includes electric heating elements to provide back-up heating if necessary.