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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release April 19, 2000

Washington, D.C. -- Vice President Al Gore today announced proposed standards to improve the energy efficiency of residential water heaters that would result in consumer savings of more than $23 billion in energy over the next two decades. The standards as currently drafted are also expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 36 million metric tons over the next 20 years, the equivalent of taking 28 million cars off the road.

"As a nation, we spend approximately $20 billion to heat water each year, accounting for about 14 percent of all household energy consumed," Vice President Gore said. "These new standards will help save consumers money on energy bills and reduce greenhouse gases and other pollution."

Under the proposed rule, all new residential water heaters, whether manufactured in the US or imported, would need to meet the new standards by the beginning of 2004. Over the life of the new water heaters, the average consumer will save more than $100 in energy costs.

The water heater standards announced today are part of the Department of Energy's Lighting and Appliance Standards Program. DOE expects to issue energy efficiency rules for clothes washers, fluorescent lamp ballasts, residential central air conditioners, and for commercial heating and air conditioning which would nearly triple the energy savings announced today.

"These efforts reflect our commitment to use the latest technologies to promote energy security, consumer savings and environmental protection," the Vice President said.

By 2020, the proposed water heater standards would reduce electricity use annually by the equivalent of what is generated in a year by three large coal-fired power plants.

The proposed standards, to be published in the Federal Register on April 28, 2000, are based on a detailed economic analysis performed by the Department of Energy. DOE will hold a public hearing on the standards on June 20, 2000 in Washington, D.C. DOE expects to issue a final rule by the end of this year.

For more information, visit the DOE Clean Energy for the 21st Century web page at