DOE Publishes 2020 Representative Average Unit Costs of Five Residential Energy Sources. Natural Gas Continues to be the Best Energy Value.
Today’s August 14,2020  Federal Register Notice (attached) from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is forecasting the representative average unit costs of five residential energy sources for the year 2020 pursuant to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (Act). The five sources are electricity, natural gas, No. 2 heating oil, propane and kerosene. Below is the representative cost for the 5 sources in terms of Per Million BTU’s and in dollars:
Electricity …………………………………………$38.28 per million Btu or    13.1cents/kWh
Natural Gas …………………………………….. $10.13 per million Btu or   $1.013/therm or $10.52/MCF
No. 2 Heating Oil ……………………………… $17.97 per million Btu or   $2.47/gallon
Propane ……………………………………………$17.81 per million Btu or   $1.63/gallon  
Kerosene ………………………………………… $21.28 per million Btu or    $2.87/gallon  
These costs become effective on September14, 2020  and are used in determining the estimated annual operating cost of appliances covered in the Federal Trade Commission appliance labeling rule. FTC Energy cost labels (yellow stickers) that are required on some appliances use the representative energy cost to provide consumers information on the annual operating cost of the specific appliance.  Note that the estimated national average cost of electricity remains almost 3.8 times more than the cost of natural gasand this natural gas cost advantage for consumers needs to be considered by proponents for “electrification” and natural gas bans and their continued push for electrification by not allowing or supporting removal of natural gas appliances from homes and businesses.
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) and States Threaten to Sue DOE on Missed Appliance Efficiency Rulemakings.
According to a story featured on “EnergyWire,” a coalition of over dozen states and environmental and “consumer groups” have threatened DOE on Monday for DOE’s failing to update minimum energy efficiency standards for 26 residential and commercial “covered products.”  In threatening DOE for its inaction, the Natural Resources Defense Council has made outlandish claims of DOE’s missing opportunities to save consumers “at least $22 billion annually on their utility bills and prevent almost 80 million metric tons of carbon pollution.” Gas-fired products identified in NRDC’s “notice of intent” to sue include pool heaters, water heaters, clothes dryers, weatherized gas furnaces, and direct heating equipment.  Non-weatherized residential gas furnaces, not mentioned in NRDC’s summary of its notice, also has not completed a scheduled rulemaking and would be on a near-term plan for issuing a final minimum efficiency rule.  That rulemaking gives the gas industry a major opportunity to call on DOE to implement separate product class treatment of appliances using non-positive or gravity venting versus those that use positive pressure or power venting (often erroneously referred to as “non-condensing” and “condensing appliances”) based up its formal determination (July 11, 2019 Federal Register) that venting systems provide distinct consumer utility through differences in venting system “features.”  AGA leadership is anticipating a having a meeting with leadership of DOE/EERE on a number of issues and can discuss encouraging DOE to implement its determination to form separate analysis of minimum efficiencies and economic feasibilities for separate product classes.  To date, DOE has not accounted for these differences in its “technical support documents” for residential furnace minimum efficiencies and would need to do so with separate product class treatment.  To get ahead of DOE actions and potential neglect of its determination, the BECS Committee has discussed the merits of filing a 2014 drafted BECS Committee petition for separate product minimums for residential gas furnaces through the petition authority under 42 USC 6295(n). The petition would require DOE to withdraw its current proposal for a single minimum efficiency  requirement for  non-weatherized residential furnaces, establish 2 product classes ( i.e., on-condensing” and “condensing appliances”) and proceed with evaluating federal minimum efficiency requirements for each product class.
The International Codes Council (ICC) Withdrawals  Pro-Electrification Provision Listed in Pre-Order Announcement of the 2021 IECC.
As a follow up to last week’s item on the ICC’s pre-order information that included listing a pro-electrification provision as being included in the 2021 IECC, the offending item has been removed from the pre-ordering information since that provision is under appeal by AGA, APGA and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
AHRI Releases June 2020 Heating and Cooling Equipment Shipment Data.
For those interested in shipment trends for residential and commercial gas and electric storage type water heaters, residential gas and oil furnaces, electric heat pumps and air-conditioners, click here for the August 7, 2020 Air-Conditioning Heating, & Refrigeration (AHRI) Press Release that provides the June 2020 U.S. Heating and Cooling Equipment Shipment Data. You may also wish to share this information with other groups or individuals within your organization that would be interested in water heater and HVAC equipment shipment trends.  
State Codes Activity Update
[This is a weekly feature of the “Friday Update” covering state code calendar activities as presented by the online utility “Fiscal Note,” which is sponsored by APGA and AGA Code and Standards.]
Recent Activity Alerts
The proposed amendments relating to code errors, mistakes or misprints, and/or unclear or conflicting language to the 2019 Denver Building and Fire Code, Denver’s Green Buildings Ordinance, and Denver’s Green Buildings Ordinance Rules and Regulations are available for download and comment through August 31, 2020.
Recent Code Body Meetings
Building Standards Commission
Bills with Recent Activity
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