Hot water systems

EECA is leading a joint project with Australia to improve the energy efficiency of water heating in residential households under the Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) Programme.

A policy framework and five year roadmap has been developed to show industry and consumers how both New Zealand and Australian Governments will work with them to achieve energy efficient hot water systems to reduce household emissions and save on energy costs.

Why are we reviewing hot water systems?

  • Hot water makes up 23% of residential energy use in Australia and 28% in New Zealand.
  • Consumers do not have the appropriate information to make informed choices about the energy use of hot water systems and their impact on greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) date back to 1999 for electric and gas storage water heaters and are overdue for review. Other water heaters are not subject to MEPS.
  • There is no agreed or consistent way of comparing products across technologies or incorporating new developments in water heating, although there are some industry-based systems.

What outcome are we seeking?

A review of the hot water policy will offer a number of potential benefits and opportunities for change, including:

  • Consistent regulation of all hot water systems available for purchase irrespective of technology type
  • Consistent, mandatory energy labelling allows consumers and installers greater access to information to make well informed purchasing decisions
  • Changes to consumer purchasing behaviours to favour more energy efficient Hot Water products will reduce household energy bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Greater alignment of the standards and regulations for Hot Water products across Australia and New Zealand with potential to use international standards and test methods

How is this work happening?

Government wants to work with the hot water industry to come up with practical and effective solutions.

The first phase of the project was the development of a policy framework and roadmap to inform a comprehensive and structured strategic plan for new standards and information (labelling and online comparison tools) of hot water systems - these are available below.

Industry and stakeholder engagement

Stakeholders were invited to comment on the discussion document and the proposed policy framework document. 24 written submissions were received from a range of interested persons and organisations with diverse perspectives.

We are also looking to establish a technical working group and a stakeholder reference group. These groups will include officials, experts and sector representatives from government, industry and consumer groups.

The Technical Working Group will focus on measurement methodologies and will be a key technical resource. The Stakeholder Reference Group is a feedback group that will enable policy measures to be tested and issues raised.

What systems are being reviewed?

  • Electric storage
  • Gas storage
  • Instantaneous gas
  • Heat pump technology
  • Instantaneous electric
  • Solar hot water with electric boost

How will consumers benefit?

New standards and better information (labelling and online comparison tools) on hot water systems can save households money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, there is a lack of information for people to compare water heating options and make an informed choice on running costs.