DOE Partnership Accelerates Delivery of 90% Efficient Gas Water Heater to Residential Market
May 15, 2006
As part of a strategic alliance between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), TIAX LLC, and A. O. Smith, a new 90% efficient residential water heater has been introduced that reduces the payback time from energy savings and makes the product more appealing to consumers. The A. O. Smith Vertex is a groundbreaking residential gas water heater that combines higher gas input and more efficient combustion to deliver 50% more hot water with lower operating costs.
The Department is pleased to partner with innovative manufacturers like A.O. Smith to accelerate the development and market introduction of products that help consumers save energy and money, said David Rodgers, Program Manager, Department of Energys Building Technologies program. The introduction of the Vertex water heater underscores DOEs commitment to work with private sector manufacturers to advance products that reduce residential energy consumption.
Residential hot water consumption is on the rise, due to the popularity of larger homes with amenities like deep soaking tubs, radiant heat flooring, steam showers and showers with multiple heads. Although higher efficiency water heaters have been available in the mass market for many years, these products tended to be much more expensive than traditional storage water heaters due to the flue standby losses, use of expensive materials such as stainless steel for tanks and heat exchangers, and expensive burner systems.
Developing a heater that uses relatively low-cost, available technologies to achieve higher efficiency with a modest cost premium to reduce the energy savings payback time makes the product more appealing to the marketplace. In order to finalize the specifications for this first-of-its-kind residential water heater, the partners considered the design of the heat exchanger system and increased input rates.
A glass-lined helical coil heat exchanger provides increased surface area which, combined with the length of the coil, enables Vertex to accept 76,000 BTU input while keeping heat energy inside the tank longer, which has been proven successful in A. O. Smith"s commercial water heaters. The end result is a revolutionary condensing water heater featuring: 90% thermal efficiency 76,000 Btu/hr input rate Significant recovery capability to provide endless hot water First hour rating of 127 gph
Energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy will mean a stronger economy, a cleaner environment, and greater energy independence for America. The DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy invests in a diverse portfolio of energy technologies to provide American consumers with a greater choice of energy-efficient products and enhance quality of life. The Building Technologies program works with a wide array of state, industry, and university partners to accelerate the development and use of advanced building technologies and practices.