The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) has praised the signing of the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015, authored by Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). The legislation allows for the continued manufacture and use of large-capacity, grid-enabled electric water heaters in electric thermal storage or demand-respond programs, which were banned under the Department of Energy water heater efficiency standard that took effect April 16.

"This bipartisan legislation is an excellent example of the good that can happen when Republicans and Democrats work together toward a common goal," said Stephen Yurek, AHRI president and CEO. "The passage of this bill will allow for the continued manufacture of water heaters whose energy can be used by electric cooperatives and other utilities to more effectively manage power supply and demand, allowing for more efficient use of energy."

To be eligible, the water heaters must have a volume of more than 75 gallons, have a minimum energy efficiency factor, and work on grids that have a demand-response system. The Secretary of Energy will establish procedures to prevent product diversion if the number of units sold exceeds the number of units activated for use in electric thermal energy or demand-response programs by 15% or more.

"We are grateful to Congress and the President for their leadership on this bill, and look forward to continued work on energy efficiency legislation," said Yurek.