The American Supply Association (ASA) announced it supports programs intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and allow for a smooth transition to cleaner energy.
GHGs are defined as gases that trap heat in the atmosphere. GHGs include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases.
Currently, ASA feels the practices, policies and legislative actions designed to reduce the amount of GHG emitted into the atmosphere are being taken in an inconsistent manner through local and state initiatives that are not often coordinated or harmonized.
ASA members are continuously working to manufacture and distribute new higher-efficiency equipment that improves consumer comfort without compromising consumer choice, product quality or safety, while continuing to reduce CO2 emissions. In fact, ASA members offer the most technologically advanced and efficient plumbing, HVAC and water heating equipment available anywhere in the world, ASA Director of Codes and Standards Jim Kendzel, MPH, CAE, pointed out.
While ASA supports programs designed to reduce GHG emissions, it does not support electric-only policies.
“We have concerns that the full impact of total electrification has not been thoroughly considered, and that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is not appropriate for the diverse building stock found throughout the United States,” Kendzel said.
GHG program principles
ASA feels a successful and responsible GHG emission reduction program should be based on the following principles:
Coordination and harmonization of policies: Development of GHG emission reduction programs should avoid significant inconsistencies with existing policies. Not doing so may result in challenges related to market demands and product requirements that lead to costly logistics problems for the manufacturing and distribution of products in the marketplace when local programs are initiated.
Flexibility: The ability to use all alternate technologies and fuel sources that provide reduced levels of GHG emissions to the atmosphere.
Consumer choice: Maintaining options for consumers to acquire products that best meet their needs and requirements at a reasonable cost while still achieving a reduction in GHG emissions.
Consumer incentive: Consideration should be given to providing the consumer an interim incentive to encourage consumers to be early adopters and promoters of the program.
Kendzel noted consumers’ comfort level can vary by season and geographic region, which plays into the electrification issue.
“Nationwide, winter requires significantly more energy for heating than summer does for cooling,” he says. “Today, many consumers with delivered fuel service can rely on a backup heating source if electricity service from the utility is lost. That is why it is imperative that policymakers consider the impact of electrification strategies on the grid, including larger electric loads and changes in peak demand, while also ensuring contingency options so electric-only homes and buildings would be protected if electricity were to become unavailable.”
ASA feels strongly that consumers should be free to select heating, cooling and water heating equipment based upon a number of criteria, including desired comfort, household needs and budgets, as well as fuel type.
According to an Energy Information Administration residential energy consumption survey, about 87 million of the 118 million U.S. households in 2018 used natural gas, propane or fuel oil for at least one appliance in their home. In addition, Air-Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) data shows more than 4.5 million residential gas storage water heaters and 3.5 million gas and oil warm-air furnaces were shipped in the U.S. in 2018, a 4% and 12% increase, respectively, from 2018. This compares to 4.2 million residential electric storage water heaters and 2.9 million electric heat pumps shipped in 2018, a 2.5% and 12% increase, respectively, from 2017.
Kendzel added that at current retail electric and gas rates, switching to electric sources of energy likely will lead to increased operating costs for home heating and water heating equipment.
“Higher rates ultimately put a strain on lower- and middle-income families for operation of equipment that is essential for comfort, as well as health and safety,” he says. “What’s more, in some areas of the country, consumers are not able to replace existing combustion equipment with electric versions without costly home retrofits.”
ASA ongoing actions
In support of its position, ASA will develop education programs to ensure its membership and our members’ customers are knowledgeable about how these activities impact the products they develop, manufacture and distribute, as well as provide them information so they can contribute in the development of policies and legislation in the states that they reside.
ASA also will develop information designed to educate local and state legislative representatives related to ASA’s position and the rationale for the ASA position.