With 1.3 million gas water heaters sold to Californian homes – or one quarter of the US market – it is no surprise the impetus for tighter Building Regulation came from the West. In July 2019, Berkeley, California became the first city in the nation to ban natural gas connection in new construction and large renovation projects. Brookline, Massachusetts, Seattle, and 42 cities and counties in California also announced gas phaseouts.
Oregon became the second state, after Washington, to adopt a standard for grid-enabled water heaters. The standard requires electric water heaters to be able to automatically adjust their power usage in response to changes in electricity prices or the needs of the power grid. Nevada legislators authorized their state energy office to adopt similar grid-enabled standards for energy-intensive appliances like air conditioners and water heaters.
While some states are adopting increasingly ambitious clean electricity standards and/or greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals to move away from fossil fuels, opposition remains strong. Laws to protect natural gas use have been adopted in Arizona, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Similar laws have been proposed in Texas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Utah, Indiana, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Mississippi. Considering half of the US water heating market is driven by the sales of gas-fuelled units (USD 3.9 billion in 2021), industry experts foresee a slow shift in technologies.