OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (AP) -- A spokesman for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory said researchers are tweaking a General Electric prototype for a new, more efficient water heater.
Laboratory spokesman Mike Bradley said the move represents the most efficient of the commercially viable water heater technologies developed at ORNL.
It uses about 50 percent of the power current electric water heaters consume to heat the same amount or water, relying on a heat pump.
Bradley said about a dozen of the units are now being tested by the lab. The units have achieved the Energy Department's Energy Star certification.
The new type of water heater could be available to consumers next year.
Researchers say water heating accounts for about 12 percent of home energy consumption.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)