User Guide: Qualified Products List Explained

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To help contractors and homeowners maximize available resources, Hot Water Solutions (HWS) assembled a convenient user guide of the Advanced Water Heating Specification and associated Qualified Products List.

This guide details how you can use this list, an explanation of product tiers, and the individual requirements associated with each distinct tier.


Information below is originally defined in the Advanced Water Heating Specification, developed by Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance.

The Advanced Water Heating Specification (AWHS) was developed by Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) in partnership with utilities, energy efficiency organizations, and market partners to advance electric hybrid water heater (EHWH) technology in residential applications.

The AWHS aims to provide guidance to manufacturers, contractor, and consumers who prioritize development and/or purchase of products that meet ENERGY STAR criteria in addition to providing high customer satisfaction rates.

The AWHS has evolved alongside changing federal test procedures and market trends, releasing updated versions as necessary to accommodate for a changing market and product requirements[1]. Although the AWHS was originally intended to provide a product performance framework for Northern climates such as the Pacific Northwest, the AWHS has expanded its capability to provide a resource to utilize as a blueprint for regional application.

In March 2022, NEEA released the Advanced Water Heating Specification 8.0 (AWHS). This new specification was expanded to include commercial, multifamily, and a placeholder for future work with industrial heating systems in addition to residential water heater specifications, as previously detailed in the preceding Advanced Water Heating Specification 7.0. There were no additional changes to the residential portion of the specification in the AWHS 8.0 release. The AWHS 7.0 will be available for up to six months allowing adequate time for organizations to transition to the new AWHS 8.0.

Included in the AWHS is a detailed list of performance specifications for EHWHs called the Qualified Products List (QPL). This list serves as a convenient resource for contractors and homeowners to identify currently-available products—as well as forward-looking products—whose performance and supported installation applications meet the latest federal and state level requirements.

The latest version will include two QPLs, a Residential Qualified Products List and a new QPL for commercial systems. Although there is no official Commercial Qualified Products List yet, several companies are preparing to submit products to Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) for future inclusion.

A Closer Look at the Qualified Products List

The QPL includes an assortment of product specifications for EHWHs formally categorized by product tiers. The different tiers correspond to the products performance and supported installation applications, and in some territories determine utility rebates and incentives—generally speaking, the higher the tier, the greater the performance.

Variables including Cool Climate Efficiency (CCE) and Uniform Energy Factor (UEF) are defined in the QPL to provide the reader with measurable ratings corresponding to performance and energy efficiency as outlined in Table 1 and Table 2.

Additionally integrated in the QPL are identifying details for each product including:

  • Product Brand
  • Model #
  • Volume of Tank (gallons)
  • Maximum Recommended Household Size
  • Qualification Date

A column for CTA-2045 [2] Compliant Communications Port was introduced with AWHS 7.0, indicating which models have a compliant communications port built in to the product. In conjunction with Washington Department of Commerce and Oregon Department of Energy, NEEA extended the suspension of the CTA-2045 requirement in the AWHS 8.0, until October 1, 2022, with the possibility of further extension. The QPL will continue to identify EHWH models with CTA-2045 capabilities, however, connectivity remains temporarily unrequired for Tier 3 or higher ratings.

Qualified Products List Requirements

For details on different product tier requirements, reference the Advanced Water Heater Specification 8.0, Section 2.4.

Appendices B – N, located on page 24 of the Advanced Water Heating Specification 8.0, details the testing methods for each of the requirements.

[1] All products previously qualified to an earlier version of the specification shall remain qualified even if subsequent requirements change. Any new products, subsequent to a release of a new version of the specification, are subject to all new requirements.

[2] CTA-2045 has been newly renamed EcoPort.

Tip: As a partner, Hot Water Solutions offers contractors resources including sales and marketing strategies, product support, as well as direct training opportunities with manufacturers.
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