Tankless water heaters have come a long way in the last 10 years or so. One-third of respondents (33.2%) to our exclusive 2019 Multifamily Design+Construction Amenities Survey (https://bit.ly/3d7lB4y) said they had installed tankless water heaters in an apartment or condominium community in the previous 12-18 months. Sales of tankless water heaters in the overall residential market—multifamily plus single-family—have jumped from 7-9% in recent memory to “14 or 15% this year,” according to Brian Fenske, Director of Commercial Sales for Navien, a tankless water heater and boiler manufacturer.
One particularly robust component of the multifamily market— new urban luxury high-rise properties—may already have swung over to tankless systems, according to Steve Straus, LEED AP BD+C, President of engineering firm Glumac. Five years ago, the tank-to-tankless ratio on Glumac-engineered luxury high-rises was about 80/20; today, it’s 50/50, Straus said. The pace of adoption in this sector could porAMENITIES tend greater acceptance in the broader multifamily market. Despite these positive signs, many developers hold fast to the notion that tankless units can’t produce enough hot water to meet the needs of hundreds of apartment or condo dwellers. Having used tank models for years, they see no reason to switch to tankless. “Investors can be risk-adverse,” said Straus.
After studying this article, you should be able to:
+ COMPARE the energy savings of tankless water heaters vs. tank water heaters in multifamily construction.
+ LIST several additional benefits beyond energy savings of employing tankless water heaters in apartment/condominium projects.
+ DEFINE “UEF,” the U.S. Department of Energy standard for measuring energy efficiency in similar types of water heaters.
+ DISCUSS the financial aspects—initial cost, potential rebates, life expectancy, and payback period—of deploying tankless water heaters in large-scale multifamily communities.