Tankless water heating is one of the most cost-effective ways for builders to “green” their homes. In the state of Colorado, a builder might be looking to follow the Built Green Colorado initiative, which awards eight points for installing tankless. The LEED for Homes certification program, created by the U.S. Green Building Council, gives two points for tankless.
From a strictly economic perspective, the cost of tankless per rating point is lower than upgrading with windows, insulation, or even solar. In short, you are getting more efficiency for each dollar.
By substituting a wall-hung tankless water heater for a tank unit, you gain nine additional square feet of floor space. How much of that up-front difference in price is recouped by that space savings?
Actually, this consideration should go beyond the tank unit itself to a consideration of its location. Because of its bulk, a tank heater typically must sit in a mechanical room. In a multiple story house with a basement mechanical area, you will likely run the venting through a notched-out chase system that is routed through bedroom closets, the attic and other living areas, taking up valuable space in the home.
But a tankless water heater is small enough to fit into a variety of locations, so you can make those vent runs shorter and less obtrusive. Gaining back that extra space has a value to the builder and his buyers.