High-efficiency commercial air conditioners

The U.S. Department of Energy is joining with the private sector to develop and deploy high-efficiency air conditioners for commercial buildings. The new rooftop units are expected to reduce energy use by as much as 60 percent, according to the DOE.

02/10/2011


Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that the Department of Energy (DOE) is joining with the private sector to support market-based efforts to develop and deploy next-generation high-efficiency air conditioners for commercial buildings. As part of a voluntary program, the Department worked with members of the DOE Commercial Building Energy Alliances, including Target and Walmart, to develop new performance criteria for 10-ton capacity commercial air conditioners, also known as rooftop units (RTUs). When built according to the requirements of the new specifications, these high-efficiency rooftop units are expected to reduce energy use by as much as 50-60 percent over the current equipment. Commercial buildings account for 18 percent of U.S. energy use and include significant opportunities for energy and financial savings that can help American companies be more competitive on a global scale.

To help achieve the best-in-class rooftop units requested by industry partners, DOE National Laboratories, including Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Oak Ridge National Lab, will provide technical assistance to manufacturers or developers who want to build the more efficient units. Interested manufacturers will reportedly receive assistance in designing, constructing, measuring, and testing the new air conditioner units produced to this specification.

Manufacturers nationwide have a strong motivation to produce the more efficient units, allegedly, since participating commercial building owners have expressed an interest in buying the new units if manufacturers can meet the new energy efficient specifications at an affordable price with the range of features the companies need.

The new performance criteria were developed by industry partners and facilitated by DOE technical assistance. The rooftop units resulting from this specification will have an Integrated Energy Efficiency Rating (IEER) of 18 and use 50-60 percent less energy compared to the current ASHRAE 90.1-2010 standard, depending on location and facility type, according to the DOE. Nationwide, if all the 10-ton commercial units sold in a given year were built using these criteria, businesses could reportedly save about $50 million a year in energy costs.

Additionally, the units will include advanced controls that support automated communication and diagnostics, enabling wireless communication to the owners' automation systems and ensuring that the units operate at top energy and operational performance levels throughout their service life, according to the DOE.



No comments
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
Water use efficiency: Diminishing water quality, escalating costs; Lowering building energy use; Power for fire pumps
Building envelope and integration; Manufacturing industrial Q&A; NFPA 99; Testing fire systems
Labs and research facilities: Q&A with the experts; Water heating systems; Smart building integration; 40 Under 40 winners
Maintaining low data center PUE; Using eco mode in UPS systems; Commissioning electrical and power systems; Exploring dc power distribution alternatives
Protecting standby generators for mission critical facilities; Selecting energy-efficient transformers; Integrating power monitoring systems; Mitigating harmonics in electrical systems
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.