In early 2015, the US Department of Energy began leading a group of 17 stakeholders in a formal negotiated rulemaking for new energy efficiency standards for commercial rooftop air conditioners. The stakeholders included equipment manufacturers such as Goodman, Rheem and Lennox, as well as contractors, installers and efficiency groups. The rulemaking group has come to an agreement, which has been approved by DOE’s Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee. DOE will now work to finalize a rule based on the agreed terms, according to a blog posting by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
NRDC says the new standards will save almost 15 quadrillion BTU (quads) of energy from more efficient equipment shipped over the next 30 years, and the savings will be the largest amount from a single energy efficiency standard issued by DOE to date.
Although 30 years is a long time to measure energy savings, these commercial rooftop air conditioners last for about 20 years.
According to the NRDC blog, updated standards for commercial air conditioners would go into effect in two stages. The standards would require new roof-top units (RTUs) to be about 10 percent more efficient starting on January 1, 2018. RTUs manufactured beginning January 1, 2023, would be required to be 25 to 30 percent more efficient than today’s models, depending on the size of the unit.
The DOE/stakeholder agreement also includes updated standards for commercial warm air furnaces.The new standards for commercial furnaces would require thermal efficiencies of at least 81 percent for gas furnaces and 82 percent for oil furnaces by January 1, 2023.
DOE plans to propose final standards based on this agreement, probably by the end of 2015.
Recently, DOE announced the Advanced Roof-top Unit Campaign (ARC) results of building owners that are replacing or retrofitting the aging heating and cooling technologies installed on roofs of many US commercial buildings.