See how these organizations saved energy by replacing or retrofitting their commercial building rooftop units (RTUs)

by Brianna Crandall — April 27, 2018 — The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Rooftop Unit (RTU) Campaign recently recognized seven organizations for their leadership in installing more energy-efficient RTUs in commercial buildings. As part of the Better Buildings Initiative, the Advanced RTU Campaign works with commercial building owners, managers, and operators that wish to upgrade to high-efficiency rooftop unit technologies and practices in commercial buildings, as well as utilities, energy efficiency organizations, contractors, and manufacturers that can assist. Since its 2013 launch, more than 300 partners have replaced or upgraded close to 115,000 units, saving more than $90 million in energy costs annually, says DOE.

The organizations listed below were recognized this year for their considerable high-efficiency RTU achievements. Together these seven organizations replaced and/or retrofitted more than 10,000 rooftop units and installed 5,800 Automated Fault Detection and Diagnostics (AFDD) systems in a single year, realizing an annual savings of more than 50 million kilowatt hours (kWh), equivalent to $5 million. New recognition categories for AFDD and intelligent controls were included this year to align with the campaign’s enhanced focus on operational efficiency.

Concerning the enhanced focus, DOE explains that intelligent controls cover a broad range of features that can be retrofitted to existing RTUs or included on new RTUs, with the purpose of improving operational performance. Adaptive controls adapt operation to the existing and future environmental conditions to provide a healthy productive indoor environment at the lowest energy consumption and energy cost. These adaptive controls may include variable speed fan control, variable speed compressor control, enhanced economizer control, demand-controlled ventilation, and enhanced humidity control. AFDD, “the check-engine light for RTUs,” continuously monitors the performance of RTU systems, identifies faults, attempts to diagnose the faults, and clearly communicates the faults and/or diagnosis externally.

Participant Awards

  • Walgreens: Highest number of high-efficiency RTU installations and advanced RTU control retrofits. Walgreens replaced 3,988 RTUs with high-efficiency units, resulting in over 35.7 million kWh annual savings.
  • Davita, Inc.: Highest number of automated fault detection and diagnostic (AFDD) installations on RTUs. DaVita installed 4,889 AFDD systems on their RTUs.
  • Sheetz: Most innovative intelligent control installations for RTUs. Sheetz applied innovative control strategies that save energy and improve occupant comfort in convenience stores.
  • Life Time Fitness: Largest RTU efficiency gain from integration of multiple building systems. Life Time Fitness has implemented creative solutions to integrate several systems that resulted in significant reductions in RTU runtimes and improved performance.

Supporter Awards

  • Mass Save (with Energy Solutions): Highest number of high-efficiency RTU installations and advanced RTU control retrofits through an efficiency program. The Energy Solutions program reported 6,444 high-efficiency RTU installations in Massachusetts, resulting in over 9.6 million kWh annual savings.
  • Tri Pacific Heating & A/C: Highest number of high-efficiency RTU installations and advanced RTU control retrofits by a contractor/service provider. Tri-Pacific reported 873 advanced RTU control retrofits in California, resulting in over 5 million kWh annual savings.
  • Transformative Wave: Highest number of automated fault detection and diagnostic (AFDD) installations on RTUs. Transformative Wave supported 953 AFDD system installations.

In addition to the award recipients above, DOE also recognized the following campaign participants and supporters who demonstrated their leadership in RTU efficiency in 2017: H&M, Whole Foods, Adidas, Target, Walmart, Ulta Beauty, CLEAResult (Southern California Edison), Xcel Energy, Nexant (ComEd), NYSERDA (with Energy Solutions), IBEC, and Climatek HVAC LLC. Together these organizations impacted about 22,000 RTUs and 6,000 AFDD installations in 2017.

Better Buildings Alliance technology campaigns, such as the Advanced RTU Campaign, involve public and private sector organizations across the country working together to share and replicate positive gains in energy efficiency and catalyze change and investment in energy efficiency. Through Better Buildings, DOE is working to make commercial, public, industrial, and residential buildings 20% more energy efficient over the next decade.

To join the Advanced Rooftop Unit Campaign (ARC), to find energy-efficient rooftop unit systems, or to read more about partner results and the innovative solutions being shared with others in the Better Buildings Solution Center, visit the DOE website.