RICHLAND, Wash. New super-efficient rooftop units that heat and cool commercial buildings offer significant energy and dollar savings, say scientists at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. They found that the devices reduce energy costs an average of about 41 percent compared to units in operation today.
The newly published report analyzes the operation of the commercial rooftop HVAC unit known as the Daikin Rebel, which was one of two units to meet DOE's Rooftop Challenge, a competition for manufacturers to create a rooftop unit that significantly exceeds existing DOE manufacturing standards. Daikin Applied was the first to produce such a unit, which was studied in depth by PNNL researchers; Carrier Corp. also met the challenge. The work is part of a broader DOE program known as the DOE Rooftop Campaign, which promotes the adoption of efficient rooftop units.
The PNNL study, done by scientists Srinivas Katipamula and Weimin Wang, is an in-depth look at the performance of the Rebel compared to other rooftop units in use today. The devices are usually nestled on building roofs, far from view but crucial to our comfort. The devices demand a significant proportion of the 18 quadrillion BTUs of energy that the nation's commercial buildings swallow every year.
The PNNL team estimates that if current rooftop units were replaced with devices similar to the Rebel over a 10-year period, the benefits in terms of energy saved and reduced pollution would be about equal to taking 700,000 cars off the road each year. Put another way, the reduced energy draw could idle about eight average-size coal-fired power plants in each of those 10 years.
If all rooftop units with a cooling capacity of 10 to 20 tons were replaced immediately, DOE officials estimate the cost savings at around $1 billion annually.
"There are great gains waiting to be made in energy savings, using technologies that exist today," sai
|Contact: Tom Rickey|
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory