Energy Savings

Are You Missing Out on Rooftop Unit Innovations?

Why Proactive RTU Upgrades Are Making the Grade

By: | June 20, 2016

I Never Worry About the Future, It Comes Soon Enough

Albert Einstein had a way with words and big ideas. Always on the cusp of where today and tomorrow transact, his sentiment holds true today. Innovative technology keeps presenting itself in new and bold ways. This is now especially true in the commercial HVAC world.

Today advanced rooftop units (RTU) are delivering new levels of energy savings that weren’t possible just ten years ago. In fact older, inefficient units can waste from $900 to $3,700 per unit annually, depending on the size and type of your building.1 Good reasons to be proactive about replacing or retrofitting your RTUs.

Part load performance improvements driving today’s advancements

Because RTUs spend most of their time operating at part load, leveraging technology advancements that deliver results in this mode have been especially fruitful. The biggest contributor has been variable speed fans, which allow for electrical savings by moderating the fan speed according to the load required. Also larger evaporator and condenser coils provide more effective heat transfer surface areas. And more efficient compressors along with improved controls are creating more effective operating outcomes that result in lower energy use. This all adds up to substantial improvements for the Integrated Energy Efficiency Ratio (IEER) for RTUs.

New awareness effort

By replacing or retrofitting these rooftop units, you can save money, improve your energy efficiency and you may even help your building be more comfortable and productive. Plus as a building management organization, there may be opportunities to include RTU usage and operations language in your lease agreement. Behind this is a joint effort involving ASHRAE, a building technology society of more than 50,000 members worldwide, RILA the Retail Industry Leaders Association representing the nation’s largest retailers and The U.S. Department of Energy. Learn more at the Advanced RTU website. Here’s where you can read case studies that showcase real life results, like these:

  • 40 Target stores replace RTUs to save 13 million kWh (kilowatt hours) per year, resulting in savings of over $1.3 million annually
  • Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. made 238 high-efficiency RTU replacements across 900 stores, resulting in an estimated savings of 1.4 million kWh, worth $140,000 annually

Your chance to save and shine

The Advanced RTU Campaign (ARC) encourages commercial building owners and operators to replace their old RTUs with more efficient units or to retrofit their RTUs with advanced controls in order to take advantage of these benefits. If you’re so inclined, you can even contribute your success to the HVAC world at the Advanced RTU website.

Talk to your HVAC specialist to see what type of RTU upgrade could save your business the most and visit Xcel Energy to learn about rebates which may be available for your project.

  • U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy,

A self-professed energy nerd, Paul loves to explore how technology trends are bringing convenience and surprising benefits to our lives.