WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced that Daikin McQuay’s Rebel rooftop unit system is the first to meet DOE’s Rooftop Unit (RTU) Challenge specification. Five manufacturers — Daikin McQuay, Carrier, Lennox, Rheem, and 7AC Technologies — are participating in this challenge to commercialize highly efficient commercial air conditioners that satisfy a DOE-issued specification for energy savings and performance. The companies have until April 1, 2013 to submit a product for independent evaluation according to the specification.

When built to meet the specification, these units are expected to reduce energy use by as much as 50 percent over current standards. Nationwide, if all 10 to 20 ton RTUs met the specification, businesses would save over $1 billion each year in energy costs, said DOE.

Members of DOE’s Commercial Buildings Energy Alliances (CBEA), such as Target, Walmart, and other participating commercial building owners have expressed interest in equipment that meets the new energy efficiency specification at an affordable price. DOE is evaluating potential demonstration sites for high performing products that meet the RTU Challenge. In addition, the Department is also developing analytical tools that enable businesses to more accurately estimate the energy and cost savings of using high performance RTUs in their facilities.

The RTU Challenge, aimed at spurring the market introduction of cost-effective, high-performance commercial rooftop unit air conditioners, was announced in January 2011. The specification that underpins the RTU Challenge was developed by DOE technical experts and informed by industry partners.

The final participant list was announced by Dr. Kathleen Hogan, deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency, at the Energy Department’s first CBEA Efficiency Forum, hosted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo. In addition to the announcement, the forum also featured a series of information exchanges on other energy efficiency initiatives that are underway. CBEA is comprised of building owners, managers, and operators that collaborate with the Energy Department and with each other to develop and deploy best practices, key decision-making tools, and advanced technologies for energy savings.

For more information, visit www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/alliances/rooftop_specification.html.

Publication date: 05/28/2012