The YORK brand of Johnson Controls (JCI) is launching a new line of commercial rooftop units that is designed to exceed the Department of Energy (DOE) energy efficiency standards, which will take effect January 1, 2023. The YORK® Sun™ Select 27.5- to 50-ton rooftop units exceed DOE’s 2023 energy efficiency standards by up to 22 percent, while surpassing current DOE 2018 levels by up to 39 percent.
While meeting the impending energy efficiency standards provided the foundation for these new rooftop units (RTUs), JCI also chose this opportunity to incorporate advanced options that would meet the current — and future — needs of end users and contractors alike.
“The 2023 deadline provided us with a starting point, so we knew where we needed to be from an efficiency and performance perspective,” said Eric Newberg, director of commercial product management at Johnson Controls. “But we also wanted to include features that we thought would really delight customers and provide them with greater flexibility and advanced options.”
To discover what end users really wanted in their RTUs, JCI performed a great deal of voice-of-customer work and found that they were looking for more advanced airflow technology, as well as better ways to reduce energy use. To achieve both of these needs, the Sun Select units feature a prepackaged Smart Equipment controls platform, which offers several benefits, including greater efficiencies, as well as four distinct airflow strategies: two-stage constant-volume; two-stage with IntelliSpeed™ fan control; four-stage variable-air-volume; and four-stage with IntelliSpeed fan control.
“Thanks to our Smart Equipment controls, we can adjust and adapt to provide very good, distinct airflow control, and some very good efficiencies come out of that as well,” said Newberg. “We’ve also introduced a number of modulating features, such as modulating gas heat and modulating power exhaust. We're trying to adapt to utilizing only the amount of power required to satisfy the needs of the space in order to provide better comfort and better control within the environment.”
The Sun Select RTUs offer other benefits as well, said Newberg, including a broad range of outdoor air options, including low-leak damper economizers, manual dampers, barometric relief, constant volume powered exhaust, and modulating powered exhaust. In addition, these RTUs have the same footprint as the majority of similar tonnage-range units in the field, minimizing the need for costly, leak-prone transition curbs.
The units also integrate seamlessly with JCI’s building automation system, Verasys, which helps maximize control for extended equipment life and reduced operating costs.
“Verasys is a very cost-effective, simple, but powerful building automation system that can be used in smaller applications,” said Newberg. “It's preprogrammed, and it auto configures based on the products that are installed. For end users who already have competitive smart equipment in their buildings, Verasys can actually take over control of those units as well. As a result, it is possible to create a relatively inexpensive building automation system within the Verasys world that allows end users to build out a true network.”
Sun Select RTUs can also easily integrate into other building automation systems, said Newberg. This is possible through the use of a small, inexpensive communication card that allows integration through BACnet, Modbus, or N2 right out of the box.
To keep these new RTUs affordable, customers are able to order only the features they need for their particular application. This also allows JCI to ensure that the RTUs can be used throughout North America, as they can be designed to meet local building codes, which vary from state to state.
Contractors will also be delighted with many of the new features incorporated into Sun Select RTUs, said Newberg. These include extra-large panels that offer single-side access to all connections, service ports, coil cleaning hatches, hinged access panels, convenience outlets, service disconnect switches, and optional service valves.
“The Smart Equipment control also allows includes a start-up and commissioning wizard to simplify the installation process,” he said. “The optional Mobile Access Portal also offers remote diagnostic monitoring for fewer trips to the job site.”
Sun Select RTUs will be in production starting in May, and according to Newberg, this new platform will be added to and expanded upon over the next few years. This includes possibly using a new lower GWP refrigerant in the future.
“Right now, Sun Select RTUs use R-410A, which is the current refrigerant of choice,” he said. “We're modeling what will be required to switch over to new, lower GWP refrigerants across all of our product lines. We've already been testing these refrigerants and figuring out what it’s going to take to do these conversions. We haven’t announced which refrigerants we’re going to use, so stay tuned for that announcement.”
YORK® Sun™ Select rooftop units will be featured at the 2020 AHR Expo (Booth 3833) Feb. 3-5, 2020, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.
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