Retailer Energy Alliance Supplier Summit Webinar—Western Cooling Challenge Presentation (Text Version)

Below is the text version of the Western Cooling Challenge presentation from the Retailer Energy Alliance (REA) Supplier Summit Webinar, presented on June 5, 2008. Richard Bourne from the Western Cooling Challenge was the presenter. You can also view the slides for this presentation (PDF 112 KB). Download Adobe Reader.

(Slide 1)

Doug Brookman:

So we're going to shift gears now and we're going to move into the challenge phase and the wrap-up phase. We have one more presentation from Richard Bourne, who is with the University of California, Davis and he's going to talk about the Western Cooling Challenge.

Richard Bourne:

It's great to be here. This really an exciting event. I know this whole organization was just a figment of a few forward-thinking minds a few years ago and I think we know who some of those people are, but kudos to you who've made it come this far and of course it can go a lot further.

With that, I'm going to express appreciation for the opportunity to introduce the Western Cooling Challenge. I'm going to make my small talk smaller because the reception starts in ten minutes and I don't want to be in the way of that.

We're a relatively new organization that's partnering to accelerate the implementation of new cooling technologies that make sense for dry climates. We are a partner organization to the California Lighting Technologies Center, which some of you may be familiar with. They've been in existence longer than we. They have a very successful track record at taking new technologies, helping get them across the valley of death that we talk about in California and into the marketplace. By partnering with manufacturers, researchers, utilities, regulators, all the stakeholders in the process that are needed to create the right path for a new technology that makes sense.

(Slide 2)
So it's all about partnering and that's our focus. A lot of our effort goes to reducing cooling demand because we have a unique — we think, flawed — electricity system and it's most visible in the West, where we expect our electric utilities to provide all the capacity necessary to handle whatever loads we throw at them. And if you were a businessman, and faced a situation where someone could throw a load pattern like say, residential cooling where the load factor is 7% and you as a businessman — how would you respond? Well, you'd charge them an awful lot for the product because they're not using this new generator that you're having to install for them enough to justify it unless they pay a big price. So, we all know a lot of this stuff is no-brainers. In California for example cooling is the source of the peak demands that are 35% higher in our state, system-wide and I think that's a pattern that probably plays out pretty much through the West. We know it's due to cooling and we need to start thinking about cooling energy efficiency and cooling demand reduction as distributed generation and be willing to pay as much for cooling efficiency and cooling demand reduction as we are for new generators, which, after all, use fuel and when we look at the global warming issues, greenhouse gas reduction, needs and so on, it just makes sense to invest more in technologies that reduce peak demand.

So that's my soap box. I'll get off that now.

(Slide 3)
At the Western Cooling Efficiency Center, we've established some goals for the western states. Time is short, I'm not going to go through these goals in detail; they're fairly aggressive, particularly with respect to new buildings where we hope by 2030, to reduce peak demand impact of cooling systems to zero. Obviously that requires putting these advanced cooling systems together with some renewables, but we think that's pretty doable because some of these systems can have minimal impact on peak, particularly when we get to the thermal storage solutions that are probably the best long-term solution for us.

(Slide 4)
So, we're focusing, initially, and with this initiative on rooftop units, because they play a big role in the West. The ones that are being installed today are not optimized for dry climates, these rooftop units will work in Miami and they'll work in Palm Springs and that's leaving some potential energy efficiency benefits on the table. We think that this mission, as our first challenge, is one that — and we will have others, pending reasonable takeup on this one — we think that we can have the most impact in the shortest time with this one because of the opportunity that we see before us today with the retailers who can really take advantage of improved technologies when they become available.

(Slide 5)
Why are we focused on dry climates? Well, we live in one and we always are influenced mostly by the climates we live in. But we see opportunities being neglected. In many cases, we're dehumidifying buildings that don't need to be dehumidified, we are using a lot more blower energy than necessary because the blowers are sized to handle the peak cooling loads, which are affected significantly. Scott pointed out at their peak condition, 42% of the cooling is going to outdoor air. Well, if we can use some intelligent processes to pre-cool outdoor air, then we don't need as much blower energy and with fixed speed blowers, that energy plays out through all occupancy hours. So, reducing the peaks helps us reduce full year energy use from blowers.

Heat recovery from exhaust air is an opportunity in many facilities, depending on what the overall air flow strategy is, but I'd like to talk about hybrid cooling systems, which combine some natural or evaporative cooling in the West with compressor-based cooling and there are interesting analogies to hybrid vehicles and I like to say that using the exhaust air from the building is the regenerative braking equivalent for HVAC. And then we can certainly improve economizers — there've been a number of important studies that show that while they're required, they don't work very well, for some technical reasons.

(Slide 6)
So, we're hoping with this challenge to emphasize the opportunities that we see and to create some publicity that carries our case over into other possible applications. So basically, this challenge is to the HVAC industry, both U.S. and international, to develop rooftop units that are better for the dry Western climates and we think there's a large market opportunity for firms that do that.

One of the things that we think is likely is that these units will have to bring water onboard. And we don't see packaged equipment in the 30 ton and under size range today that has — or if we do, there are very few — that takes advantage of the opportunities to use water to improve efficiency for cooling. So, we expect that that's going to be an important piece and we're very focused at the cooling center on helping with the, with the maintenance and water use issues that always some up when you talk about water-based cooling. But the last bullet here, again, emphasizes that we think a partnering approach can be successful and our role then is to suggest the opportunity to evaluate the technologies that are being developed and to help bring utility incentives and regulatory processes that accelerate the opportunity.

(Slide 7)
So we've got some specific requirements for units to participate in this challenge. I won't go through the numbers here because many of you aren't probably HVAC people anyway. But these performance requirements, which we have spent many, many months vetting to be sure they're achievable, are on the low side of what is possible. We think cost-effectively they still represent in the peak demand situation that we're suggesting about a 47% reduction in peak energy consumption, compared to a minimal DOE compliant rooftop unit today in the 20-ton size range. And on a seasonal basis, we believe we'll reduce annual cooling energy consumption by 55%.

(Slide 8)
So we've established a committee outside of our own steering committee that will help keep this challenge rolling along. We have participation from many of the people who are already affiliate members of our center. These are some major utilities — the three major investor-owned utilities in California, plus SMUD. We have the California Energy Commission as an affiliate member, we have several key building owners, Walmart and Target and it's been a real pleasure to work with both of these firms, by the way, because they both have people who are very committed to the goals that we share and we think working together, we can have a great deal of impact. They can have a lot of impact even without us, frankly, but we think this partnering approach can make even more happen.

And then there's a number of other organizations that are governmental or non-profits who are also participating as committee members and I think you'll recognize some of those names there. Or some of those acronyms. The committee will work in a confidential way with manufacturers and other stakeholders to resolve technical issues and help bring the incentive payments into place and to support technical development. The committee will also arrange for laboratory testing that is certified that makes clear which technologies have met the goals of the challenge. If you forget, if you just Google WCEC, you'll find information about the cooling challenge on our website. The committee also approves press releases and other public documents about the project.

(Slide 9)
Why would manufacturers participate? Well, they get some monetary benefits but people were trying to call this a golden carrot competition when we first started talking about it and more and more, we realized that we don't want this to be defined as a competition. It definitely isn't a winner-take-all. It's really a procurement program that we hope will bring multiple responding units that can meet these challenge requirements and we believe the market is big enough for profitable production of these kinds of units by multiple manufacturers.

So what the program offers is an organization that can pool resources for purchasing, for major retailers and government organizations that will provide some certification and free lab testing for the first respondents and we hope as well to be able to bring some organized ways to deliver GHG credits and additional LEED points for rooftop units that comply with the Western Cooling Challenge. And then, of course, we and other consultants working with us will be available to help resolve any issues on maintenance code and implementation. But a major issue also is to bring utility support. There's this feeling in the industry that utility support may be — and incentives may be necessary to kick-start a new technology, but in this case it's a little bit different because these are generators and if we don't do these cooling efficiency measures, then we're going to have to build new generators. So, there isn't the need for incentives just to help build volume for the new technology, there's a need for utility incentives that recognize the value of these technologies as generators. So, there are multiple rewards.

(Slide 10)
I'm not going to talk, I don't think, about the assessment. We do have a process developed to verify the technologies, meet the demands of the program.

(Slide 11)
But here's our schedule. Today's the first really big day because we're announcing and this — we let this event be the format for us to make this announcement. There will be a webcast — oh, there's going to be a deadline for submitting comments and questions about the challenge a month from today. And we're available at the cooling center for any communications up until that time as well, to vet any questions or detail issues. Then there'll be a webcast on July 18 and then we are asking manufacturers to submit letters of intent by mid-August. And then, after that, the schedule is variable. We'd like to see lab tests completed for some units by January of next year because we know some are already under development. But the time schedule can extend beyond that point. These are the earliest dates that we expect to have the format in place to respond to completed offerings. And we hope that some of the products might be available by January 1, 2010, but one of the requirements is that at the time that lab testing is — lab test results are submitted for certification that the manufacturer has to make a case at that point that they will be ready to produce units and deliver units at a 500-unit per year level by a year after that prototype testing.

So this, I think, is my last slide.

[End of Audio]