Launch of New Technology Specifications (Text Version)

DOE and CBEA have released five new technology specifications. The specifications are voluntary communication tools that can be provided to a manufacturer by a purchaser to ensure procurement of a highly efficient product. In addition, with this launch, DOE has developed web pages to assist purchasers through the process of upgrading to higher-efficiency technology. The web pages host resources such as energy-savings calculators, a list of financial incentives, and a list of products that meet the specifications. This webinar introduced these new specifications and walked participants through the revamped web pages.

Below is the text version of "Launch of New Technology Specifications," originally presented on October 10, 2012. In addition to this text version of the audio, you can view the presentation slides from the webinar.

Dan Chwastyk:
Hi, everybody. I guess we'll go ahead and get started. I imagine there will be a few more people calling in, but they can join us as we're underway. So, first off, welcome everyone to the webinar announcing the launch of four new Commercial Building Energy Alliance technology specifications. Since we expect to have a fairly large number of participants on the call today, I have gone ahead and put everybody into listen-only mode. If you do have any questions, we will have a portion at the end of the call for questions. Just please go ahead and submit your questions over the chat feature and, let's see, we have somebody here designated to receive questions under the name Send Questions Here. So, go ahead, if you have any questions throughout the call, send your questions to the Send Questions Here person, and we'll make sure we get to all the questions at the end of the call.

So, first off, I guess I'll introduce myself. My name is Dan Chwastyk. I work with Navigant Consulting and work directly with the Department of Energy in the Building Technologies group, as well as the Commercial Building Energy Alliance and assist a lot of the efforts, including the technology specification development and deployment efforts that the CBEA is undertaking. So, I'll go ahead and, as you can see on the agenda, I'll get us started out and give kind of a brief overview of the Commercial Building Energy Alliance program, who, obviously, is where the specifications we'll be talking about came from, and then, afterwards, Ed Barbour of Navigant Consulting will present the new specifications, paying primarily attention to what they are and how can people on the call here utilize these specifications to start saving energy in their commercial buildings. In addition, Ed will outline any opportunities that those on the call can pursue in order to participate in this program, and then, as mentioned, afterwards, we'll go ahead and open it up for questions and address any questions that come in.

So, just kind of brief two slides here on a summary of the Commercial Building Energy Alliance in case you're new to the program or you're finding out about the program through this webinar. The CBEA is a government industry partnership program, and it's facilitated by the U.S. Department of Energy's Buildings Technology group. The alliance is comprised of commercial building owners, managers, and operators who work with each other to identify and implement best practices, key decision-making tools, and advanced technologies for significant energy savings in their own building portfolios. The idea is that by pooling the expertise of all alliance members, it allows us as a group to pursue the big efficiency opportunities much more quickly, much more reliably, and more cost effectively than any one member could do alone on their own. Actually, the aim is to have an impact on energy savings within the CBEA members' portfolios, but then beyond it, beyond their own portfolios, as well, to the rest of the commercial building sector. What you find is that the alliance members, and many of them are on the call today, are the early adopters with respect to investment in energy efficiency.

So, the resources that we're developing through the program, such as these technology specifications, are certainly meant for alliance use, but the hope is that as others pay more attention to energy efficiency, these best practices, these tools, these technologies will seep throughout the entire commercial building sector and we'll see significant, market-wide impacts on energy use for the entire sector over time. Another one slide here, just kind of diving into the program a little bit more and showing its structure, and some of the work that's being produced. Most of the work is produced in the alliance in seven different project teams. These are the project teams that are shown on the left of the slide in the green boxes. There are six technology project teams. They are the lighting team, the HVAC team, plug and process load team, the refrigeration team, food service team, laboratory team, and then there's also a seventh, market transformation team, that kind of takes a lot of the work that is being produced in the technology teams and helps get it to the market.

Obviously, the webinar today concerns technology specifications, and that is what we'll talk about in detail, and certainly each of the project teams you see there have participated in the development of these specifications over the last year. However, I wanted to also provide a few examples of other projects that the alliance works on just to kind of give everybody a little sampling of what is being done within the CBEA. So, on the right, I just kind of handpicked a few different projects that have been going on that are starting to see results that are coming out of the CBEA. To highlight a few, the lighting team has partnered with BOMA and IFMA and the Green Parking Council in order to kick off a campaign aimed at encouraging facility owners to take advantage of energy savings opportunities that can come from purchasing high-efficiency lighting solutions in parking facilities, so there's a recognition piece of this campaign, but then there's also technical assistance that's provided to members, as well, in order to make it easier for them to invest, to install, to get the energy savings they expect from the lights in their parking facilities.

Another project is the refrigeration team has developed a best practices guide to inform how to properly install — how to properly, I guess, get the benefits from installing glass doors on open refrigeration cases, which we all know is a mammoth consumer of energy in supermarkets and other big refrigeration stores. So, that guide has recently come out, and it shows the direction on how to properly do it and how to make sure you're getting the energy savings that, again, you expect at the beginning of the project. Just one other project to touch on is the market transformation team has developed a Green Lease Library to serve as a central location for commercial green leasing resources, with the intent being that as this information is easily accessible to real estate companies, we expect to see that these leases are starting to be adopted and utilized by the market a little bit more than they are today, which is, at this point, pretty slim.

I certainly encourage everybody on the call to take a look at the alliance website to learn more about the alliance and these efforts, and other efforts that are being conducted. The shortcut to that website is provided at the bottom of the slide here, and you can kind of go and search around and learn more about the program through the website. But, obviously, today we're focusing on technology specifications so, with that, I'll hand it over to Ed Barbour to introduce these new resources to everybody.

Ed Barbour:
Okay, great. Thanks, Dan. So, right now what I want to do is go through some of the new specifications, sort of what they are, and some potential uses by the Commercial Building Energy Alliance members. First, let's take a step back and just talk a little bit about what is a technology specification. It may not be a term that is familiar to everyone. Simply put, a technology specification is a tool, effectively a communication tool that allows purchasers to use. It ensures that they are able to acquire highly efficient products. Effectively, the specifications select levels of performance of a product, puts them in a bin, as it says on the slide, that is based on the product's efficiency level. The product either meets the specification or it does not.

There are two types of specifications that have been developed within the Commercial Building Energy Alliance program, and each of them has a different target end — well, not end use, but target behavioral change, essentially, and the one we'll talk mostly about today are the advanced specifications. They are used to identify approximately the top 20 percent of available products within any sort of product class, and that is based on efficiency level. These specifications are developed in situations that allow a purchaser to define a high-efficiency product where, one, there's no existing rating or labeling program that can help you, the purchaser, to identify the high-efficiency products within the market, and two, it's possible that these high-efficiency products are available but being underutilized, so the advanced specification category helps to identify those products that the purchaser can identify. The second is a challenge spec, and that goes beyond what's currently on the market, and it is, as its title says, it challenges manufacturers to set an aspirational efficiency level for their products, and to see if the manufacturers can actually develop a product that goes beyond the current market technologies.

So, today, we'd like to talk about four, new advanced technology specifications, and each of these four the DOE is releasing today. We're gonna walk you through a little bit about the four, new specifications, discuss briefly about how they were developed, and focus on how they can be used, and specifically as it shows there, that there are four, new specifications: low-voltage distribution transformer, gas heaters, commercial water heater, and laboratory fume hoods. The Commercial Building Energy Alliance has also developed specifications previously for the rooftop cooling units — RTUs — that was actually a challenge specification, and then additional advanced specifications within parking lot lighting, garage lighting, refrigerated display case lighting, and troffer lights. If you're interested in any of these other specifications, we'll encourage you to visit the website. I believe we'll send out the website later, after following these slides. Another note, just in terms of future specifications, the current plan is for DOE to look at additional specifications, so I believe they would welcome any input and thoughts on future specifications from the CBEA members.

So, we'll talk a little bit about the process behind the technology specification development. Each of these was developed over the past several months, and they actively involved the CBEA members in each of the five steps in terms of developing the specification. Step 1 is the technology selection criteria, and that's where we try to identify the technologies. An initial list of potential technologies is put together based on the CBEA members' interest. DOE then looks at the list and identifies technologies where the highly efficient technologies are underutilized, and, in addition, where there are no existing efficiency labeling programs that are available to help promote and cover the technologies. After that initial screen, we go to Step 2, and that's market characterization, and that is where DOE goes out and gathers information from manufacturers and users and installers on, basically, the characteristics associated with those identified technologies, trying to understand the efficiency level of the available products, how do they work in the market, what's the size of the market, what's the potential size of the market, and what are other characteristics that would be germane to being able to develop an advanced specification.

So, once they've completed the market characterization, then they go on to sort of Step 3, and try to determine — you know, they made the decision, "We're gonna go forward, we're gonna try to develop an advanced specification for this product, we need to now determine what is the proper efficiency level? Where should we draw the line effectively?" As mentioned before, the general rule of thumb that has been used on many of the previous projects has been, "Let's try to take the top 20 percent products available in the market," and that's the key term, available. You know, sales are gonna be very small for those products, but we think there's enough availability for a product that we can kind of push the market a little bit. Step 4 is where we actually just put pen to paper. That's where we draft the specification and try to understand the types of information that will be required by various purchasers to make this a useable document. It's done with in mind to help you procure these products.

Step 5 is really where we're supplying the CBEA members with the information that they need in order to make these purchase decisions. It's the other resources that are required in order to determine whether the financial investment is proper, is it more efficient than other investment decisions? Does the return on incremental costs, since typically these products do have a higher first cost; is it still attractive to them from a financial standpoint? Other resources that are included in Step 5 include just list of manufacturers of where you can go to actually pick the equipment. They're currently working, and we're gonna talk a little bit later, on case studies, at least for the four, new products, but there's some existing case studies sort of that have the real-world application examples of products being used and real results related to energy and costs being saved.

Now what we're gonna do is we're gonna transition to the CBEA website and walk through a little bit about where you can find that information on the DOE website. Dan is gonna help me pull it up. So, right here is the link to the — we'll also send out the link to this, as well as the specs, but what you'll see here is you've got a link to the Commercial Building Energy Alliance members page, right there, and then it goes directly to the Technology and System Specifications page. So, if you look at that, if you go down the list, you'll notice that all of the previous advanced specifications are there, as well as discussion on the RTU, the challenge specification. Next, what we'd like to do is — well, we'll take one second and we'll talk a little bit about this. The websites, they're actually able to provide the information relative for the purchase for any interest in any of those products. There's also some business case information under each individual advanced specification that one can look at in order to help them make those types of decisions.

I think now is a good time, so we're gonna go into the electric water heating advanced specification, the commercial heat pump water heater specification, and so we'll talk a little bit about how to use the specifications. We're gonna go down to the middle of the web page. There we go. Again, there are another five steps. We like to keep things in fives. So, there's five steps here on how to use the specification, and Step 1 is really, now that the specification is done, it's for the CBEA member to start to develop a business case for why this is a good candidate product for you to incorporate in terms of your purchasing decisions, and so there's some simple questions there that you might want to ask yourself before you pursue purchasing these types of products. You know, "Do you currently use electric storage water heat in your building? Does your water heater have a rating?" Some simple questions that if you answer yes, particularly to the first two, and then maybe any other, then this is a potential product that you want to explore, so that's Step 1, simple yes/no. If you get the yes answer the first two and a couple others, then we want to move to Step 2.

So, when we go to Step 2, there's two pieces of information there. There's a link to the DSIRE, the Database of State Incentives and Renewable Energy Efficiency, to look at various rebates and incentives that are applicable to different products. It could be applicable to this product throughout the country. We are currently working on, or DOE is currently working on trying to link the database to incorporate a widget that would be part of the website that would immediately pull up any relative incentives to your location, your jurisdiction. So, that will speed things along so you don't actually have to go through the actual database. You'll be able to look within your local area what incentives and rebates, if any, exist, and be able to see that immediately.

The other tool that's in Step 2 is a simple calculator of financial savings, so we're gonna open that up just briefly, and it's just a simple mockup that has some basic inputs. There's an example that's been loaded in there. It provides, again, some very preliminary calculations in terms of the energy savings and the dollar savings over a typical technology that a person can customize and be able to determine on their own whether or not this product has the potential to save them energy and money, and whether it is cost-effective given their financial parameters they want to look at. So, I just wanted to show sort of two tools that can kind of help the decision making as to whether or not you want to pursue purchasing this type of product.

If we can go to Step 3, so Step 3 is where we can actually try to start some of the information needed to specify the type of specification that you want, and I think we want to open up the example of that. So, there are essentially two types of language. There's the summary language that let's say you're already purchasing water heaters and you've already got a certain number of other parameters specified in terms of your procurement language. Then, maybe what you want to do is add something that defines the higher-efficiency products that we've identified as part of this program. In this case, you might want to look at just the energy-only specification, and that's got the details behind the performance specifications related to this heat pump water heater, the example we have up, related to that product, and this could be something that, in theory, and hopefully it's in reality, can just be added to your current procurement language when you go out to vendors for quotes.

The second is what we call a full specification, but even it's not 100 percent full; it's more of a template for you, if you were to decide to purchase this product for the first time. So, this has a little bit more information behind it, it's got a little bit more in terms of scope and definitions. It's also developed in such a manner that you can adjust it as needed for your own situation, but it provides a template for you if you're starting from a brand new position in terms of buying, say, a lot of heat pump water heaters. So, two options; basically, hopefully, it helps to facilitate the development of the type of language that you need in order to actually go out and procure these energy-efficient products. At least for the first one, energy-only specification, pretty easy if you've already got one added on. The second one, it gives you a template that hopefully doesn't take a great deal of effort to be able to modify it to your own personal procurement standards. So, I wanted to show two examples in Step 3. So, if we can go back to the website. All right, so Step 4. Now that you've developed a specification, you have to actually get quotes, and so we'd like to be able to identify the manufacturers to reach out to.

So, Step 4 gives you a list of manufacturers, you click on the link, and right now it's not populated but it would show you a list of companies and products, as well as model names and performance parameters of various products that actually meet the specification. So, hopefully you've gone through Step 1, 2, 3, you've got everything all set, you're ready to buy, you go here, and you can reach out to the companies and either get a local distributor or the company directly, get a quote, and then move on to, hopefully, Step 5, where you've purchased this product, you've installed it, and you're willing to participate in case studies and other examples that would allow us to — we're gonna go back to Case 5 here in a second, or Step 5 — you know, it says, "Purchase is installed." But we're gonna talk a little bit in a couple slides about participating in case studies and being able to actually demonstrate and share these types of energy and cost savings with the rest of the nation. So, that gives you a little flavor of what is in the websites and some of the information available on the websites. We will send out the links to the websites. I believe they were live just today, and I'm looking at Dan and he's nodding, so these are live and ready to go.

So, I just want to go over a couple next steps and potential demonstration opportunities, and then we're gonna open up for questions. Effectively, what DOE is looking for is additional Commercial Building Energy Alliance member involvement. It could be also manufacturers and others that could be involved. At a minimum or most basic level, we're hoping that everybody will review the specifications on the website, as well as all the resources that are being provided that we just walked through on the website, and provides some input back to — its, and we will send that out, as well, with the rest of the links following. Interested in comments as to the value of the specifications, as well as providing any suggestions of the types of information that would help you make the decisions, and/or support the decisions you're making to procure products that fall into the advanced specification category.

If you review the resources, they look great, and you decide that you want to start purchasing these types of products, the DOE would love to be able to hear about that and feedback on the process of how it was to actually procure the product: did this information help you in terms of defining this product, identifying the manufacturers you want to reach out to, as well as how the overall process went. That will also provide some feedback back to them for future specification development and maybe modifications in the current product, and then the final one is a little bit of a bigger commitment, but DOE is looking to conduct field demonstrations in order to develop these case studies that I mentioned earlier that are able to depict real-world energy and cost savings that can be gained by purchasing a product that meets one of the advanced specifications. So, if you're interested in that, DOE would love to hear from you, would love your involvement, and they're seeking various members that could step forward to do that.

A little bit more on the demonstrations. So, there's three groups. There's DOE, which will be funding a lot of the case studies and support in terms of development, but they are looking for manufacturers who have products that meet the specifications and would be interested in providing the product for use, and then those CBEA members who have a site or a building that would be extremely attractive to be able to install one of these products. The site would receive the product free of charge, at least that's our hope, but would allow access to the evaluators to conduct both pre- and post-installation measurements on site, as well as some interviews pre- and post-installation.

So, if you're interested, there's the e-mail address that I mentioned earlier; please send an e‑mail out to there, reach out to that, just send a note, and I'm sure somebody from DOE will be in touch with you quite quickly. So, I think now we're gonna open it up to any questions that anybody has. Although, at least in our chat, it shows it alphabetically, so it's under the Q's. I believe it's under S, Send Questions Here. If you want to text a question to them, we can try to answer it online, or if anybody has any other questions. Thanks.

Dan Chwastyk:
Thanks, Ed. I got a few questions during the presentation, so I just wanted to provide them with you now. The first question e-mailed was, "How do these specifications work as compared to the ENERGY STAR label for commercial products?"

Ed Barbour:
Well, they're different, so they're actually able to fit a void that ENERGY STAR − well ENERGY STAR doesn't cover these products. In terms of process, I'm not an expert on ENERGY STAR, but it's very, very similar in terms of the process, in terms of how ENERGY STAR sets a lot of their levels in terms of their process, but this actually covers those products that are not being covered by ENERGY STAR, we're not aware of any other sort of push for those types of rated products but has potential, according to CBEA members, for energy savings and could be attractive to them.

Dan Chwastyk:
Yeah, so I can actually speak to that, as well. I think you touched on it correctly. I think, basically, the program is meant to complement ENERGY STAR in a lot of ways by filling in the gaps, so like you said, these products are not covered by ENERGY STAR and they're a little different types of products, typically, being covered in this program than EPA's program. The second question I have in here, which I should probably answer — I guess we showed the manufacturer list, and the question came in, "When do you expect the manufacturer list to be completed with manufacturers?" So, the answer to that is simply that these web pages just went live in the last day or two, and we needed to wait until they went live so that everybody had an equal opportunity to start announcing themselves as able to make the products that meet the specifications.

So, we already have some manufacturers who have started to respond and have the list starting to be churned out, so we'll probably be updating that in the next week or two with the initial list of manufacturers who raised their hand and said they had products that met the specification and that you should go speak with them, and then the plan is, initially, at least for the first six months to a year, we'll update that monthly based on new products and new manufacturers that can make these products.

[Side Conversation]

Ed Barbour:
Any other questions?

Dan Chwastyk:
That's all the ones that I had to me. We'll give it another minute. If you have a question, go ahead and provide it to the Send Questions Here. You can even chat it to me. I'd open up the line, but there's a lot of people on the call, so that would be a lot of background noise.

Ed Barbour:
Okay, nothing?

Dan Chwastyk:

Wait, I've got one.

Ed Barbour:
You've got one?

Yep. The question is, "Who's responsible for vouching for products in the Qualified Products list?"

Dan Chwastyk:
So, that would be in the manufacturer list, so the answer to that is that, at this point, it's simply manufacturers opt in and state they have the products that can meet the specification. At this point, there's no additional testing of those products that is going to be conducted, but that's certainly one direction the program could move down the road if necessary. Okay. Well, I just wanted to say thanks to everybody, thank you, Ed, and everybody have a nice day and thanks for joining us, and check out the website, take a look, and let us know through that e-mail what you think and if interested in participating, but take care and have a lovely Wednesday.

[End of Audio]