U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Building Technologies Office
Next Generation Rooftop Unit Research Project
The U.S. Department of Energy is currently conducting research in a next generation rooftop unit (RTU). More than half of U.S. commercial building space is cooled by packaged heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment. Existing rooftop HVAC units consume more than 1.3% of the United States' annual energy usage annually.
This project seeks to evaluate optimal design strategies for significantly improving the efficiency of rooftop units. The primary market for this project is commercial buildings, such as supermarkets and hotels.
Research is being undertaken through a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) between the Department of Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
The goal of this project aims to develop an initial, high-efficiency RTU product intended for introduction into to the U.S. market. The RTU should have an integrated energy efficiency ratio (IEER) of at least 20.0.
Benefits and Impacts
Nationwide, if all 10 to 20 ton RTUs met the specification, having an IEER of at least 20.0, businesses would save over $1 billion each year in energy costs, helping American companies better compete on a global scale. When built to meet the IEER specification, rooftop units are expected to reduce energy use by as much as 50% over current units.