High-Performance Rooftop Unit Specification Overview for Building Owners and Operators (text version)
Below is the text version of the Webinar titled "High-Performance Rooftop Unit Specification Overview for Building Owners and Operators," originally presented on February 23, 2011. In addition to this text version of the audio, you can the presentation slides and a recording of the Webinar (WMV 15 MB).
Welcome, and thank you for standing by. I would like to remind participants that today's call is being recorded. If you have any objections, you may disconnect at this time. Now I'll turn the presentation over to Jenni Sonnen. You may begin.
Thank you Courtney. My name is Jenni Sonnen, and I'd like to welcome you to today's webinar titled High-Performance Rooftop Unit Specification Overview for Building Owners and Operators.
This webinar is presented by the Building Technologies Program at the US Department of Energy. We're excited to have with us today two specialists that helped develop the new specification for these high-performance rooftop units.
They will provide an overview of the specification and how it will benefit building owners and operators. But before we start, I have some housekeeping items to cover. First, I want to mention that everyone today is on listen-only mode. We will have a Q&A session at the end of the presentation.
You can participate by submitting your questions electronically during the webinar. To submit a question, click on the Q&A link on the top bar of your screen, type the question in the box, and click ask. Please be sure to click ask and not the symbol of the raised hand.
Our speakers will address as many questions as time allows after the presentation. Also, I wanted to point out the URL on the screen, www.buildings.energy.gov/webinars/html. On that Web page is a link to see today's slides. Today's presentation is being recorded, and a video of the presentation will be posted in the near future on the webinar archives page.
Finally, we have a few quick questions to ask you to help us learn more about the audience and target future presentations. We will start with two questions now, and then have more questions before the Q&A session.
So the first question should be coming up. Please click on your screen to indicate the appropriate response. This question is how many people at your location are participation in today's webinar? So please go ahead and provide your answer. We're about to close this question, so please vote now. Great. Thank you very much.
Now onto the next question. We are looking for information about what best describes you, your organization or affiliation. So please vote now. Okay. We're about to close this question.
Great. Thank you so much for your participation. And now I'll introduce our speakers. George Hernandez and Anne Wagner from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
Anne Wagner has over 25 years of experience in the construction industry and currently splits her time between the High-Performance Rooftop Unit Challenge, the Commercial Building Energy Alliances and the Commercial Building Partnership Program.
George Hernandez manages Sensor and Control Applied Research in both residential and commercial buildings and is currently working directly with the Building Technologies Program in Washington DC. And with that, I'll turn the presentation over to Anne.
Thank you Jenni. And to everyone attending today's session, thanks for joining us. During today's session, we are going to give you an overview of the recently-Announced Rooftop Unit Challenge.
We're going to have several project team members provide a brief overview of the High-Performance Rooftop Unit Challenge, and we will address the main elements of the specification. We're going to review the purpose of the project, we're going to provide some background to how this came about, as well as go over the program design and main activities.
We're going to address the key elements of the specification, as well as discuss DOE's role. We're going to share with you a letter of support, and then talk about the next steps. After that, the remaining time will be available for questions and comments.
So really, two purposes for this challenge. And the first is to challenge US manufacturers to build and deliver innovative, competitively-priced, energy-saving rooftop units to meet the Commercial Building Energy Alliance-driven requirements of a high-performance specification.
The other to realize large energy and cost savings for the CBEA members and for the nation. In other words, DOE wants to support the development of more efficient equipment.
A good place to start is by looking at the overall US energy use. In this slide, you'll note that the building sector is the leading sector of energy consumption and that commercial buildings account for almost half of building energy use.
Several years ago the Commercial Building Energy Alliances were created for commercial building owners and operators that want to reduce energy use. The CBEA is composed of three smaller alliances that focus on similar end users.
Owners and operators in the commercial building sectors such as hospitals, retailers and commercial real estate face common technical, financial and institutional challenges to achieve efficiency. And they can best be overcome – they can best overcome these hurdles by learning from each other.
The Department of Energy and the National Labs provide a neutral form to exchange ideas and offer technical expertise on cross-cutting areas of interest identified by the alliances. Competitors collaborate on an issue that is in all of their interests, energy efficiency.
The CBEA expedites deployment by working on collaborative projects with major owners and operators. It can move markets when adopting portfolio-scale measures.
Currently, the CBEA membership is responsible for significant amounts of commercial buildings. The Retail Energy Alliance represents about 53 members with over 2.8 billion square feet. Commercial Real Estate Energy Alliance includes 57 members with over 4.5 billion square feet. And the Hospital Energy Alliance accounts for 44 members with over half a billion square feet.
When you look at the energy needed to provide space cooling in the nation's commercial buildings, packaged unitary equipment, mostly rooftop units, account for approximately half that energy used.
DOE is supporting the reduction of energy use in commercial buildings, and owners are looking for ways to save energy and money. Manufacturers want to develop units that are more efficient than that are currently available. And manufacturers want to add integrated sensors and controls to further improve operational efficiency.
However, manufacturers are generally reluctant to produce and promote these products because of the increased manufacturing cost and uncertain market demand for higher-efficiency units.
Working with the Commercial Building Energy Alliance and National Laboratories, DOE is challenging manufacturers to build high-performance rooftop units and will help leverage the purchasing power of the Commercial Building Energy Alliance members to help demonstrate market demand for these units.
This challenge will bring together experts from DOEs National Laboratories and to the private sector to help businesses and organizations reduce energy use in facilities by replacing equipment with high-efficiency units.
The first step in this project was spec – or the first step in this project was specification development. The project team has written a new specification to provide the equipment requirements. This specification is available from the website, and there's also a two-page short summary available.
In addition to that, we have been gathering support from the CBEA partners that are interested in newly-developed products. And on February 3rd, the high-performance rooftop unit challenge was announced at the HVAC and Controlled Supplier Summit in Las Vegas.
Now we are spreading the word of this challenge beyond the CBEA and will be meeting with interested manufacturers soon with future plans to include validation of equipment performance, facilitation of purchases and measurement of results.
And now I'm going to turn it over to George to cover the next section.
Good afternoon or good morning, wherever you happen to be located. Oops.
This slide – what we really want to make sure everybody understands is the importance of this project to the marketplace.
We have been very busy trying to come up with solutions, working very closely with buyers that will support both efficiency in their business, as well as efficiency in energy. The Ten-Ton Rooftop Package Unit Project is such a project, and we are very excited about the possibility of this project and where it can lead.
The genesis of this project was that many of the participants and our energy alliances were in the process of upgrading their systems and their facilities and were looking for a much higher efficiency rooftop package unit.
The reason for the choice of the ten-ton unit happens to be it's a sweet spot for our big box types of facilities, and the need for advanced diagnostics and controls to help them manage that equipment. We were getting feedback from some of our members as to their inability to determine, in fact, how some of the equipment was operating even at the end of its life.
So we selected this tonnage, and we worked very closely with the manufacturers that we had access to, the buyers who were installing the equipment and our National Labs to try to figure out what would be a good project for integration of off-the-shelf or near off-the-shelf products into a rooftop package unit that would be essentially just basically a lift and replace.
So we picked a ten-ton unit, and basically selected an IEER, integrated energy rating, so that we would derive a 50% reduction in energy. And the reason for that is, is that that particular reduction in energy consumption equates to about a one- or two-year payback, depending on what the estimates are from future types of develop projects like this to about a one- or two-year payback in cost for the enhanced equipment.
So we've gone through the market, and we estimate there's about 40,000 10-ton units sold per year. A 100,000 square foot large-box retailer contains about 20 10-ton units. And we expect to be the best in class.
So we're going from an ASHRAE 90.1 2007 – excuse me 2010 standard, but 11 EER to an 18 IEER. We're advocating variable flow, and we are advocating also fan efficiency increase. If – just to extend that to what that means to the Department of Energy, that equates to about a $50,000,000.00 a year reduction in energy costs if all 40-ton – all 10-ton units were installed using this new specification.
So we're pretty excited about that. It - you know, that means that if we were to extend this specification to other tonnages, we'd have a very dramatic impact on this class of equipment for many of our commercial business partners.
So the purpose of this project is really to provide a specification for the manufacturers to respond to the needs or the desires of the marketplace. So the specification is really more performance based, so we're hoping to get the manufacturers to respond in a way that they can use their best ideas to achieve this performance characteristics.
We are going to a new type of a rating, relatively new in the market, which is part-load rating, so as most people would understand, this equipment does not run at full load all the time. It runs at part load most of the time. So we wanted to try to effect efficiency throughout the performance curve.
The testing of the unit is going to be twofold. One of them is using the ARI standard testing for IEER, as well as some lab-assisted testing for the automated diagnostics and communications.
We are asking that the units have modern or state-of-the-art communications so that they can communicate either LAN or wirelessly, we're expecting wireless, to existing automation system or to, you know, a – basically, an open-source platform. And we are asking that the units have diagnostics that will provide real-time or near real-time characteristics of the unit when it's operating for both performance and for fault diagnostics to determine whether or not the equipment has failed.
For example, a very high-failure device is an economizer, so we would like the system – the device – to be able to tell us that somebody needs to go out there and repair it.
So that also provides the ability for us to provide – have more of an action-based service platform so that we can have the owners of these equipments to be able to dispatch technicians more toward before-failure mode instead of at-failure mode of the equipment. And we're also hoping that we can enable these types of diagnostics occur on startup.
So the idea situation would be the unit's installed, powered up, the shipping filters are removed, the system is checked for charge and the things that need to be done on startup, they push the button startup, and the system would tell us if it's working properly or not so that we're really asking it to be an auto startup diagnostician, again, to enable proper performance and to ensure that the unit is operating as intended by the manufacturer.
So to do that, we have – we are offering assistants to the manufacturers, if they need any, in the areas of technology development and design, and this would come out of our National Labs who are working on evaluating, developing and testing new types of components in these systems, testing and evaluation of those components, testing and evaluation of the diagnostic features of the units.
We have National Labs – we are allowing the National Labs to share their algorithms for fault detection and diagnostics. We have some National Labs capabilities in communications and controls. And we also have the ability to provide simulations of different characteristics of the equipment so that if there's a need to determine how a piece of equipment works in a particular area under a particular load with certain component configurations, we have the ability to do that.
So we are having a seminar next week specifically targeted at manufacturers to try to get a read from them about how they might approach this particular project and what kinds of support capabilities they may need or desire from the National Labs.
It doesn't mean that any one of them will use this support, but we have it available, and we have a lot of work that's been done around this kind of equipment. So if they desire, they have the ability to basically ask the Department of Energy for support in these areas.
Really, the issue – what we're really trying to do here is make sure that we're removing any potential roadblocks to getting this kind of a system to market as quickly as possible.
One of the things that is the most important to us is to make sure that this is a market-pull and not a market-push type of endeavor. So the reward for being able to produce a unit that meets the specifications as we've defined would be that they'd be able to sell these units, and they'd be able to sell them to the marketplace.
So what we've done is we've gone and we've talked to the Alliance members who have expressed an interest in high-performance remote rooftop package units and have gotten a commitment, as described here in this letter, to basically show the manufacturers that they do have interest. And if these units do perform as specified and they do meet the requirements of the purchases, that they would be very interested in starting to procure these systems now and into the future.
They really have worked with us very closely. All the undersigned and others in this letter have helped us with the specifications to make sure that they get what they want. And we're hoping that this is only the beginning in this type of initiative so that, in fact, the market is actually showing the manufacturers that there is interest in purchasing this type of equipment, which benefits both the manufacturers, benefits the building owners, operators, the procurement departments, as well as the desire for the Department of Energy to reduce energy consumption and improve operational efficiency in the marketplace.
I think – so these are the Alliance members who have today stood up and said we have signed the letter that was just on the screen, and we intend to consider and work very closely with the Department of Energy and, to the extent allowed, work with the manufacturers to ensure that when they are able to deliver this equipment, that they are ready to evaluate it and determine how many of them would work in their particular applications.
Do you see that this is a pretty interesting group of companies? There are others who have also shown interest, but were not able to put their signature on the letter at this time. But as we are moving through and discussing the specification, we obviously have lots of interest with the commercial marketplace, as well as the government.
So we are also discussing and have high interest expressed from people like GSA and the Department of Defense for purchasing of this kind of equipment. So as I stated earlier, we believe this is just the beginning, and we're very excited that we are able to participate in this kind of a project with the kinds of partners that we are showing here on this screen.
Interested in participating? We take all comers. We would like to have as many people talk to us about this as possible. We want to make sure that we are encouraging as many people as possible to participate both from the manufacturing side, as well as the purchasing side.
It's actually very, very important that we know and can work with the marketplace to figure out how the Department of Energy can best support their requirements, as well as their desires for higher-efficiency equipment, processes and operations.
So if you'd like to sign up to get information on what we're calling the challenge, there's a website here shown on the screen. And as I mentioned, we will have a webinar for directly targeting manufacturers next Thursday, March 3rd. That discussion will be much more about the capabilities that the Department of Energy can bring forth for this project, as well as answering questions about the specifics of the performance specification.
So now we have – we've received some questions here. And –
Actually, oh, Anne? I'm sorry. This is Jenni. Do you mind if I interrupt us for a second before we start the Q&A?
I'm sorry. Please do. Thank you.
Oh, okay. We just have – before we go into the Q&A, we just wanted to do a couple of more quick polling questions, and then we'll jump right into the questions because there have been some good ones received.
So you'll see the first question on your screen asking what you were hoping to learn from today's webinar. So please go ahead and vote. We'll give you a couple of seconds to do that. Okay. That's great. We're going to move on to the next question. Thank you for your input.
The final question asks how satisfied you were with today's webinar. So please go ahead and vote. Okay. We'll just give you another couple of seconds, then we'll move on. Okay. Thank you for your participation.
Now we'll get into the Q&As. If you haven't had a chance to submit your question yet, please do that by using the Q&A button at the top of the screen, as we mentioned at the beginning. And type the question in, and make sure you click ask. And Anne and George will get to as many as time allows.
And then also, I just wanted to point out on this screen that the URL listed at the bottom has the information about the rooftop specification. It also has information about the webinar on March 3rd with the registration link. So you can actually register for that webinar if you're interested. And with that, I'll turn it back over to Anne and George. Thank you.
Thank you. One of the questions came in, and we've talked about this one a little bit, and she also just reminded us that there is the webpage. And on the webpage, there is a link to register for the next webinar, which will be held March 3rd. And that's really going to focus with manufacturers on how the National Laboratories can provide assistance and such. And so there is a link for registration on the webpage.
In addition to that, also on the webpage there is a box at the very bottom that has an opportunity for people to submit comments and questions about the specifications. So we will be compiling those questions and getting the answers together and such. So that's really the best way to submit any questions or also provide any comments.
We've received several questions regarding the heating energy based on heating values and such. And at this point, the longer specification does address both gas and electric heat. However, if you look at the performance metrics in Appendix A, those basically are just dealing with the cooling performance.
So at this time, the specification is giving cooling performance metrics, but it's not providing specific heating requirements as such. In the short spec, it's noted, I believe, that the market generally looks for equipment that can provide those heating and cooling. And so the intent of this challenge is to increase the performance, really focusing on the air-conditioning side of the unit at this time.
There are – there's a question here –
Let me – some of these questions really are targeted more towards the manufacturing summit that we're going to have next week, so we'll try to – we'll defer those until then. Here's one that said, I mentioned that he believes the manufacturers can do this for a one- to two-year payback. Is that correct? So how did this assumption come about?
That's really, again, an estimation of the cost of this equipment based upon energy savings. The modeling was assumed for a big-box retailer in western part of the US. So how we derived that was by assuming a standard cost for a 10-ton unit of around $5,000.00 to $6,000.00 a unit. The energy savings for this type of a system in the big-box application is about 1200 kilowatt hours a year. Excuse me. Results in about 1200 kilowatt hours a year saved, 10 cents a kilowatt hour is $1,200.00 a year.
So if the unit costs 25 to 50% more than a standard unit, then you can safely make a back-of-the-envelope calculation of about 1- to 2-year payback. So that's very rough, using a lot of information from assembly, as well as delivery prices. So that's kind of how we came up with that one- to two-year payback.
That does not include any lifecycle cost, reduced maintenance or things that would be derived and beneficial from the diagnostics. So we're pretty comfortable with that assumption.
Let's see. What is the other one? There's a question about the specification on the heating side, there is no way to get to the 50% energy savings in northern climates. Why isn't there a specification on that side?
Again, the specification was driven by the CBEA members. We have included as much of their requirements as possible into the specification. We did not get a lot of input on the heating side. So that's why there isn't much in that area.
However, the thing I would reply – the thing I want to reply to that is these units are going to be purchased by the members. So if there is a desire for a manufacturer to provide a unit that has higher efficiency in the heating side for the northern parts of the climates, that should be brought forward, and then we would be able to run that up the flagpole with our buyers and see what the interest level is. So it's not a dead issue. It just was not addressed in this initial specification.
What are the CBEA members cost-effectiveness criteria and procurement timeframes? They're all very different, depending on the particular buyer, depending on where their facilities are and depending on what renovation pace they're at.
So what we are going to provide is we're going to provide a tool that allows them to do a much more detailed estimation of the impacts of this kind of equipment and their facilities that takes into account weather-based criteria, but – and also some lifecycle cost inputs. But every one of the buyers has their own based upon their own facilities and their own financial hurdles within their company.
So there isn't one size fits all. So again, going back to the comment I made earlier, if a manufacturer or a supplier has a piece of equipment they think that has a sweet spot in their particular region or a particular part, a different – a particular type of building, please bring that forward, and we, again, will test that against the buyers to see if they have interest.
We're looking at the questions just to make sure we're covering what's been asked here. Okay. We've received a few more questions here. So if you'll bear with us, we're looking at this to make sure we're taking care of everything.
One of the questions asked, what percentage of units still today meets the criteria? And to be perfectly honest, this is a stretch specification. This is not a procurement to go out and find equipment that's necessarily in the market, readily available and things like that. So this is a stretch specification.
The intent is to challenge manufacturers to be able to give them the opportunity to implement new technologies, to implement some other features that might not be currently readily available in the market today. So right now this is a stretch. It's a challenge.
There's been a couple of questions posed by different participants around evaporative or desiccant cooling. Remember that this specification was developed in response to the requirements of the members for a drop-in replacement. So they were – at this moment, this time and place, were interested in solutions where they could pull a unit off the roof and put another back in place.
They have some weight requirements, some size requirements. The curbs. They like to have as little modification as possible. So at this time, evaporative and desiccant cooling were not considered. However, again, this is really a performance-based specification. So if there are people that there were solutions that would be "drop-in", then again, we should raise those and present those to the potential buyers to test their interest and that kind of – in that kind of a solution.
There was – one here, what's the timeline for completion of this process or will it be ongoing? We believe this is only the beginning of these types of market-driven solutions. However, it is our desire, and we have gotten some response, that we can – that some manufacturers be able to deliver this solution in a year, which would be what we would like to achieve.
Will they all be able to do that? Don't know. We'll find out more about that in a week when we talk to the manufacturers. But again, the response – the initial response from a manufacturer or two is that something like this could be done relatively quickly. So that's, in fact, the reason why we selected the efficiency rating that we did and the characteristics that we did.
The – we believe that the components that are required to build this kind of a system are available, so we think of this more as an – of an integration procedure rather than a research and development procedure.
Will there be any financial support offered to manufacturers for R&D? There will not be any DOE financial support to the manufacturers. What the Department of Energy is offering to the manufacturers is technical support from our National Labs in the areas of component designing, testing, integration and software designing, testing and integration. So we are not offering rebates or things of that sort. There will be no financial impact or financial solutions given to the manufacturers.
Okay. We're getting some more questions here, so if you'll bear with us a moment while we look at them. One of the question is asking what part-load is the unit rated? And again, I'm going to refer you to the Appendix A because what we're looking at is the integrated energy efficiency ratio, which is actually looking at the unit rating in four conditions. One is fully loaded, and the other three are part-loaded conditions.
So what we're looking for is an eighteen IEER, which then is examining not only a fully-loaded unit, but the unit's operation at several other distinctive operating points.
Here's a question that says what role can utility energy efficiency programs play in helping advance the program? We have spoken to a couple of utilities who are considering how this would impact their programs. We believe it would impact their programs very positively, help them achieve their goals for energy efficiency in their service territories.
So we expect that as we get closer to the specification and delivery of these units that many utilities will start to add them to their repertoire as available components to receive incentives in their marketplace. If they do that, obviously, that helps buy down the first cost of these units.
So it is our goal, however, to get these units manufactured at a price that does not require an incentive to be cost effective. And that would be done by bulk purchase, basically helping to get the cost down by assistance from the Department of Energy, as well as quantity discounts.
Here's a question. Have the retailers who have expressed interest given any specifics as to what cost effective would mean in the context of product manufacture to this new specification?
There are – again, this is – this varies widely. Clearly, the most important thing to them is the reduction in energy 'cause that helps offset any increased cost in the equipment. They are very interested in helping to manage their operations and maintenance costs, their service costs, and everybody values that a little bit differently, as well as something that's – again, as mentioned earlier, one of their primary criteria is a drop-in replacement.
The vast majority of the purchases that the buyers have indicated would be retrofit, and they don't have a desire to do much modification to the roof, the curbs or the openings for the equipment. So again, it's they're looking for really drop-in replacements.
However, if there is a dramatic increase in efficiency or a dramatic drop in price that would help offset the cost for other technologies to be installed, I am sure that they would consider that, and we will absolutely bring it to their attention.
And I wanted to make one clarification on that too because some of the questions have asked about retailers. And again, this is across the Building Energy Alliance, which the retailers have – with the first group that was active, they've been very active in this work, but we also have activity from the real estate members, as well as partners from hospitals.
And when you look at those three different segments, the retailers, hospitals and real estate, you can easily see that the three different groups have various cost-effective criteria amongst themselves. So it's really – it's a tricky thing to – it's not a silver bullet or not just a parameter you can give for one company or one criteria, but it does go across the board.
So the retailers are definitely interested in this initiative, but we also have – as you've seen on the slide, we've received interest both and participation from real estate folks and also hospitals.
Here's a question. Do any manufacturers make these units not at eighteen IEER? And the answer to that is no, not that we're aware of. However, there are manufacturers that are producing the same tonnage, ten-ton units, at relatively close SEER ratings, not I-E-E-R. S-E-E-R. So we're – we are – we're pretty confident that this stretch goal is absolutely achievable.
We're still looking here at some other. And one of the questions was asking, again, about the existing – retrofits for existing units. And the focus really on this challenge is helping manufacturers develop and produce a new unit. So at this time, we are not exploring existing unit changes. However, again, George mentioned that there might be some technologies that are developed that would be able to be added to an existing unit for – to help modify existing, as opposed to a replacement of the unit at some future date.
But really, this challenge right now, we focused on a ten-to-twenty-ton range for cooling capacity. And we're looking really at, again, the cooling and new units. And we've got another batch of questions. If you'll bear with us, we're going to take a look at these. Thank you.
Here's one. Are there any tax incentives or utility rebates? I spoke earlier about utility rebates. There are none today because these units don't exist. However, based upon our conversations with some of the associations that utilities belong to, we believe there's a big opportunity there. And there are tax incentives. 179D is an on-the-books tax deduction for energy improvement of existing and new facilities that exceed ASHREA 90.1 2001 energy standard.
And one of the drivers for this particular efficiency rating is that in this class of buildings and this class of equipment, there aren't solutions that will get you to a high enough efficiency to be able to qualify for that tax deduction.
We believe that these units, when manufactured, will provide enough efficiency increase to allow people to start to use these units to apply for the tax deduction. The current tax deduction, the 179D, ends in 2013.
The President has asked for Congress to extend and modify that program, and hopefully he will be able to get that done. But there is a tax incentive for high-efficiency rooftop equipment, and we are very excited that this equipment, if produced in time, will be something that could be used to derive a tax deduction.
So looking at some more questions here. Thanks. Keep them coming. All right. We've got a few more here.
It says is it mandatory, as stated in specifications, to meet all items? How will acceptance be handled and evaluated? Who will make the final determination as to what is allowed and what is not allowed? Is there central decision-making authority is it up to each customer?
It is absolutely up to each customer. This is not equipment that DOE is going to purchase or incentive. This is equipment that is purchased by the buyers, by the people who are installing it in their particular facilities.
The only exception to that rule could be, depending on the outcome of our discussions, would be with the Department of Defense or GSA who also purchases lots of these units. So exceptions? If a manufacturer believes that they can provide a unit that's cost effective, that they can pitch and sell, that's clearly their choice. And we encourage them to deliver whatever they think will drive this level of efficiency, as well as economics that the buyers will purchase.
We have had manufacturers showing interest, and they have – they obviously, have not committed yet. They're waiting until the meeting next week to determine what we are expecting and what the buyers are expecting. So I expect that we will get commitments next week.
We have gotten indications from a few manufacturers already that said this is something they can do, and they are discussing it internally. So again, we're very positive about the fact that we're – we will get something – excuse me – some manufacturers to participate in our project.
Here's another one. Have there been any considerations during the development of specifications for different climates and/or regions? Current specification tends to indicate several conditions, but the IEER metrics are fixed.
That is true. We had to stand up a standard or a methodology for testing the units. However, as I had mentioned earlier, we are developing and delivering a tool that the buyers can use that will allow them to evaluate this particular classification of equipment in their facilities, in their climate zones. So that, obviously, will be up to the buyers to decide what they will buy and what is good enough for them.
The eighteen IEER was selected as a – basically, a stake in the ground. And we believe that that efficiency has enough efficient – that efficiency level has enough benefits that we will get the buyers to use them in most of their applications.
Okay. We've got some more questions here we're looking at, and thank you for your interest and your questions, and your patience standing by as we review these so we can address them. So we'll be right back here in a moment.
It's clear that there are people on the webinar who are manufacturers or component suppliers. We are – we're going to defer most of those questions 'til our webinar for next week. So don't feel like we're ignoring you on those particular questions. We're just going to discuss those in greater detail next week.
Here's a question that says will DOE consider adding manufacturer or improved designs of larger tonnage units? Absolutely. As I said earlier, this is only the beginning. There are other tonnages that the buyers purchased. The reason we selected the ten-ton is that happened to be a sweet spot. But if you have fifteen – if there are manufacturers of fifteen- or twenty-ton units that meet these efficiency requirements – again, these requirements are driven by the buyers – then absolutely, they would be interested in those.
The assessments about where those are applicable and how many would be purchased would have to be evaluated, but again, manufacturers who want to provide systems that are higher efficiency, that would be great.
Here's a question. Who is funding the National Lab support? That is what DOE is funding. We will – we are bringing to bear the capabilities of our National Labs, again, in the component diagnostics and modeling, and those would be available to manufacturers who are interested in participating in this program.
We haven't lost you – or we haven't dropped off yet. We're still looking at several more questions that have come in, so thank you for your patience while we review these to make sure we're getting you the right information.
Yeah, here's one. A little clarification. So there are unit pictures and documents released so far. Have you actually built the unit that meets the eighteen IEER? Can you share any physical data on that unit?
No, we have not. This is a challenge. We are hoping to incent the manufacturers to produce an eighteen IEER unit at this tonnage. One caveat, there may be something out there we haven't heard of or seen that maybe even manufactured, you know, in different countries. But to the best of our knowledge, this equipment at this energy efficiency rating and diagnostics and fault detection capabilities does not exist. If it does, we have buyers who are interested in evaluating it immediately, so let us know.
Here's one that says is the DOE support information available to engineers, other than those employed by the manufacturers? Whatever information the DOE has is available to anybody asks for it. So if we have information or we have tools or reports or evaluations that have been done, you know, been contracted and provided under contract from the Department of Energy, they are absolutely available.
So this is not – the intent is not to only provide this to manufacturers. However, it would – most of the things that manufacturers would be needing to support this effort would be mostly in the area of component-level information.
And I was going to go ahead and – we pretty much covered most of the questions. We – George has also advised that we are encouraging folks to comment, give us questions and such for next week's, March 3rd, webinar that we're having for manufacturers. At this time, I was just double checking with Michelle to see if we do have any more – yep. It looks like we've got a few more questions that have come in. So, again, if you'll bear with us, we will – we'll check these out and can get some answers for you real quick here. One moment.
Yeah. Here's a question, again, about whether or not the specification's only for ten tons. Again, the initiative here was to try to focus on a particular tonnage that can be evaluated by the buyers. The buyers have expressed other tonnages that would be of interest to them, so it's absolutely not only ten tons. It just happens that ten tons was the most dominant size mentioned by the buyers, but there is absolutely a desire to purchase any high-efficiency rooftop package unit that meets the – that would meet the requirements of the implementation and installing at these facilities.
Here's one that says – again, this is more targeted, I believe, to the manufacturer, but it says for fan efficiency that you were mentioning key contributors to achieving eighteen IEER. Does DOE have any testing data that shows how IEER is affected by these features?
Yes. We've done models in different climate zones with the different features of the unit, so we do have some results associated with that. And if we have people that are interested, we would be able to share that at next week's webinar.
Here's one. It says will there be an in-person meeting following the March 3rd, manufacturers meeting? If so, what are the details? We have contemplated an in-person meeting following these two webinars. It will be driven by interest and participation level. If we decide that meeting is something that is warranted by the interest of the manufacturers and the buyers, then we will consider having an onsite, in-person meeting here in Washington.
Okay. It looks like we have – we've handled the questions that are relevant today for the owners and operators. We've got some questions here that we are going to be getting information for, for the manufacturers webinar on the 3rd. And I believe that this is covering what we want to do.
We really do appreciate, once again, the attendance at today's webinar. We appreciate all comments, input. As on the earlier slide or one of the last slides, it showed the – asking if you would like to participate, if you're interested in getting updates, go to that – the website. Be sure and give us your information for that. Questions, comments. Attend the March 3rd webinar. And I think that pretty much covers what we needed to cover today.
Great. And Anne and George, thank you so much for your time today. That was really informative. We'd like to also thank everyone for participating. One the screen is the URL buildings.energy.gov/webinars/html, the slides from today are there. And there's also a link on that page to an archive page, which will have a video of today's presentation and the slides in the next couple of days.
And I know that Anne mentioned that you all could send questions in for the webinar on March 3rd. You can either do that by using the form on the URL that you saw on the previous screen, the rooftop specification URL, or if it's simpler, you can use this email@example.com URL – I'm sorry – email address that's showing on the slide now, and send your questions there. And we'll be sure to get those to Anne and George for the webinar. So with that, we'll go ahead and conclude, and thank you, again, for your time.
Thank you. This concludes today's conference. You're being disconnected at this time.
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