First Commercial Product Meets Rooftop Air Conditioner Challenge

June 6, 2012

The Energy Department announced on May 24 that Daikin McQuay's Rebel rooftop unit system is the first to meet DOE's Rooftop Unit (RTU) Challenge. Five manufacturers—Daikin McQuay, Carrier, Lennox, 7AC Technologies, and Rheem—are participating in this challenge to commercialize highly efficient commercial air conditioners that satisfy a DOE-issued specification for energy savings and performance. When built to meet the specification, these units are expected to reduce energy use by as much as 50%, relative to units built to current standards. Nationwide, if all 10- to 20-ton RTUs met the specification, businesses would save more than $1 billion each year in energy costs. The five companies have until April 1, 2013, to submit a product for independent evaluation according to the specification.

Manufacturers nationwide have a strong motivation to produce highly energy-efficient air conditioning units for commercial buildings. Members in DOE's Commercial Buildings Energy Alliances (CBEA), such as Target, Walmart, and other participating commercial building owners have expressed an interest in equipment that meets the new energy efficiency specification at an affordable price. The Energy Department is evaluating potential demonstration sites for high-performing products that meet the RTU Challenge and is also developing analytical tools that enable businesses to more accurately estimate the energy and cost savings of using high-performance RTUs in their facilities. The specification for the RTU Challenge, aimed at spurring the market introduction of cost-effective, high-performance commercial RTU air conditioners, was developed by DOE technical experts and informed by industry partners. See the Energy Department's Progress Alert and the CBEA webpage.