Rooftop Unit (RTU) Retrofits = Big Savings for Owners and Tenants

We already know that the efficiency potential for rooftop units (RTUs) is huge. They sit atop about half of the commercial floor space across the United States and since they’re often neglected, less than optimal performance leaves building owners and tenants with higher than necessary utility bills. Now, new research by the Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL) quantifies that potential estimating energy savings between 28 and 67 percent. Researchers used computer simulations of big box stores, supermarkets, strip malls and small office buildings across climate zones to determine savings estimates, with higher energy savings resulting in milder climates. The study looks at four different control methods to help improve energy efficiency including air-side economizers, supply fan speed controls, capacity controls, and demand-controlled ventilation. Srinivas Katipamula, who led the study, says that these retrofits, while costly and rare in use, could pay for themselves within three years. Katipamula hopes demonstrated savings will convince building owners to install these energy saving methods.Read a Northwest Public Radio story on the studyRead more about the PNNL study