Advance Rooftop-Unit Control (ARC) Retrofits: Field Demonstrations Validate Significant Energy Savings

Retrofit Technology

Over the past ten years, a new Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) retrofit technology has established itself as a means to address the wasteful energy practices of rooftop units (RTUs) which condition over 60% (39 billion square feet) of our nation’s commercial floor space1. RTUs are the workhorse of small to medium commercial buildings because they are inexpensive, require minimal engineering design and are easy to install.

Unfortunately, over their lifetime, RTUs are typically neglected. Now couple this with the fact that RTUs have a large number of moving parts (e.g., belt driven fans, compressors, actuating dampers, etc.) and because these are components purchased with the least cost in mind, maintenance and energy costs can quickly derail the originally intended low-cost solution. Understandably, energy consumption and longevity are not driving the design decisions of RTU manufacturers because over 90% of RTUs sold each year are the code minimum systems for energy efficiency. The result is energy guzzling systems that negatively impact a company’s bottom line.

Yet replacing RTUs before their end-of-life is not cost-effective. Purchasing a new, higher efficiency unit plus the installation costs does not make financial sense until the RTU has achieved its expected fifteen to twenty years of service. Facility managers find themselves in a catch-22. They want to improve their company’s bottom line by reducing unnecessary HVAC energy spend and the frequency of maintenance service calls during the RTU’s last 5 to 10 years of service.

ARC-Retrofits
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