Rooftop Air Conditioner Update: Technology Procurement Winners Available for Purchase


A year ago, the FEMP Focus featured an article on improving the energy efficiency of packaged rooftop systems. (See "Improving Energy Efficiency in Packaged Rooftop Systems," FEMP Focus, July 2001.) The article described the needs and opportunities for higher efficiency and progress along several fronts, including mandatory minimum standards, the Consortium for Energy Efficiency's (CEE's) High Efficiency Commercial Air Conditioning initiative, and new E NERGY S TAR? ratings for these products. The article also reported on a plan by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to issue a coordinated innovative procurement for a "new generation" of packaged rooftop systems in small commercial sizes (between 65,000 and 135,000 Btu per hour). Some of the winning units are now available for purchase by Federal government and private entities.

The procurement, supported by both FEMP and DOE's Office of Building Research and Standards, in addition to the Department of Defense, seeks to promote the manufacture of equipment that improves both performance and cost-effectiveness compared to models now on the market. PNNL provided the technical and market research to initiate the procurement, and also recruited several large prospective buyers, both within and outside the Federal government.

The solicitation, issued in early January 2002, required that equipment meet at least the CEE Tier II / E NERGY S TAR?/ FEMP efficiency levels, at a minimum, and prescribed a cost-effectiveness rating formula that balanced the initial price of the equipment against expected energy costs, taking into account average weather conditions and both full- and part-load efficiencies. Winning models with the lowest total life-cycle cost have been selected, and PNNL has negotiated basic ordering agreements reflecting the offered prices and terms with two manufacturers for the following products: