Improved Savings for Rooftop Air Conditioners

More Good Efficiency News for Rooftop Air Conditioners

NRDC, April 29, 2016. Image credit: derwiki

The Department of Energy (DOE) recognized six large companies this week for their investments in increasing the efficiency of these rooftop air conditioners by replacing or retrofitting aging, inefficient units with more efficient machinery.

Rooftop air conditioners—commonly used in low-rise buildings such as schools, restaurants, big-box stores and small office buildings—are big energy users. But the upgrades made by the six companies, which include such major retailers as Target and Walmart, will save an estimated 1 trillion BTU in a single year—enough energy savings to offset the annual carbon emissions of about 21,000 homes—while cutting more than $11 million in yearly energy costs.

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These investments add to the success story on rooftop air conditioners and demonstrate the large magnitude of savings available from this product category.

Even greater savings are on the way from the largest energy efficiency standards ever issued for commercial rooftop air conditioners last December. Over 30 years, these standards, which go into effect starting in 2018, will save 15 quadrillion BTU, enough energy savings to offset the carbon emissions from more than 120 million U.S. homes for a year.

The standards, a product of negotiations between manufacturers, utilities, consumer and environmental groups (including NRDC) and others, are critical to the president’s goal of reducing carbon pollution by at least 3 billion metric tons by 2030 through efficiency rules for appliances and federal buildings. Cutting the energy use of rooftop air conditioners reduces the need to burn fossil fuels to generate the electricity necessary to power them, which avoids the dangerous carbon emissions fueling climate change.

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