This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

October 05, 2011

First Entry Joins High-Efficiency Commercial AC Challenge

DOE announced on October 4 that it has received the first official submission by a manufacturer to a voluntary challenge for a new generation of high-efficiency air conditioners for commercial buildings. DOE will begin testing the new Daikin McQuay's "Rebel" unit from McQuay International to determine whether it meets the high energy-efficiency performance levels outlined by the challenge. The challenge aims to reduce current AC energy use by 50% to 60%. The challenge is part of DOE's broad efforts to partner with industry in support of innovative building technologies that will reduce energy use, save money, and increase competitiveness.

The new performance criteria and challenge were developed through DOE's Commercial Building Energy Alliance. DOE brought together major U.S. companies representing a significant portion of the U.S. market to develop new performance criteria for 10-ton capacity commercial air conditioners, also known as rooftop units or RTUs. Participating companies have shared their intent to purchase equipment that meets the challenge. Entrants to the challenge will undergo testing by DOE in partnership with its Oak Ridge and Pacific Northwest national laboratories.

Commercial buildings currently account for 18 percent of U.S. energy use. Nationwide, if all the 10-ton commercial units currently sold in a given year were built using these criteria, businesses could save about $50 million a year in energy costs. Those savings would continue to add up over the life of the unit. See the DOE press release, previous coverage in EERE Network News, and the Commercial Building Energy Alliances website.