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What You Need to Know About the 2018 Efficiency Requirements for Rooftops

Back in 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced new compliance guidelines for all commercial rooftop HVAC systems, including air conditioners and heat pumps, for any low-rise building. This affects a vast span of structures, including retail stores, mid-level hospitals, educational facilities, and more. The DOE stated that the new requirements would go into effect on January 1, 2018, and in the blink of an eye, that time is here.

What Are the New Rooftop Regulatory Efficiency Requirements?

The new HVAC rooftop efficiency requirements are being rolled out in two phases, and right now, only phase one is in effect. This phase states that all commercial rooftop air conditioning units must improve energy efficiency by 10 percent. However, this is a short-term expectation. By 2023, all RTUs will need to be 30 percent more efficient, and warm-air furnaces will also be included at that time.

DOE is also shifting its performance metric from SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) to IEER (Integrated Energy Efficiency Ratio). The major difference is IEER assesses how a unit performs over the course of an entire season instead of just during the coldest or hottest days of the year. The specific requirements will vary state to state, so you will want to check with the DOE to make sure your customers are compliant.

Why Create New Efficiency Requirements for Rooftops?

As expected, the purpose of the new HVAC rooftop efficiency standards is to cut energy costs and reduce waste. In fact, these new requirements stand to save property owners a lot of money in energy expense. It is estimated that the new requirements will cut HVAC energy usage by 1.7 trillion kWh over the next thirty years. This equates to an average of $7,000 back into the building owner’s pocket over the lifespan of the rooftop unit.

How the Rooftop Regulatory Efficiency Requirements Will Impact You

Manufacturers are quickly responding to these regulations by modifying rooftop technology in order to adhere to increased efficiency requirements. Variations might include use of multi-speed blower and/or condenser fans, compression, larger coil heat exchangers, and modified controls.

Specific to rooftops available at CE, Carrier continues to incorporate the factory-installed, run-tested Staged Air Volume SAV™ system, which utilizes Variable Frequency Drive (VFD). This automatically adjusts the indoor fan motor speed in sequence with the unit’s cooling, heating, and ventilation operation. This technology, which comes factory installed, will ensure that units meet or exceed 2018’s efficiency requirements.


For more information on the new efficiency requirements for rooftops, or for help locating the upgraded RTUs by Carrier that meet these demands, contact CE today, or visit our commercial HVAC lineup online.