Space Conditioning Project Team

Commercial space conditioning (heating, cooling, and ventilation) accounts for about 7.0 quads of primary energy per year, or about 40% of total commercial use. Fortunately, there are many cost-effective opportunities to reduce space conditioning energy use, such as tuning up existing systems, reducing supplemental energy loads to minimize the burden on heating and cooling systems, and replacing older equipment with new, high-efficiency equipment. The Better Buildings Alliances (BBA) Space Conditioning Project Team members work with DOE's national laboratories and with each other to deploy these and other energy-saving space-conditioning strategies.

For a list of BBA member companies currently participating on the Space Conditioning Project Team, see the list below. If you would like to work on the Space Conditioning Project Team and are a BBA member, email the BBA coordinator. If you are not a member, learn more about joining BBA.

Current Project Team Initiatives

Sample team activities include:

  • Verifying performance and energy savings of entries to the High Performance Rooftop Unit Challenge and helping members use the new units in their buildings.
    • Rooftop units (RTUs) are used in nearly half of all cooling-conditioned commercial floor space in the United States. RTUs built according to the BBA specification are expected to reduce energy use by as much as 50%, compared with the current ASHRAE 90.1 standard, depending on location and facility type. Nationwide, if all 10- to 20-ton commercial units were replaced with units built to this specification, businesses would save about $1 billion each year in energy costs.
    • DOE also developed an RTU Comparison Calculator, so you can easily compare the energy and financial benefits of high-efficiency units to standard equipment.
  • RTU Early Retirement Program
    • Many existing RTUs are over ten years old with at least five years of useful life, but they have a low operating efficiency compared to new units. Replacing these old units with new high efficiency RTUs can save up to 50% of the RTU energy, but replacement can be expensive and building owners are not willing to make this type of investment in energy efficiency. DOE will work with key stakeholders including utility companies and 3rd party financing entities who can help incentivize the early retirement of underperforming legacy units and replacement with high performing RTU units. By piloting this program, documenting performance and cost savings, and converting them into a business case or/case study for others to replicate, DOE can facilitate the widespread early-retirement of under-performing RTUs to a broader region.
  • Helping members save energy by using the gas heater specification.
    • An older gas heater operated for 2,000 hours a year can cost up to $5,700 each year in energy costs. A new heater that meets the specification will use 10% less energy and could save $2,900 over five years in a state with a mild climate such as Tennessee and up to $3,600 in a cold-climate state like New York.
    • If all gas heaters in the United States were replaced with heaters built to the energy requirements in this specification, businesses could save 0.54 billion therms of energy, or about $0.4 billion in energy costs per year.
  • Demonstrating advanced control strategies for RTUs as a retrofit measure.
    • Most building rooftop air conditioning and heating units lack advanced controls. Retrofitting existing systems with such controls can save a significant amount of energy.
    • DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) estimates that a typical 25,000 sq. ft. stand-alone retail store could save $7,000 to $24,000 a year (per-unit savings range from $2,000 to $5,900) and that a typical 45,000 sq. ft. supermarket could save between $16,000 and $52,000 per year (per-unit savings range from $2,700 to $8,700).
  • Helping members qualify for tax deductions under 179D via DOE's simplified qualification calculator.
    • Many Alliance members noted that it was too difficult to qualify for lighting, space conditioning, and insulation tax deductions under 179D because the costs of modeling savings to qualify for the deduction could potentially outweigh the savings from the deduction. In response, DOE developed this simplified calculator to help you quickly qualify for the deduction. The IRS will accept the results of this calculator tool as proof of qualification.
  • Sharing best practices for efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Members share resources on regular Project Team conference calls.

Resources and Past Initiatives

Additional Information

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Space Conditioning Team Members

  • Adventist HealthCare
  • American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
  • Beaumont Health System
  • CB Richard Ellis Group, Inc.
  • Hospital Corporation of America
  • Jones Lang LaSalle
  • Legacy Health System
  • Living City Block
  • Mayo Clinic
  • PetSmart, Inc.
  • Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association
  • Publix Super Markets
  • Starbucks Coffee Company
  • Summa Health System
  • Target Corp.
  • Texas Children's Hospital
  • The Home Depot, Inc.
  • The Walt Disney Co.
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • U.S. General Services Administration
  • Walgreen Co.
  • Walmart Stores, Inc.
  • Wawa, Inc.
  • Whole Foods Market, Inc.