HVAC Efficiency Controls Could Mean Significant Savings

May 2, 2012

According to a new report from the Energy Department's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), commercial building owners could save an average of 38% on their heating and cooling bills just by installing a few new controls onto their HVAC systems.

These findings mean significant potential savings for building owners who use commercial rooftop systems, but there's just one problem: the controls aren't currently commercially available.

Srinivas Katipamula, the PNNL engineer leading the study, says the report makes "a convincing case for manufacturers to produce more advanced HVAC controllers and for building owners to adopt these energy-saving methods." The PNNL team hopes the report will encourage manufacturers to begin producing the four different control methods. Three companies currently manufacture HVAC controllers, but only one company offers a product with all the control options that resemble the team's simulations. To help the manufacturers better understand their market, PNNL's report examines potential pricing options for the controllers and how long it would take building owners to recoup that cost. Since packaged HVACs regulate more than 60% of the commercial building floor space in the United States, the potential savings from retrofitting advanced controls on these systems is enormous. See the complete story on the DOE Energy Blog.