New and Underutilized Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Technologies

The following heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) technologies are underutilized within the Federal sector. These technologies have been identified by FEMP as the most promising for Federal agency deployment. Review each technology for potential facility energy savings.

Additional information is available by clicking on the individual technology, including technology application, key factors and considerations for deployment, and points of contact.

Technology Benefits Application Weighted Score
Condensing Boilers Commercial boilers that are highly efficient due to their designed ability to extract heat from flue gas moisture. Appropriate for housing, service, office, research and development, schools, and hospital applications. 86
Commercial Ground Source Heat Pumps Ground source heat pump with loops that feed multiple packaged heat pumps and a single ground source water loop. Unit capacity is typically 1-10 tons and may be utilized in an array of multiple units to serve a large load. Appropriate for housing, service, office, and research and development applications. 66
Duct Sealants Aerosol sealant is injected into the ductwork to seal leaks. This can save energy and costs associated with heating, cooling, and fan operation depending on building type. Appropriate for most building applications. 63
Water Cooled Oil Free Magnetic Bearing Compressors Water cooled oil free magnetic bearing compressors (60-80 ton and 150 ton) are small, light, quiet, and have a low startup draw. They come with onboard variable frequency drives and microprocessors. Appropriate for housing, service, office, research and development, school, prison, and hospital applications. 54
Wrap Around Heat Pipes Where humidity control is critical and performed by overcooling the air to condense out the excess moisture, air is often too cold to supply to the space and must be reheated. Wrap around heat pipes wrap around the cooling coil to pre-cool the outside air before it hits the cooling coil, allowing the cooling coil to do more work condensing out moisture. The heat pipe then re-heats the air on the backside of the cooling coil to eliminate its need to be re-heated with strip heaters or some other means. Appropriate for housing, service, office, research and development, school, and hospital applications. 53
Commercial Energy Recovery Ventilation Systems Exchange heat between the outgoing exhaust air and the ventilation air being brought in. This reduces the capacity of the HVAC system and saves energy. Application for commercial ERV systems is site dependent on climate conditions and relative duct locations. 52
Air-side Economizers and Filters for Data Centers Leverage 100% outside-air cooling capability in a data center to provide free cooling. Applicable in larger data centers with raised floors and multiple rack aisles. 52
HVAC Occupancy Sensors Detect when people are in spaces. When no one is in the room, controls reduce the thermostat set point in the winter and raise it in the summer. Applicable in house, service, office, research and development, school, hospital, and prison applications. 51
Data Center Cooling System Air Distribution Optimization Implement appropriate air distribution controls to prevent the mixing and recirculation of data center air before it reaches the servers. This is done by confining the chilled air distribution to data center cold aisles. Appropriate for larger data centers with raised floors and multiple rack aisles. 51
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Demand Ventilation Control Demand ventilation control systems modulate ventilation levels based on current building occupancy, saving energy while still maintaining proper indoor air quality (IAQ). CO2 sensors are commonly used, but a multiple-parameter approach using total volatile organic compounds (TVOC), particulate matter (PM), formaldehyde, and relative humidity (RH) levels can also be used. Applicable in rooms with variable occupancy, such as conference rooms. 50
Thermal Displacement Ventilation Thermal displacement ventilation provides slightly cooled air into the space at relatively low velocity, either through a raised floor system or wall diffusers near floor level. These are combined with a 100% outside air system and can provide heating. Applicable for hospital, office, school, and auditorium applications. 50
Demand Control Ventilation for Commercial Kitchen Hoods An energy management system for commercial kitchen hoods. It optimizes energy efficiency by reducing the exhaust and MUA fan speed. This is accomplished by leveraging sensors to determine the minimum amount of exhaust air required to capture and contain effluent from the cook line. Applicable in hospital, school, prison, housing, service, and other facilities with large kitchen facilities. 50
Active Chilled Beam cooling with Dedicated OSA Ventilation In a chilled beam system, chiller energy is delivered efficiently to the zone via water. Air in occupied spaces is passed across the radiant chilled beam. Warmer water is used than in a variable air volume system, which helps reduce energy consumption. Small amounts of outdoor air are entrained into the larger supply of re-circulated air to provide the required ratio of fresh air. Applicable in buildings with more than 60,000 square feet of floor space. 49
Multi-stage Indirect Evaporative Cooling An advanced evaporative cooler that can lower air temperatures without adding moisture. These systems evaporate water in a secondary (or working) airstream, which is discharged in multiple stages. No water or humidity is added to the primary (or product) airstream in the process. Applicable in office, research and development, service, and school applications. 48
Dehumidification Enhancements for Air Conditioning in Hot/Humid Climates Incorporation of a Cromer cycle dehumidification feature on a packaged air conditioner in hot/humid climates. The Cromer cycle is a novel combination of a desiccant wheel and a vapor compression air conditioner. Applicable in most building categories. 46
Compressor Cycling Controller Add-on system compliments existing controls to maximize (optimize) compressor operation. Software dynamically analyzes compressor cycles, achieving an overall reduction in run time without causing over cycling. Energy efficiency gains are achieved without affecting cooling capacity. Applicable in most building categories and refrigeration equipment. 45
Advanced Rooftop Packaged Air Conditioners Rooftop air conditioner with features that improve efficiency. These include improved fans, economizers, and diagnostics. Applicable in most building categories. 42
Liquid Desiccant Air Conditioners (LDAC) Deeply dries air using natural gas, solar energy, waste heat, bio-fuel, or other fossil fuels to drive the system. By providing mostly latent cooling, the LDAC controls indoor humidity without overcooling and reheating. Applicable in hospital, office, prison, school, and service applications. 42
Thermal Destratifiers Small turbine like fans are mounted near the ceiling in high bay buildings to move warm air down to the occupant level, resulting in using less energy to heat the building. Needs to be installed in well-insulated high bay buildings. Applicable in storage, industrial, and service applications. 40
Off-peak Pre-cooling Air conditioning and associated ventilation accounts for almost half of peak electric demand of commercial buildings. Using off-peak electricity to provide a significant portion of space cooling can save considerable electricity costs. Applicable in most building categories. 37
Evaporative Pre-cooling Systems Installs ahead of the condenser to lower the condenser pressure. These systems can also work with an economizer. Evaporative pre-cooling reduces the requirement for energy intensive DX cooling. Applicable in most building categories. 36
Wireless Temperature Sensors Wireless thermostats are connected into a building automation system. Ease of adding temperature sensors in more zones allows for greater spatial resolution of zone temperatures, increasing confidence in control improvements through thermostat reset. In addition, ease of moving thermostats increases diagnostic capabilities in checking existing hard-wired thermostats. Applicable in most building categories. 34

Ranking Criteria

Ranking hinges on three major attributes derived from specific capabilities and qualities of that technology in the Federal marketplace. Each attribute is weighted and scored individually. The ultimate ranking score is a summation of scores and weightings of each attribute, such as:

  1. Federal Impact (50% weighting): Combination of energy savings potential and applicability in the Federal market.

  2. Cost Effectiveness (30% weighting): Relative cost of the implementation and average expected return typically reported in case studies as simple payback period.

  3. Probability of Success (20% weighting): Combination of the qualitative characteristics scored separately and averaged to determine probability of success. Criteria include strength of supply chain, knowledge base, implementation difficulty, and customer acceptance.