The focus of the Advanced Rooftop Unit (RTU) Campaign since its inception in 2013 has been encouraging high-efficiency RTU improvements in commercial buildings across the country through the replacement of old RTUs with high-efficiency units, and the retrofit of existing RTUs with advanced controls. So far we have seen tremendous success through 2016, working with over 300 organizations to impact 77,000 RTUs for an energy savings total of 17.8 trillion Btu – the equivalent of $166 million in cost savings!

Building from these successes, we are setting out to tackle the next RTU efficiency challenge: intelligent controls and automated fault detection and diagnostics (AFDD), the check-engine light for RTUs.

Intelligent controls cover a broad range of features that can be retrofitted to existing RTUs or included on new RTUs, with the purpose of improving the operational performance of RTUs. Adaptive controls adapt operation to the existing and future environmental conditions to provide a healthy productive indoor environment at the lowest energy consumption and energy cost. These adaptive controls may include variable speed fan control, variable speed compressor control, enhanced economizer control, demand controlled ventilation, and enhanced humidity control. AFDD continuously monitors the performance of RTU systems, identifies faults, attempts to diagnose the faults, and clearly communicates the faults and/or diagnosis externally.

The Advanced RTU Campaign will be working with partners to further define RTU intelligent controls and AFDD technologies, document efforts, and provide feedback for the development of improved and more cost-effective solutions. If your organization has been working on high-efficiency RTU operations with intelligent controls and AFDD, we want to hear about it! Email to share your stories with us. And if you’d like to stay involved and up-to-date on the topic, consider joining the Advanced RTU Campaign as a participant (e.g. building owner/operator) or supporter (e.g. utility, contractor, manufacturer).  

Department of Energy Better Buildings Alliance technology campaigns, like the Advanced RTU Campaign, involve public and private sector organizations across the country working together to share and replicate positive gains in energy efficiency and catalyze innovation and investment in energy efficiency. Through Better Buildings, the Energy Department is working to make commercial, public, industrial, and residential buildings 20% more energy efficient over the next decade. Read more about partner results, and the innovative RTU efficiency solutions being shared with others in the Better Buildings Solution Center.