Rooftop Unit HVAC Efficiency Primer

The Rooftop Unit HVAC Efficiency Primer provides solutions to improve the efficiency of existing unitary heating and cooling equipment, commonly known as rooftop units (RTUs).

HVAC Primer

To simplify the landscape of RTU efficiency options NBI has organized the most common and effective measures into a framework based on the level of invasiveness (repair, retrofit, or replace) and what components are affected outside (on the roof) or inside (ducts, controls, and sensors). Within this simple organizational framework the guide explains the functionality and applicability of various measures and strategies, relative costs and savings, typical cost-effectiveness ranges, programmatic best practices and lessons learned in past applications.


Why Rooftop Units?

Research demonstrates what any aerial view of commercial buildings will attest, RTUs are a very common choice for air conditioning and heating in small to medium-size buildings and larger single story buildings like retail big box stores or warehouses in North America. The Energy Information Association in 2003 found that approximately 46% of commercial buildings use RTUs, accounting for 60% of total floor space. Studies have found that more than half of all RTUs are at least 10 years old.

As these units age they begin to malfunction and their performance degrades. According to the DOE, common older inefficient commercial RTUs waste from $1,000 to $3,700 per 

unit annually, depending on building size and type. However, there are many ways to improve the performance of an RTU; the purpose of this guide is to explain these options.


Who should use the RTU HVAC Efficiency Primer?

This guide is intended for utility program planners, energy efficiency program implementers,regulators, and others who want to know how to improve RTU energy efficiency. The opportunity for savings is significant but because RTUs are so common and last for so long it is very important to approach the issue with a coordinated and well-thought-out approach. The RTU HVAC Efficiency Primer can help you focus your efforts and access the right resources to create an effective energy efficiency program.


Inside the RTU HVAC Efficiency Primer

Up-to-date information on RTU energy efficiency measures, best practices and strategies:

  • Repair-Retrofit-Replace and Inside-Outside framework breaks down measures in an intuitive and easy-to-understand way that helps reduce a complicated landscape of options to an effective and simple set of solutions
  • The latest energy efficiency measures discussed, with a focus on cost, savings, cost effectiveness, and best practices
  • Lessons learned from existing utility incentive/rebate projects and programs with specific recommendations for program design
  • Information about cutting-edge research into emerging RTU technology
  • Information about standardized methods for measuring and reporting RTU savings
  • Resources for more information, including coalitions and programmatic efforts

Available now for download for $49