Challenge: Slash air conditioners’ electricity use

University of California Davis energy-efficiency experts recently launched a novel program designed to slash electricity use by rooftop air conditioners in the western United States by more than 40%.


The "Western Cooling Challenge," sponsored by the UC Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center , will be introduced at a Denver meeting of energy-conscious retail business leaders. The meeting is the first Retailer Energy Alliance Supplier Summit and is hosted by the U.S. Dept. of Energy .

The challenge aims to accelerate the adoption of regionally appropriate cooling technologies for new and existing low-rise, nonresidential buildings (such as suburban retail and office buildings).

"Many western states are hot and dry but use cooling systems that were designed for warm and humid climates," said Dick Bourne, associate director of the UC Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center. "With technologies specifically designed for the West, we can dramatically reduce the energy used to cool our buildings."

Bourne added that changing the cooling industry to pursue regional solutions is a challenge that will require partnering among many stakeholders.

"The UC Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center is stepping forward to organize this partnership," he said. "Succeeding with this challenge offers major rewards for all parties: utilities, manufacturers, building owners, and the general public."

The Western Cooling Challenge is a program of activities designed to help cooling-unit manufacturers deliver better products, and help building owners install and use those products.

The challenge includes voluntary, more demanding performance specifications for new rooftop cooling units; consultations with UC Davis experts for designers trying to meet those specifications; and a new certification of "Western Cooling Challenge compliant" to help building owners identify the new units in the marketplace.

Overall, the UC Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center has long-term goals of substantially reducing the energy used for cooling in the west. The goals have a target date of 2030 and apply to the 11 large western states with predominantly dry summer climates%%MDASSML%%-California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and New Mexico.

The Western Cooling Challenge supports the Western Cooling Efficiency Center’s two-pronged goals aimed at total energy use and peak-demand energy use (typically, mid-afternoon on summer days). Both goals use 2007 energy use as the baseline.
* Total energy use: The Western Cooling Efficiency Center goal is to reduce cooling energy use in all new buildings by half, and in existing buildings by one-quarter.
* Peak-demand energy use: The Western Cooling Efficiency Center goal is to eliminate (in combination with renewable electricity sources) the peak electricity demand for cooling in all new buildings, and to reduce peak electricity demand for cooling in existing buildings by half.

"With the Western Cooling Challenge, and its goal of reducing both energy use and peak demand from cooling by more than 40 percent, we are targeting a large market sector: the rooftop air conditioners that cool 70 percent of the floor area in non-residential buildings in the western U.S.,” said Bourne. “These units are not optimized for dry climates, so there is a significant opportunity here to reduce electricity use and demand."

The Western Cooling Challenge has a fast-track timeline and a high-profile list of collaborators in every key industry sector.

The timeline:
* June 5: Launch the challenge at the Retailer Energy Alliance Supplier Summit.
* July 5: Deadline for interested parties to submit questions and comments to Western Cooling Efficiency Center.
* July 18: Center to hold webcast to respond to questions and comments.
* Aug. 15: Deadline for interested parties to submit letters of intent to participate in Western Cooling Challenge.
* Summer 2009: First field testing of Western Cooling Challenge entries.
* Spring 2010: First state-of-the-art new equipment developed in Western Cooling Challenge reaches the marketplace.

The collaborators and their roles:
* Cooling system manufacturers will invest in developing new technologies and bringing them into production. (Partners already affiliated with the Western Cooling Efficiency Center include large industry leaders Trane, Lennox, and Munters, as well as smaller firms with innovative technologies.)
* Building owners and operators will provide a market for technologies developed for the Western Cooling Challenge. (Partners already affiliated with the Western Cooling Efficiency Center include industry leaders Wal-Mart and Target. The center also works closely with the California Department of General Services, which manages many state buildings in California.)
* Electric utilities offer financial incentives to building owners and operators who adopt efficiency technologies. (Energy partners who have already committed to providing incentives for Western Cooling Challenge technologies include industry leaders Southern California Edison, the Pacific Gas & Electric Co., and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.)
* Energy regulators approve energy-efficiency programs proposed by utilities. (The California Public Utilities Commission has already set public energy-savings targets through their "Big Bold Initiative." The Western Cooling Efficiency Center has incorporated the Big Bold Initiative into the Western Cooling Challenge goals.)
* Universities and other public institutions provide unbiased technical support. (Partners who have already committed to supporting the Western Cooling Challenge include the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the California Energy Commission, as well as the UC Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center, the challenge facilitator.)
* Other nonprofit organizations that focus on energy efficiency.
(Those that have committed to supporting the Western Cooling Challenge include the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy; the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project; the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance; the Retailer Energy Alliance; the Natural Resources Defense Council; and the New Buildings Institute.)

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
2015 Mid-Year Report: Manufacturing's newest tool: In a digital age, digits will play a key role in the plant of the future; Ethernet certification; Mitigate harmonics; World class maintenance
2015 Lubrication Guide: Green and gold in lubrication: Environmentally friendly fluids and sealing systems offer a new perspective
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Cyber security attack: The threat is real; Hacking O&G control systems: Understanding the cyber risk; The active cyber defense cycle
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths
New industrial buildings: Greener, cleaner, leaner; New building designs for industry; Take a new look at absorption cooling; Offshored jobs start to come back

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.