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When Did You Last Replace Your Property’s Rooftop Units? Time for Energy Efficiency.

Written by: Marta Schantz

Let’s face it – rooftop unit air conditioning units (RTUs) are not the flashiest building system for commercial buildings to improve with energy efficiency opportunities. They are far from daily view, have a very long lifespan (15 years on average), and are expensive to replace. Despite such barriers, RTUs still present a huge opportunity for energy savings and are an oft-forgotten option when it comes to reducing a building’s operating expenses.

To address this, the Department of Energy created the Advanced RTU Campaign, a national initiative that promotes RTU efficiency via replacement with high-efficiency units or retrofit with advanced controllers. Waypoint has been co-leading this Campaign since the Spring of 2013, and over that time we have seen organizations save significant amounts of energy and money across portfolios of buildings by taking advantage of RTU savings opportunities. Case studies touting a simple payback of under a year for advanced controller retrofits and energy savings of 50% for high-efficiency replacements present a very convincing argument.

Even with successful examples of RTU savings, what it comes down to for high-cost capital RTU replacements is the business case. The ultimate decision-makers need to be certain that an RTU replacement is a wise financial investment. And the Advanced RTU Campaign has a new resource to address just that hurdle. The Business Case for Proactive RTU Replacement provides a thorough step-by-step instruction on calculating the quantitative and qualitative costs and benefits of proactive RTU replacement.

How do you adjust for tax depreciation write-offs if the RTU is retired before reaching its book life? How do you calculate energy savings between two different RTU efficiency levels? How do you assign a number to the value of avoiding emergency replacements? What about the value of occupant comfort? Don’t even think about forgetting utility incentives.

This document walks readers through each of those considerations and more, resulting in a comprehensive financial analysis that can be applied to commercial buildings across the country. Waypoint understands the value of financial metrics to commercial decision makers and leverages that expertise across its clients and programs, from government activities to utility audits. If you’re interested in learning more about quantifying qualitative benefits and calculating the value of energy efficiency, email


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