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Rooftop Unit Retrofits: 6 Jaw-Dropping Facts to Consider

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Rooftop Unit Retrofits: Have you considered one?

“What can I do to lower costs?”

It’s a question asked repeatedly by building owners. 

Owners and property managers struggle with the rising cost of energy and concerns over greenhouse gas emissions. Tenants must be satisfied, budgets must be met, and building conditions must be comfortable.

What’s an owner to do?   

One thing an owner can do is to think about a rooftop unit retrofit. Here are six jaw-dropping facts to consider.

ONE: Rooftop Units heat and cool most commercial buildings

The most common commercial HVAC unit is the Rooftop Unit, commonly known as RTU. 

RTUs heat and cool 60% of the commercial buildings in the U.S. Because so many properties are heated and cooled by rooftop units, retrofitting could save a huge amount of money. Building owners would reap the savings, but the world would be better off by fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

TWO: Many existing RTUs are old and inefficient

The lifespan of a commercial Rooftop Unit is fifteen to twenty years. Many units in the United States are older than ten years and no longer operating at maximum efficiency. Retrofitting these older units and bringing them back up to maximum efficiency is worthwhile. The amount of energy used would be significantly lower.  

The less energy it takes to run a Rooftop Unit, the lower the costs to heat and cool the building.

THREE:  RTUs consume lots of energy

Commercial buildings require lots of energy. Lighting. Computers. Equipment. Security systems. Appliances, devices, and machinery. 

But no matter how much energy is needed to operate those other essentials of daily living, more energy is used to heat and cool commercial buildings. Rooftop Units alone use 4.3 Quads of energy annually.

One Quad equals a quadrillion BTUs.  That is equivalent to the energy in “183 million barrels of petroleum, 38.5 million tons of coal, or 980 billion cubic feet of natural gas.”

If rooftop units use 4.3 Quads of energy every year, that’s 787 million barrels of petroleum, 165.55 million tons of coal, and 4,410 Billion cubic feet of natural gas! 

FOUR: Rooftop Unit Retrofits would save lots of energy

The Department of Energy says that retrofitting existing rooftop units would result in 20-50% in cooling and ventilation energy every year.

Property managers take note!  A minimum of 20% savings in energy use each year adds up to big money! Experts say it could be as high as 50% in savings. Multiply that number by a few years, and the cost of the retrofit is quickly paid for and making you money!

FIVE: Rooftop Unit Retrofits are PROVEN to be effective

Between 2013 and 2019, the Department of Energy promoted an Advanced Rooftop Unit Campaign. The DOE partnered with businesses, driving energy costs down by saving 3.8 Billion Kilowatt Hours and 400 million dollars by retrofitting or replacing old RTUs.

Companies that invested in improving their rooftop units were school districts and big-name retailers like Target, H&M, Giant Tiger Stores, Ulta Beauty, and Mcdonald’s restaurants.  

SIX:  Upgraded efficiency standards went into effect in 2023

Every six years, the Department of Energy re-analyzes its requirements for efficiency. This year, all commercial air conditioners and heat pumps from 65,000 btw/h to 760,000 btw/h must achieve 15% more efficiency than in January 2018.

In total, HVAC equipment is required to be 30% more efficient than it was in 2015.

This means that any equipment purchased, installed, and used in retrofitting now, will be 30% more efficient than equipment that was installed just eight years ago!

Elite Heating and Air Conditioning knows how to help

Elite Heating and Air Conditioning are experts in rooftop unit installation and retrofitting. “No excuses. Just results.”

Call us.

Elite Heating & Air Conditioning Inc.

Delivering Reliable Commercial HVAC Services Since 1996

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