In what is being forecast as the biggest single national energy savings plan move in U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) history, new standards are being proposed to regulate commercial rooftop air conditioning usage.
“DOE’s new standards are a breath of cool air for businesses since air conditioners account for about 10 percent of a typical commercial building’s electricity cost,” said Steve Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
As well as using an excellent energy-efficiency pun, Mr Nadel’s quote signifies some huge changes to come.
The proposed standards will eventuate in nation-wide commercial air conditioning energy savings of 30%.
Diving deeper into the numbers, over a 30-year period (the typical lifespan of a commercial air conditioning unit) this 30% slash in energy consumption will translate to an estimated drop in consumption of 1.3 trillion kilowatt-hours and financial savings of between $16 and $50 billion across the U.S.
These are staggering numbers, but what will it mean to the typical building owner?
The DOE predicts that across the lifetime of a typical air conditioning unit a building owner will be looking at savings of between $3,500 – $16,000 (per unit).
With many buildings having multiple units in operation, it is easy to see how quickly these numbers will add up – at the micro level for individual businesses and benefiting the nation at the macro level.
The commercial air conditioning energy saving proposals are likely to be completed by the conclusion of 2015, and are expected to contribute greatly towards the DOE achieving President Obama’s 2030 efficiency goals.