RTF Quarterly Newsletter: Quarter No. 49 July-September 2022

The third quarter of 2022 has come and gone and the RTF was able to get a lot done over the summer. Members adopted a few new standard protocols, a new gas measures, and revisited an old standard in residential lighting. They even had time to focus on some extra-measure work getting updates from contract analysts on ongoing regional end use load research, the development of a new residential analysis model, and a study on extreme weather impacts. As always the group was an essential clearinghouse for these projects and provided staff with insightful feedback to move forward with. The voting members even got to meet in person, together again around our big conference table. It was great to be able to connect safely again, and we look forward to the opportunity to do more of it in 2023. You can stay up to date on all RTF decision and news as it happens through the RTF website which is updated throughout the quarter.

New Standard Protocols

This quarter the RTF adopted two new standard protocols, which are a little different than the usual Unit Energy Savings work product that the RTF is most often developing. Standard protocols estimate savings for each project using a simplified and consistent method across sites. Protocols explicitly call out requirements for the ex ante and ex post estimation. The Ex ante approach outlines the information to be collected at every site and uses a simplified method to estimate savings. The Ex post approach outlines additional measurement that is to be collected on a sample of sites to address the uncertainty associated with the ex ante approach and improve savings. Over time, this is expected to improve estimation of savings.

Demand Controlled Ventilation for Kitchens Standard Protocol

In July the RTF adopted new Standard Protocol for Demand Controlled Kitchen Ventilation (DCKV). This standard protocol applies to the installation of a control system that varies the amount of airflow a kitchen ventilation system exhausts and make up air based on cooking load. To be eligible for the standard protocol a project must be in a commercial kitchen and not be required by code. For projects subject to energy code requirements, it must be demonstrated that the kitchen would satisfy code without the DCKV. This measure was developed as a standard protocol and not a UES for a number of reasons. The RTF has a UES for variable speed drives which includes a commercial exhaust application, that DCKVs would qualify for, however this UES only accounts for fan motor savings versus makeup air (MUA) tempering. This standard protocol does account for MUA tempering savings, and much of the cost effectiveness of the DKCV hinges on those savings, which are very site specific and would require too many measure applications to be a practical UES. However, if this measure is used by programs and they are able to share their findings with the RTF, those data could inform a limited UES in the future.

Floating Pressure Controls for Multiplex Systems Standard Protocol

Then in September the RTF adopted a new standard protocol for Floating Head Pressure Controls for Multiplex Systems Standard Protocol. Similar to the DCKV protocol the RTF already has a simpler UES for Single Compressor Systems and this measure does not replace that. The measure includes both floating head pressure control which reduces head (high-side) pressure of a vapor compression refrigeration cycle when outdoor air temperatures are low enough that sufficient heat rejection can be maintained and floating suction pressure control, which increases suction (low-side) pressure of a vapor compression cycle when cooling loads are low enough that end-use load setpoints can be maintained. These measures save energy by reducing the work that the compressor must provide.

Residential Lighting UES Update

In September the RTF updated savings for the Residential Lighting UES measure and set a new sunset date to September 2023. Lighting measures have historically been very important for the region, and measure updates have always garnered a lot of engagement and discussion. At this quarters update, savings were revised to reflect the new Federal Standard for general purpose lamps. Due to the standard, the RTF agreed that a retail measure for screw-in lamps no longer makes sense, but proposed keeping the direct install measure at this time. The group set a one-year sunset date to consider deactivation of all screw-in lamp measure identifiers given the short lifetime of the inefficient lamps. This measure also includes integral LED fixtures, which represent an important part of the cost-effective potential in the 2021 Power Plan.

New Gas Fireplace UES

Also at their September meeting the RTF adopted a new measure for residential gas fireplaces. This measure assumes the consumer was already planning to install a gas fireplace and therefore aims to encourage a more efficient option and should not be used to encourage gas fireplaces where there were no plans to have one. The measure applies to self contained units (zero clearance, insert, and freestanding), vented units, and both decorative and heating certified units. Eligible fireplaces are installed in new or existing Single-family, Multi-family or Manufactured Homes. They are sealed combustion, with a direct or integrated power vent, an intermittent pilot light and an efficiency of greater than or equal to 70 FE. This measure was adopted as planning due to the fact that almost all of the data it's built on is from Energy Trust, and it is uncertain how representative this data is of areas outside of ETOs territory.

Non-Measure Work

REEDR (Residential EE and DR Analysis Tool)

The RTF has been pursuing improvements to their residential simulation capacities and contracted a scoping study to look into alternatives. Currently analysts rely on SEEM for all residential simulation. SEEM has many strengths including its simplicity, speed and Northwest focus. But it also has some weaknesses around sub-hourly analysis for DR and ability to expand inputs/outputs. RTF Contract Analyst Christian Douglass and his brother Logan Douglass have been developing a custom tool for the RTF that combines SEEM and EnergyPlus to best suit the RTF’s needs. The project is ongoing, and Christian will continue to engage stakeholders in testing this tool throughout its development. They are aiming for a complete product winter of 2022.

Savings Impacts for Extreme Weather Events

The RTF has been working to explore improving their weather/climate datasets for measure analysis. At a prior meeting the RTF was presented with newer datasets for consideration and have since updated their climate zone mapping and representative weather stations (using TMYx). This quarter the focus was on saving impacts from extreme weather events. In this work, which they went on to present to the Council as well as the RTF, contractors Ben Larson of Larson Energy Research, and Justin Sharp of Sharply Focused, defined extreme weather, identified data sources, and calculated the impact of extreme events on efficiency measures and on peak power/energy. Larson and Sharp produced a memo with their findings and conclusions which you can find here.

2023 Planning

The RTF is preparing for 2023, which will be the second year of this members classes tenure. After a few successful hybrid in-person meetings this year, staff, in coordination with the greater Council policy, has scheduled a mix of in-person and remote meetings for next year. Those can be found on the calendar on the RTF website. We look forward to seeing many of you around the table at our central office in Portland in the coming year. However, like the RTF has always done, there will still be remote access options for those not willing or able to attend the meeting in person and we will work diligently to equally engage those participating virtually.

The RTF also voted to approve the 2023 RTF workplan for recommendation to the Council. After passing through the RTF Policy Advisory Committee, the workplan was approved by the Council at their October meeting. The work plan stays the course set by the 4-year funding agreement adopted in 2020 but flushes out some details of the anticipated work. More measures sunset in 2023 than in the previous two years of the funding cycle which will mean more time spent updating existing measure than adopting new ones. The work plan also flags intent to spend some unspent funds on demand response analysis, to perform a few studies to better represent EE’s full value to the power system, and to develop some tools that allow the RTF to expand their analysis of EE/DR interaction.

Upcoming at the RTF:

In the final quarter of the year, the RTF will be advancing and considering the following: 

  • Air Source Heat Pump Measure Updates
  • Non-Residential Mid-Stream Lighting
  • Whole Building White Paper
  • Residential Air Conditioners

Subcommittee Roundup

Research & Evaluation Subcommittee: Gas Fireplaces: The R&E subcommittee met to discuss the development of a new residential gas fireplace measure before it went to the RTF for a final decision on adoption.

Market Analysis Subcommittee: Residential Lighting: The market analysis subcommittee met to discuss the upcoming update of the Residential Lighting UES. The focus of the meeting was vetting the forecast analysts proposed using for the market shares of the various lighting applications in the measure.

Small and Rural Utilities Subcommittee: The Small/Rural Subcommittee meets once a quarter to discuss how to support the specific needs of small and rural utilities

Operations Subcommittee: The Operations subcommittee meets before each RTF meeting to review and discuss the RTF meeting agendas, decisions, and contracts.

Approved Measure Updates