RTF Quarterly Newsletter: Quarter No. 50 October-December 2022

With the last quarter of the year, the RTF was able to accomplish a great deal to wrap up 2022. Members adopted updates to two existing UES measures, Green Motor Rewind and Non-Residential Midstream Lighting. The RTF tackled some challenging non measure work, including providing insights on how to advance commercial whole building performance-based approaches and identifying a path forward for considering dual fuel heat pumps. Members provided valuable perspective on important measure updates, particularly Weatherization and Air Source Heat Pumps for single family and manufactured homes, providing additional time to dig into key aspects of these measures for updates in 2023. The voting members concluded the year with a final in person meeting, and welcomed the new RTF Manager, Laura Thomas.

For questions on the work in 2022 or more details on the current efforts, please continue to check out the RTF website or reach out to Laura to learn how to continue to stay connected.

UES Measure Updates

Single Family and Manufactured Homes Weatherization

In October, the RTF discussed the Single Family and Manufactured Homes Weatherization UES Measures to extend the sunset date to allow additional time for updates to the costs based on the Federal Tax Credit. After reviewing new evaluation data from Energy Trust of Oregon regarding residential insulation impacts, the RTF determined that a more extensive update focused on gas heat homes was warranted and decided to set the sunset date to May 2023 to allow adequate time for this. Both UES Weatherization measures include a number of individual measures to improve the insulation levels (attic, wall and floor insulation, primary window replacement, window efficiency upgrades, and infiltration reduction) of single family and manufactured homes to improve the overall efficiency of the building. The RTF will be looking at these measures in the first half of 2023.

Air Source Heat Pumps SF and MH

In December, the RTF considered opportunities to revise the UES measures for air source heat pump conversions and upgrades in single family and manufactured homes. The conversion portion of these measures converts from a forced air furnace to a current practice air source heat pump (ASHP). While the upgrade portion is from a current practice air source heat pump to a more efficient air source heat pumps. The measures do not have any requirements around commissioning, controls, or sizing, although the RTF continues to recognize the importance of proper sizing and controls to ensure efficiency savings. For the revision in December, the RTF determined that the increases required by the new Federal Minimum Standards raises the efficiency of units high enough that there is limited energy savings between current practice ASHPs and a slightly higher efficiency single speed unit. Considering this, the RTF decided to remove the 8.5 to 9.0 HSPF measure applications and just focus on the upgrade to variable capacity. For the conversion measure, newer evaluations identified different savings that are currently used in the measure resulting in questions about the current savings. To allow additional time to determine next steps, including for the savings for VCHPs, the RTF extended the sunset date by one year while in the interim setting the status of the conversion applications to under review to highlight to users there are questions around the savings. In 2023, the subcommittee will convene to explore some of these questions and determine additional changes for this measure by the end of the year.

Non Measure Work

Exploration of Dual Fuel Heat Pumps

In December, the RTF discussed potential paths forward for dual fuel heat pumps, given that the installation of this equipment does not necessarily qualify as conservation based on the Council’s definition from the Northwest Power Act. However, the RTF can provide valuable technical analysis around this technology and its impact on energy use. In particular, staff recommended moving forward in three specific areas: 1) continuing efforts to conduct secondary research to understand sizing and operation of dual fuel heat pumps (DFHP) in the region; 2) consider opportunities to develop tools to explore fuel consumption for expected operations of DFHPs and other heating types; and 3) when appropriate update existing RTF measures to include identifiers for dual fuel heat pumps, which in first half of 2023 will include weatherization for single family, manufactured homes, and multifamily UES measures.

Commercial Whole Buildings

In October, the RTF approved the proposed scope and direction of the current efforts underway to advance and fill regional gaps around performance-based approaches to commercial buildings. Josh Ruston, RTF Contract Analyst, reviewed that the expected product from this work is a white paper that will provide formal RTF endorsement of key elements and will provide sufficient detail for power planning, but will not be as detailed as a Standard Protocol. Following the October meeting, the subcommittee convened in November to advance this work focusing on building the basis for estimating attainable energy impacts and incrementation costs by determining what intervention packages the white paper should consider. Staff expect to bring an update on this work to the RTF in the first quarter of 2023.

Subcommittee Roundup

Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) Subcommittee met in November to discuss the impacts of the 2023 Department of Energy Federal Minimum Standard changes and new evaluation to gather direction to support proposed changes to the Single Family and Manufactured Homes ASHP Upgrades and Conversions UES measures for the December RTF meeting.

Whole Building Subcommittee convened to discuss technical issues related to the white paper being developed to understand how energy interventions in commercial buildings could support power planning and conservation targets in the future.

Small and Rural Utilities Subcommittee during its quarterly meeting share out what their utilities have been working on lately.

Non-Residential Lighting Subcommittee had a meeting to provide feedback on the proposed changes to the Non-Residential Lighting Midstream UES to support final proposed changes for the RTF meeting in December.

Operations Subcommittee met before each RTF meeting to review and discuss the proposed meeting agenda, decisions, and contracts.

Upcoming at the RTF

In the new year, the RTF will be advancing and considering the following:

  • Thermostatically Controlled Outlets for Pump House Heaters UES
  • Review Proposed New Measures
  • Residential building simulation modeling (REEDR)
  • Energy efficiency resilience valuation methodology study
  • Accounting for interactivity in resource planning and impacts on demand flexibility
  • Commercial whole building white paper
  • Potential New Measures for PTHP for commercial and multifamily, commercial gas pacs, and air curtains for refrigerated warehouse

Approved Measure Updates

  • Updated the Non-Residential Midstream Lighting UES to approve as presented, as well as to change the measure life cap to 12 years, change the assumption to 100% of ballasts replaced in the baseline (over the life of the measure), keep the Category at Provide for 4ft T8, T5, T5HO, and HID replacement, set the Category to Planning for 2ft and 8ft T8, and keep the Status as Active. The sunset date for the measure was set to December 31, 2024.
  • Approved updates to the Industrial and Agricultural Green Motor Rewind UES as presented, and keep the Status as Active and Category as Small Saver, and set the sunset date to October 31, 2027.