April RTF Meeting Recap

  • May 01, 2020

April’s meeting was the second time the RTF has convened in an all remote format and it went pretty well, all things considered.  While we’re continuing to learn and adapt to this new reality, the few changes we’ve made from last month have already made a big difference. We’ve made time for longer breaks for those members who are juggling many hats while working from home and tried out a voting spreadsheet that members could update in real time. Things are moving a little slower than they would in-person, but the group is still having good conversation and working through important measures. May’s meeting will also be held remotely and we’re working with members to learn from previous meetings to make the experience as effective and productive as we can. If you weren’t able to tune in to April’s meeting, here’s what you missed.

The meeting began with a discussion of the Research Strategy for High Efficiency Central Air Conditioners. This UES was approved as a planning measure in January of this year and since its approval contract analysts, along with the research and evaluation subcommittee, have developed a research strategy to address sources of uncertainty. The two main aims of the research strategy are to meter regional residential cooling loads and develop central air conditioning efficiency curves. The RTF voted to adopt the research strategy and will revisit the measure in three years to see if anyone in the region has picked up the research.

A lot of the RTF’s time was spent on approving the updated Efficient Pumps UES. This measure filled a gap in the RTF portfolio. It was developed after DOE launched a process for a new rule and test procedure for pump systems. The RTF approved a Planning measure in December 2016. At April’s meeting it was adopted as a fully Proven UES measure. This move to proven was predicated on the fact that research was performed to address many of the uncertainties identified in the research strategy. NEEA worked with RTF and Council staff to develop and perform research that addressed the research strategy objectives and explored hours of use and the adjustment factor.

Finally, the RTF tackled an entirely new measure, Consumer Heat Pump Water Heaters in Commercial Applications. This new UES adjusts the residential heat pump water heater UES to apply to commercial applications. The main adjustments were to water use, HVAC interaction and type, installation location, and tank size based on CBSA data. Water use in commercial buildings is very uncertain, because of this the measure was approved as planning with an accompanying research strategy that is primarily aimed at better understanding hot water usage in commercial applications.

After some of the above conversations ran long, we had to push back a few agenda items. We will return to the Commercial & Industrial Fans research strategy at a future meeting and won’t have time this year for the 2020 measure scan item, but both presentations remain posted on the meeting page for those interested. At May’s upcoming meeting we’ll be delving into the first of our natural gas measures, weatherization in gas homes and new manufactured homes as well as returning to C&I fans and engine block heaters.  We hope you and yours are staying safe and sane, and we appreciate everyone’s continued engagement with the RTF. See you next month!