June RTF Meeting Recap

  • July 06, 2020

Here at the RTF we’re adapting to our new all remote reality as best we can with a number of changes to the traditional RTF meeting structure.  All meetings through the end of the year have now been shifted to a webinar format.  To accommodate virtual participation as best we can, all remaining meetings have been shortened to half days (9:00am to 1:00pm) and a second meeting day has been added to July, September and October in hopes of getting through more of the work plan. As the first meeting since adopting this new format, June’s RTF meeting served as something of a test run, and it ended up being a very productive one. The RTF found the time to update four existing measures, develop two entirely new measures and deactivate two others.

The meeting started with the RTF adopting updates to the Circulator Pumps UES. This measure is for Circulator Pumps for hydronic heating and cooling and domestic water recirculation. As a planning measure, the savings approved by the RTF remain uncertain and would require more data to be considered reliable. For this month’s update, there was some new data from NEEA research, but it only touched on a piece of the measure and wasn’t complete enough to tip the measure into proven. The biggest changes were to measure identifiers and specifications which aimed to pull out key determinants of savings and allow for better mapping of savings to different measure applications.

The RTF also approved smaller updates to three other measures: Thermostatic Shower Restriction Valves (TSRVs), Low-Rise Multifamily Weatherization and Anti-Sweat Heater Controls. All three remain planning measures without enough new data available to shift them to proven. For TSRVs, the RTF primarily updated measure identifiers to remove those identifiers that included incremental savings for low-flow showerheads, and add an identifier for natural gas water heaters. These updates resulted in little changes in savings. Similarly, the RTF adopted only minor updates to the Low-Rise Multi-Family Weatherization measure, with no new data to work with. Staff added a gas measure identifier, updated costs, updated the windows baseline to be consistent with Single Family and Manufactured Home Weatherization decisions, and will bring back research strategy for the RTF’s consideration later this year. Finally, the RTF adopted changes to the Anti-Sweat Heater Controls measure, moving away from using EnergyPlus modeling like the previous update, and instead utilized additional data to develop regional estimates based on average runtime reduction.

On top of these existing measure updates, the RTF also found the time to develop two new measures: Forced Circulation Engine Block Heaters for Non-Residential Standby Generators and ENERGY STAR Ice Makers. First the RTF adopted a new Planning UES to apply a forced circulation heater to a standby generator. Staff used data from BPA and Avista to look at the relationship between the outdoor air temperature and the kWh use. They then applied that relationship to TMY data to estimate a pre-retrofit energy and applied the average percent savings to that annual energy use to estimate energy savings as a function of generator size, finding that savings go up with generator size and heating zone. The RTF also approved a new Small Saver UES for ENERGY STAR Ice Makers in light of a new ENERGY STAR specification that went into effect in January 2018. The measure identifiers are broken out to align with this specification. While there is some uncertainty around duty cycle, the RTF opted to assume a 60% duty cycle rather than ENERGY STAR’s 75%, the measure being a small saver means that no additional research warranted.

Finally, the RTF deactivated two measure in June, Commercial and Residential Showerheads and Low-Rise Multifamily New Construction. Showerhead savings are very uncertain and had been a planning measure for a long time with no research being done to help improve that certainty. While there’s a lot of old data, there’s none that address the smaller increments of improvement that we’re seeing in the region now. This combined with a baseline that has advanced to the point that there are only small increments of potential savings, leaves the measure no longer reliable. For Low-Rise Multifamily New Construction there was a general lack of regional interest. However, the RTF could consider expanding the New Homes Standard Protocol to include low-rise multifamily.

In spite of our altered format, the RTF’s summer is shaping up to be a busy one. July’s meeting promises to be just as packed as June’s.  Over the two days the RTF will be taking up Engine Block Heater Controls, Voltage Optimization, Variable Frequency Drives, School Weatherization, Lodging and Guest Room Controls, and the draft 2021 Work Plan. We hope you’ll join us!