RTF Quarterly Newsletter: Quarter No. 35 January-March

  • April 24, 2019

The first quarter of the year has come and gone and the RTF has been super busy.  On the new schedule, adopted at the end of last year, there have been three RTF meetings this quarter and many more subcommittee meetings.  The new class of RTF members, who started at the beginning of the quarter, have been learning the ropes and really delving into appraising measures, asking important questions and making difficult decisions.  RTF meetings have been lively with almost all members in attendance and fully engaged.  Since January, the group has dug into a new technology, approved a new lighting protocol, started the process of calibrating the residential building model SEEM and much more.  To stay up to date all on RTF decisions and news as it happens, check out the RTF website as it’s updated throughout the quarter.   

New and Noteworthy

Non-Res Lighting Protocol

The RTF started the year with a bang, updating the Non-Residential Lighting Retrofits Standard Protocol at January’s meeting. These were primarily updates to assumptions around the current practice baseline, which only applies to savings in the post-remaining useful life period. Most of the discussion at the meeting was around the methodology for determining current practice watts. This is a challenging assumption, as the RTF is determining what the building owner would have installed after the existing lighting system failed, which is completely unknown. After much discussion, the group concluded that taking an average of the pre-condition implied watts (assuming they would have installed what is there) and the efficient case implied watts (assuming they would have changed the lighting levels anyway) was the most apt, which was captured in the update.

Commercial Building Model White Paper

At February’s meeting RTF contract analysts presented on their commercial whole building white paper, in collaboration with Bill Koran from SBW Consulting about evaluation capabilities of data-driven models of whole-building energy consumption (often described as NMEC in some jurisdictions). The paper seeks to describe what is currently known about the reliability of savings evaluations based on these models.  The paper is intended to inform the RTF and other stakeholders about the current state of knowledge regarding reliability of savings estimates based on data-driven models of commercial building-level energy consumption.  The comment period closed in early April and now the contract analysts are digesting the comments they received.  Next they will take the paper with comments to the commercial building model subcommittee to revise findings and recommendations. Analysts will then seek an RTF decision on summary findings and recommendations, this would be an anticipated topic for the June RTF meeting at the earliest.

SEEM Calibration

RTF contract analysts have started an ongoing calibration of the SEEM housing model that will eventually be applied to relevant RTF measures. The process has just gotten started and March’s presentation was a share out of progress with a focus on insulation updates. RTF contract analysts are calibrating the model by taking a set of buildings from RBSA II, for which important characteristics are well known, and creating a set of simulation models, from there they run those models through SEEM to estimate energy consumption for each building. They then compare the modeled energy consumption to the actual energy consumption for each building and come up with a set of factors to adjust modeled to actual. Finally they use the models and adjustment factors to estimate energy savings for a variety of, mostly weather-dependent, efficiency measures. A well calibrated model is important to the work the RTF does as a model that is calibrated to real energy consumption data can be a robust alternative where measurement-based estimates are not feasible or available.

Demand Response Work

Demand Response is a new subject for the RTF which has raised a lot of important issues to be worked through by the group as they consider the prescribed scope of the RTF in this space. Two DR impact estimates were brought in front of the RTF in February, one for level 2 electric vehicle chargers and the other for commercial lighting controls. Another technology, connected thermostats, was explored in March. The contract analysts presented the maximum per unit potential for each technology to the RTF for their consideration. All three proposals also passed through the Demand Response Subcommittee where regional experts weighed in on these estimates. This thoroughly vetted, initial review will now be passed on to the Council’s Demand Response Advisory Committee for further analysis.   

Coming Up Next

There is a lot to look forward to coming up for the RTF this year.  Much of the work that has been started this quarter will be continued into the subsequent quarters. 5% of the RTF’s 2019 budget is dedicated to investigating 6 demand response technologies.  In this quarter the group has already examined EV chargers, commercial lighting controls, and connected thermostats leaving residential water heaters, irrigation pump controls and refrigeration controls to be brought before the RTF in the coming months.  The RTF will also continue their work calibrating SEEM, a task that will be finalized in the next few meetings and then applied to relevant measures, especially those that are air source heat pump related. Once those outstanding items are wrapped up, the RTF expects to move on to weatherization and HVAC measure updates, as well as lighting and pump measures in the last quarters of the year.

The 2021 Regional Power Plan kicked off in February and a development plan and draft process has been posted on the council website.  RTF analysis of energy efficiency savings potential is used in the Council’s development of energy efficiency supply curves.  As the Council gets deeper into this work for the 2021 Plan, the RTF will be increasingly involved, as needed, in this supply curve development. You can learn more about the power planning process here.              

Subcommittee Roundup

Demand Response Subcommittee: Met twice in quarter one of 2019. First, in February, to discuss the RTF’s role in demand response as well as two DR technologies, commercial lighting controls and electric vehicle battery chargers. The next time they met in March about demand response impact estimate as it pertains to connected thermostats.

Small and Rural Utilities Subcommittee: The Small/Rural Subcommittee maintains a dedicated function within the RTF to support the specific needs of small and rural utilities. This subcommittee met once in Q1 of 2019 to discuss the applicability of recently adopted measures to small and rural utilities and to poll the group for new measures of interest for the upcoming year.

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

Non-residential Lighting Subcommittee: The purpose of this meeting was to get subcommittee feedback on proposed changes to the Non-Residential Lighting Retrofits Standard Protocol. This protocol was updated at the January RTF meeting. This subcommittee will meet again later in this year to discuss other non-residential lighting measures.

Ductless Heat Pump Subcommittee: The RTF’s single-family and manufactured homes DHP for Zonal UES measures received a sunset date extension in January. The contract analysts will be working on updates to these measures over the coming months.

Implementers Group: The Implementers Group meets after each RTF meeting to discuss the outcome of the RTF meeting, upcoming RTF meeting topics, and other topics that affect program implementers in the region.

Approved Measure Changes

In addition to the items highlighted above, the first quarter of 2019 the RTF voted to approve the following changes to UES measures and Standard Protocols:

  • Approve updates to the Refrigeration and Freezer UES. Set the Category to Proven, the status to Active and the Sunset date to January 2024. Also where there isn’t ESME sales data available, set the UEC to 15% less than the sales-weighted Federal Standard.
  • Approve updates to the Residential Low Flow Showerhead Measure. Change the measure identifier from 1.75 to 1.8 gpm or less and update the savings to the extent they are affected. Use 0.9 in-situ adjustment factor, update duration with 2016 Residential End Use Water Survey and add embedded water energy savings to TRC. Use updated web-scraping data for current practice, keep the category at Planning, the status at Active and set the sunset date to February 2020 to check on progress of research.
  • Approve updates to the Thermostatic Shower Restrictor Valve Measure as consistent with residential low flow showerhead updates. Add embedded water to TRC. Keep the category at Planning, the status at Active, And set the sunset date to February 2020.
  • Approve updates to the Commercial Low Flow Showerhead Measure. Change the measure identifier from 1.75 to 1.8 gpm or less and update the savings to the extent they are affected. Change retail delivery mechanism to wholesale and use an in-situ flow adjustment of 0.9. Add embedded water energy savings to TRC, keep the category at Small Saver, keep the status at Active and set the sunset date to February 2020.
  • Extend the sunset dates for Compressor Head Fan Motor Retrofit to ECM UES and ECMs for Display Cases to July 2019.
  • Extend the sunset dates for Multifamily Weatherization and School Weatherization to December 2019.
  • Extend sunset date for Manufactured Home ASHP Upgrades and Conversions, Manufactured Home Weatherization (Heat Pumps) and Manufactured Home Commissioning Controls and Sizing to July 2019.
  • Extend the sunset date for the Ductless Heat Pumps for Zonal Heat SF and MH measures to June 2019 and set the measure status to Under Review.