RTF Quarterly Newsletter: Quarter No. 38 October-December 2019

  • January 31, 2020

With the close of this final quarter of the 2019, we’re left to reflect on all the awesome stuff the RTF has accomplished and express gratitude to all those who have stuck with us through this jam-packed year.   This also marks the end of this RTF classes first year, and what a year it has been.  The group hasn’t lost any steam as they’ve continued to tackle complicated conversations head on, always with the shared goal of finding the best answer available.  This focus has gotten a lot done this quarter. Now that SEEM has been calibrated, the contract analysts moved on to updating the many measures that rely on SEEM for estimating savings.  Updating measures like DHPs, ASHPs and Weatherization, took up a bulk of the quarter, but the RTF managed to get a few other things done, like the annual Non-residential midstream lighting UES update as well as a look at allocating resources to developing some new measures in the new year.  2020 will see a few changes in the RTF, having added both natural gas and demand response to the charter earlier this year and entering a new 5-year funding cycle, but we’re excited to take these on in the coming years. You can stay up to date all on RTF decisions and news as it happens on the RTF website which is updated throughout the quarter.

Post-SEEM Calibration!

The RTF spent much of 2019 working on calibrating the SEEM residential building model.  That work wrapped up at the end of last quarter which freed analysts up to start on updating SEEM reliant measures.  Over the course of Q4, the RTF approved a whole suite of HVAC measures, seeing changes in savings and methodology for many. 


Single Family Wx
First up was Residential Single Family Weatherization, which the RTF updated at October’s meeting. The RTF made several decisions of over the past year that have had some impact on savings, for example, using ‘next measure in’ approach, instead of a full measure package approach where interaction is divvyed up across measures, updates to mapping to weather stations, and an updated SEEM calibration, incorporating a new methodology and RBSA II. Each of these decisions resulted in some changes to the measure savings. While it is hard to parse out which decision resulted in which change for each measure, savings are generally lower. The biggest drop was for windows, many of which are no longer cost-effective per the Council assumptions. Staff believes that these results are reasonable, but recognizes that there isn’t a lot of data available. In light of that, the RTF decided that these measures should be considered Planning and set it to Under Review while staff develops a research strategy for RTF consideration.  

Manufactured Home Wx 
The RTF updated the Manufactured Home Weatherization UES very much in line with how it approached SF Weatherization, with a few key differences. One being that rather than using the calibration approved in September, the RTF opted to use a calibration factor derived from an Idaho Power evaluation conducted in 2011-12, which resulted in an increase in savings.  Another difference is that costs for specifically MH attic insulation increased significantly due to a choice in base costs on MH programs rather than SF costs, which greatly affected the cost-effectiveness. This measure is now considered Planning and the staff will be returning in 2020 with a Research Strategy.

Heat Pumps

Ductless Heat Pumps for Zonal Heat (SF/MH)
Also at the October meeting, the RTF updated the Ductless Heat Pumps for Zonal, Electrically Heated Homes UES measure. They approved updates to the measure specifications and identifiers, using new BPA and ETO evaluations to update the savings and using updated data from NEEA and ETO to adjust the costs.  They also approved updates to the methodology for cooling savings and to account for supplemental fuel value, and removed the ‘comfort’ benefit. Based on these updates, there are very few cost-effective applications for DHPs. Staff explained that the ideal measure specification would likely require installation of a DHP in the main living area of a home with no non-electric, supplemental heating sources present, and with a clear signal that the home is occupied year around relying on electricity as the main heating. Because the savings really matter on the specifics of the application, staff proposed new screened applications that attempt to identify homes that rely heavily on electricity for space heating. Some of these screen applications are cost-effective. As it is, this is a measure that simply doesn’t make sense for all homes. In light of this, the RTF directed staff to look at two more specific screens and report their findings back to the RTF for consideration at a later date.     

Air Source Heat Pump Conversions and Upgrades (SF/MH)
Finally, in December, the RTF got around to updating the Single Family and Manufactured Homes ASHP Upgrades and Conversions measures. For the conversion measure, the specification is converting from an electric FAF to an 8.5 HSPF heat pump. While the upgrade measure specifies upgrading from an 8.5 HSPF heat pump to either a 9.0 HSPF heat pump or a variable capacity heat pump. These measures are additive so a program can use both the conversion and the upgrade measure if the goal is, for example, conversion from an electric FAF to a 9.0 HSPF. Several changes to the proposed updates were made at the RTF meeting itself, so final savings, costs, or cost-effectiveness estimates are not yet ready to share. For ASHP Conversions the RTF opted to develop only an “any insulation” measure and to remove measure identifiers for good, fair and poor insulation.  The group determined that savings are to be based on weighted average results from evaluations and savings and costs will be estimated for two saving periods using an RUL approach. For ASHP Upgrades they did something similar, opting to develop an “any insulation” measure for upgrades as well, while savings are to be based on calibrated SEEM runs.

Non-Residential Midstream Lighting

Lighting measures are very important to the region and the RTF is always very engaged for updates on lighting.  The updates to the Nonresidential Midstream Lighting measure, approved at the November RTF meeting, followed those approved for residential lighting earlier this year.  They included primarily updating costs based on the residential lighting update paired with program data and incorporating 45 lm/W standards for general purpose lamps in all states as well as including screw-in and pin-based MRs as a Washington only application.  Other major updates include adding TLEDs to the measure, updating the market share data based on Bonneville analysis for most lamps and NEEA analysis for the T8 replacement market, and updating the lamp wattages based on ENERGY STAR QPL data and NEEA analysis. Overall, savings and costs, especially for markets where the standard applies, went down though most applications remain cost-effective.   

New Measure Development

About twice a year, contract analysts and staff scope proposed measures and present their findings to the RTF for review.  In this proposal RTF staff included additional measures based on an RTF-funded scanning effort of national TRMs done with AEG in 2018.  When scoping potential new measures contract analyst are looking for a clearly defined measure with value to the region that ideally fits into the existing work plan taking into consideration anticipated lift. Over two meetings at the end of 2019 the RTF was presented with the results of this scoping and staff’s recommendations. The RTF then decided which proposed measures to allocate resources. 

The RTF approved allocating resources to the following measures:

  • Residential Door Sweeps
  • Commercial Heat Pump Water Heaters
  • ENERGY STAR Commercial Ice Makers and Storage Bins
  • ENERGY STAR Commercial Vending Machine
  • Lodging - Guest Room Controls
  • Variable Volume Lab Hood
  • Water Cooler Timer
  • Irrigation - Pressure Reduction
  • Compressed Air - additional applications
  • Chillers
  • Generator Engine Block Heaters
  • ENERGY STAR Air Purifiers
  • Non-Residential LED Wallpacks
  • Residential High Efficiency Central AC
  • Advanced Kitchen Ventilation Controls
  • Retrofit or Upgrade Doors on Existing Display Cases
  • Air Curtains for Walk-Ins
  • Floating Controls for Multiplex Refrigeration System
  • Display Case Upgrade and Replacement
  • Small Commercial DHPs

Subcommittee Roundup

Ductless Heat Pump Subcommittee: This meeting was held to review the proposed updates to the RTF’s residential DHP in zonally-heated homes measure and to get stakeholder feedback prior to the October RTF meeting.

Non-residential Lighting Subcommittee: The subcommittee reviewed proposed updates to the Non-res Lighting Midstream UES measure before it was presented at the November RTF meeting.  These updates included the addition of TLEDs to the linear lamps measure application, updates to market shares, lamp wattages and costs as well as the incorporation of updated lighting standards.    

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.

Research & Evaluation Subcommittee: The Research and Evaluation Subcommittee convenes on a need basis to discuss the development of RTF Research Strategies and the framing and utility of ongoing research in the region.  This meeting was specifically focused on Single Family and Manufactured Home Weatherization.

Air Source Heat Pump Subcommittee: The ASHP Subcommittee met twice this quarter to get feedback on proposed updates to the Air Source Heat Pump Measures prior to December's RTF meeting.

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

Approved Measure Changes

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