RTF Quarterly Newsletter: Quarter No. 44 April-June 2021

  • July 23, 2021

The second quarter of 2021 marks a full year of remote meetings, and while an end might be in sight, the RTF has remained busy and productive this spring. A lot of meeting time was spent on updating a whole suite of commercial kitchen measures, adding gas applications to some, updating some assumptions based on new data, adopting a few new measures, and developing a new research strategy for those applicable. The RTF also spend some time thinking about work outside of the usual measure development considering a potential role in custom measure evaluation guidance and valuing uncertainty. Beyond that they still found time to update measures as they came up and even adopt a new natural gas measure. As always, we are grateful to our members who are quickly closing the third and final year of their membership term.  We’re excited to finish out the year with this group and if you want to join us for the next three-year term, we’re accepting membership applications now. You can stay up to date on all RTF decision and news as it happens through the RTF website which is updated throughout the quarter.

Commercial Cooking Measures

Much of the quarter was spent on updating the RTFs existing commercial cooking measures and adding a few more to the library. Where applicable, the RTF added or refined natural gas applications.  When presenting these measures, contract analysts were clear that there is still a lot of uncertainty in the analysis. There are no federal standards and the data available for non-ENERGY STAR certified products are extremely limited. There is especially uncertainty in usage patterns and knowing things like how much food is cooked per day, what settings on the equipment are used and the differences between inefficient and efficient products which are all essential to reliably estimating energy savings. The RTF approved a research strategy for cooking measures aimed at addressing those concerns at their July meeting.  

The RTF updated the following commercial cooking measures over the course of the quarter:

  • Griddles (new!)
  • Rack Ovens (new!)
  • Combination Ovens
  • Convection Ovens
  • Hot Food Holding Cabinets
  • Steamers
  • Fryers

For the existing measures, combination ovens, fryers, steamers, hot food holding cabinets and convections ovens, updates were minor and mostly consisted of adding gas, updating to the latest ENERGY STAR specification, and updating assumptions around things like usage and costs where data was available. The RTF also adopted two new commercial cooking measures:   

A new measure for both gas and electric. Specification includes both ENERGY STAR and Exceeds ENERGY STAR, as there are a few units that exceed ENERGY STAR by a fair amount and there is more cost-effective potential by pulling those out. Analysts only developed savings for single-sided griddles at this time because there is significant uncertainty around double sided energy use. The single sided griddle measure is very uncertain, as there is limited data available about usage of non-efficient equipment, pounds of food cooked per day, hours of operation, and other factors. There’s significant uncertainty in the incremental cost as well.

Rack Ovens:
Also a new measure and a very small saver, the Rack Oven Measure uses the ENERGY STAR spec and focuses on only gas rack ovens. The analysis uses data from a CA Work Paper and the CBSA regarding hours of operation. The measure is not currently cost effective and is likely of more use for one-off projects if they do come up.

Residential Gas Water Heaters

The RTF adopted a new natural gas measure for residential gas water heaters this quarter that includes installing an efficient tank or tankless natural gas water heating into an existing home replacing an existing natural gas water heater. The measure captures six efficiency options: non-condensing, non-powered ENERGY STAR tank, non-condensing, powered ENERGY STAR tank, any non-condensing ENERGY STAR tank, which cannon be used in conjunction with the first two applications within the same program, condensing ENERGY STAR tank, non-ENERGY STAR tankless ENERGY STAR tankless.  The RBSA II indicates there are about 1.8 million natural gas storage water heaters in single family and residential homes in the region and from there were able to estimate a regional potential of about 45-90 million, making this a fairly significant measure for the region. Contract analysts developed the measure with help from the natural gas subcommittee for the RTFs review and approval at the April meeting.

Beyond Measure Work

In light of energy efficiency’s evolving role in the region as easy, cheap measures are becoming less and less available, the RTF is also trying to evolve with the needs of the region in hopes of supporting utilities and stakeholders as they pursue these more nuanced or complex avenues of savings.  This quarter contract analysts brought two different presentations to the group that diverged from traditional UES or standard protocol measure type content. The first had to do with valuing uncertainty and considerations around when research on a measure is worth the cost. The goal of this exploration was to consider ways to at minimum improve uniformity in RTF research asks and funder priorities and more abstractly start a conversation about the literal value of uncertainty and a cost effectiveness definition for research. For more information on that discussion, the presentation here. Later in the quarter the RTF spent some time reviewing a guidance document on evaluated energy savings for industrial SEM as a starting point of a larger RTF goal of providing support of consistent and reliable energy savings estimates for custom projects. The RTF went on to approve the document at the July meeting. You can view that document here.      

New RTF Member Solicitation

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council is soliciting applications for appointments to its Regional Technical Forum to serve three-year terms beginning January 2022 and running through December 2024. Please see the solicitation letter linked here for more detail.

Qualified and interested individuals who are able to commit the necessary time (described in the document below) should submit a letter of interest and resume to Jennifer Light by August 20, 2021. All current RTF members will be considered for reappointment but are required to submit letters of interest and a current resume.

Upcoming at the RTF


  • Ground Source HP UES (proposing deactivation)

Existing Measures Sunsetting:

  • DHP for FAF and MF, Pre-Rinse Spray Valves, Advanced Power Strips, Duct Sealing (SF and MH), Connected Thermostats

Tentative New Measures:

  • Cellular Shades Scoping, Air Curtains for Walk-ins. Doors on Display Cases. Door Sweeps, Residential Behavior Guidance

Subcommittee Roundup

Natural Gas Subcommittee: The Natural Gas Subcommittee’s purpose is to solicit input from relevant stakeholders as the RTF starts to incorporate natural gas into its workload. This quarter the subcommittee met twice, the first focused on seeking agreement from the Subcommittee regarding the specification and baseline for a possible new UES measure for efficient Gas Furnaces. At the next meeting the group discussed gas cooking measures, specifically griddles, convection ovens and rack ovens.

SEM Subcommittee: The SEM Subcommittee met to get member’s feedback on staff’s initial exploration of potential paths for providing additional guidance around non-UES type programs, starting with industrial SEM.

Small and Rural Utilities Subcommittee: The Small/Rural Subcommittee meets once a quarter to discuss how to support the specific needs of small and rural utilities. At this quarters meeting, Lower Valley Energy shared their success with a recent overhead to underground powerline project in their service territory.

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

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

Approved Measure Updates

  • Approved updates to the Level 2 AC EV Charger UES as presented. Removed “residential” from the title and added commercial measure identifiers, kept the category as small saver, the status at active and set the sunset date to May 30, 2026.
  • Approved measure updates to the Walk-In Evaporator Fan Motor Retrofit UES as presented. Kept the category at proven, the status at active and set the sunset date to April 30, 2026.
  • Approved measure updates to the Walk-In Evaporator Fan Motor Controller UES as presented. Kept the category at small saver, the status at active, and set the sunset date to April 30, 2026.
  • Approved measure updates for the Commercial Grocery Compressor Fan ECM UES as presented. Kept the category at small saver, the status at active and set the sunset date to April 30, 2026.
  • Approved measure updates for the Display Case Evaporator Motor Retrofit UES as presented. Kept the category at small saver, the status at active and set the sunset date to April 30, 2026.
  • Deactivated SF New Construction (MT House and ID) UES
  • Deactivated DHP for New Construction UES
  • Deactivated Residential Aerators UES
  • Deactivated Pool Pumps UES