DOE Program Offers Lowest Life-cycle-cost Air Conditioners

June 10, 2003
A Special Procurement Makes Five High-efficiency Models Available At Advantageous Prices
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA, an arm of the Department of Defense) have joined forces with air conditioning manufacturers to bring higher efficiency rooftop air conditioners to the market. Through the Unitary Air Conditioner Technology Procurement, buyers from the public and private sectors can now purchase these rooftop units at prices that would otherwise require a multiple-unit order. Manufactured by Global Energy Group and Lennox Industries, the unitary air conditioners were selected via a competitive Request for Proposal that evaluated models based on their life-cycle cost. The winning Lennox models have been on the market for the past few years, and are offered at more advantageous prices through this program. The winning Global units are new to the market - introduced directly in response to the RFP.  “These air-conditioners are at least 20 percent more energy-efficient than standard units now in use in many commercial buildings,” says Brad Hollomon, program manager with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), which is administering the program on behalf of DOE and DLA. “The units meet or exceed the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® efficiency levels, Federal Energy Management Program recommendations, and Tier 2 levels established by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency's High-Efficiency Commercial Air Conditioning initiative.” The Unitary Air Conditioning procurement offers five different packaged units, with cooling capacities ranging from 88,000 to 120,000 Btu per hour, and Energy Efficiency Ratios (EER) ranging from 11.0 to 13.5.  The table below illustrates how installing a high-efficiency air conditioner could save between $1,010 and $1,860 over 10 years in a typical commercial building in Atlanta, Operating Cost Comparison (ATLANTa, GA)

Efficiency LevelFederal StandardEnergy
Highest available through UAC ProgramEER91113.5Annual Energy Use (kWh)*8,4157,1466,090Annual Energy Cost**$673$572$48710 Yr. Lifetime Energy Cost$6,730$5,720$4,87010 Yr. Energy Cost Savings--$1,010$1,860*Annual energy use is derived by applying the cost simulator at to a 88,000 Btu/hour, 2-stage model operating Mon. - Fri., in Atlanta, GA.**Costs reflect a typical electricity price of $0.08/kWh, including demand charges.DOE selected the models after developing a detailed set of minimum specifications. The life-cycle cost analysis involved a cost-effectiveness rating formula that balanced the initial price of equipment against expected energy costs, taking into account typical weather conditions and both full- and part-load efficiencies.  The units were also required to meet specifications that go beyond energy efficiency, including a direct digital control interface, fully insulated cabinet panels where conditioned air is handled to prevent condensation and minimize sound transmission, blower assemblies that slide out of the unit for ease in servicing, and safety guards on fans.  This is but a small example of the specifications.  A cost estimator tool, initially developed by PNNL to evaluate proposals, is available to potential buyers on the Unitary Air Conditioner website at ( This tool helps buyers select optimal equipment by comparing the energy and economic performance of high-efficiency and standard-efficiency air conditioners under varying conditions.  Among its key features, the menu-driven software: Quickly estimates life-cycle cost, simple payback, return on investment, and savings to investment ratio; Compares alternative equipment choices with user-specified electric rate and financial assumptions; Accommodates equipment with one or two compressor stages; Accounts for part-load as well as full-load efficiencies;Simulates operation under specific climate conditions at 237 US locations;Reflects user-specified air conditioning requirements and building use patterns; Provides results as easily downloadable graphic files for further analysis and presentation.

Private sector buyers, as well as those from local or state government, purchase the units directly from the manufacturer using the contact information below. Federal government buyers order through the Defense Logistics Agency by contacting Douglas Steinmetz (215) 737-7940 or Chet Evanitsky (215) 737-8048. Prospective buyers can get additional information on shipping, technical specifications and design features by visiting the website at or by contacting the manufacturers directly.DOE Unitary Air Conditioning Technology ProcurementGlobal Energy Group

1-727-372-3939[email protected][email protected] Efficiency RatioIntegrated Part-Load ValuePricePH007C
Lennox Industries

1-800-628-5289; 1-972-497-5160[email protected] Efficiency RatioIntegrated Part-Load ValuePriceLCA090H

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