BC Hydro: Two Strategies For Maximizing Rooftop HVAC Unit Efficiency

BC Hydro’s energy specialists say that rooftop HVAC units are often an overlooked savings opportunity.

An RTU is an outdoor, roof-mounted air-handling unit that provides heating, ventilation and air conditioning to the building below. RTUs are also known as packaged systems because all of the components, including the coils that release and absorb heat, along with the compressors and fans, are housed in one unit or “package” and stored out of the way on the rooftop. RTUs connect directly into a building’s central ventilation system to circulate air and are commonly used on low-rise commercial buildings, such as restaurants, warehouses and offices.

“Approximately 20%1 of commercial customers in the province have at least one rooftop HVAC unit,” says Reid Arkinstall, commercial marketing specialist at BC Hydro. “Given the number of units and tendency for them to be neglected, the energy and cost saving potential for business owners with RTUs is significant.”

“When a rooftop unit suddenly breaks down, it’s often the only time it gets attention. It’s actually a lot like a car,” Arkinstall explains. “Many of us only pay attention to vehicle maintenance once we run into an issue and can’t pull out of the driveway.

Arkinstall suggests two strategies for improving the efficiency of RTUs:

  1. PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE: Have your RTU serviced four times per year by a qualified HVAC contractor.
  2. ADVANCED CONTROLS: Retrofit an existing rooftop HVAC unit with advanced controls to be able to monitor the operations of the RTU.

To improve the efficiency of your rooftop HVAC unit, do not hesitate to contact your BC Comfort representative.

Financial incentives for rooftop HVAC units are available through BC Hydro’s Business Energy Savings Incentives program. To get started, get in touch with a BC Comfort representative, and we’ll help you determine the best next step.