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Conduit ED RTF Week 2: Making a Measure

Created 5/22/2017 by Conduit ED
Updated 6/6/2017 by Garrett Herndon
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by Jennifer Light, RTF Chair/Manager

As described in Week 1 of this series, the core role of the RTF is to develop and maintain a library of energy efficiency measures that provide a standardized approach for estimating energy savings. This week explores what these measures are, who picks measures, and how the measures are developed and maintained.

What flavor is your measure?

The RTF currently maintains two flavors of measures. The first, and most common, are unit energy savings (UES) measures. As suggested by the name, these are savings estimates that can be applied to a specific unit. For example, the energy savings from an ENERGY STAR refrigerator, LED lightbulb, or ductless heat pump. With these measures, the RTF develops a set of measure applications and a single savings estimate for each measure application. The measure applications are determined based on known factors that will result in significantly different savings. Taking the ductless heat pump example, a ductless heat pump in a single family home in heating zone 1 has a different savings estimate than the same ductless heat pump in a single family house in heating zone 3, due to the different climates causing the heat pump to be used differently and therefore require more or less electricity throughout the year.

The second flavor of measures from the RTF is standard protocols. The RTF develops standard protocols for cases where the actual savings are going to vary on an application by application basis, but the methodology for calculating the energy savings can be standardized. Given these are a standardized calculation approach, the RTF develops calculators to accompany each standard protocol. The best example of this is the non-residential lighting standard protocol.

How does the RTF decide what to include in its library?

The answer is simple: the RTF prioritizes measures that provide the most value to the region. New measure development, or refinement of a specific measure, is dictated by the interests of the region.

The RTF has created a new measure proposal form to initiate the process. From here, the RTF contract analyst team does an initial scoping of the measure, focused on understanding utility interest, specific savings mechanism and savings potential, and available data. With the information from scoping in hand, the RTF then makes a decision whether or not to allocate resources to developing and maintaining the measure. If it is a go, it works its way through the RTF process where it ultimately reaches the full RTF at one of its monthly meetings for review and decision on the actual savings estimate.

The birth of a measure

As with all things, the RTF strives for transparency and consistency throughout the measure development process. The presentation below lays out the general process as the measure goes from a baby (new measure proposal) to a graduate (RTF approved savings estimate)! The RTF makes decisions along the way such as what is the appropriate baseline (coming up in Week 4) and how to set costs, benefits, and lifetimes. The RTF’s Operative Guidelines provide the framework for this process, and ultimately, it is up to the RTF to use its collective judgement to establish and maintain measures.

 

When the measure is ultimately presented to the RTF for decision on the savings estimate, the RTF also makes some other key decisions that informs the maintenance plan for the measure. The RTF will determine whether the measure is considered “Proven” or reliable, and does not require further analysis at this time. If not sufficiently reliable, the RTF could consider it too small to justify further research (i.e. a “Small Saver”) or recommend research to the region to improve the savings estimate and designate the measure as a “Planning” estimate.

Sunrise, Sunset

The RTF also sets a sunset date that essentially says it stands behind this savings estimate until the set date. These sunset dates drive the maintenance schedule for a measure and will vary depending on the specific needs of the measure. Once the sunset date arrives, the RTF has another decision:

  • update the savings estimate with any new data,
  • determine whether the current savings estimate still holds and extend the sunset date for later revision, or
  • deactivate the measure as no longer being sufficiently valuable to the region.

This maintenance schedule allows the RTF to balance resources with keeping the work relevant to the region’s stakeholders.

In next week's Conduit ED we will take a closer look at how those full RTF meetings are structured. In the meantime, please click below to enjoy this next Mythbuster!

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