06/16/15 Des Plaines, IL - Gas utilities in the Northwest have teamed up with the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) to develop a plan for initiating natural gas market transformation, focused on long-term savings for companies and consumers. NEEA has joined Gas Technology Institute’s (GTI’s) Emerging Technology Program (ETP), a collaboration focused on accelerating the commercialization and adoption of the latest end use and energy efficiency technologies, to support these efforts. In addition to participating in the base ETP program, NEEA is also funding an ET project demonstration with GTI to pilot three gas-fired heat pump water heaters (GHPWHs) in the Pacific Northwest.
NEEA’s 2015-2019 gas efficiency business plan, funded by Avista Utilities, Cascade Natural Gas, the Energy Trust of Oregon, NW Natural, and Puget Sound Energy, focuses on vetting more efficient gas technologies to bring down the products' unit costs by raising vendor and consumer awareness and confidence, and introducing the technologies into the mainstream marketplace. GTI also contributed to this strategic initiative, helping to define the five new residential and commercial technology areas: gas-fired heat-pump water heaters, combined space-water heating, hearth products, rooftop heat, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, and gas clothes dryers.
The five-year, $18.3 million natural gas market transformation plan is expected to save more than 280 million therms annually for water heating, combined space-water heating, and hearth products, with additional savings expected from HVAC systems and gas clothes dryers.
The project with GTI on residential and light commercial GHPWHs will demonstrate equipment that exceeds the traditional efficiency limit of current technologies. This packaged water heater driven by a gas-fired ammonia-water absorption heat pump can achieve EFs of 1.3 or higher—nearly twice as efficient as new standard gas water heaters—and is anticipated to offer lower operating costs than electric heat pump water heaters.
The pre-commercial technology, applicable to new construction installations as well as retrofits to existing systems, is currently being deployed across multiple residential applications. Field testing is designed to answer questions on installed performance, predicted savings, knowledge level of installation contractors, and market barriers. Continued field verification is needed, along with technology enhancements based on measured performance, and advancement of market development, to spur adoption.
“Improving energy efficiency for end users served by multiple fuels will result in significant benefits to the Northwest’s economy and energy availability. GTI has deep knowledge of the gas industry and significant experience in performing detailed hands-on technology investigations. We will leverage their broad expertise to present the most relevant data and identify key market applications for emerging technologies,” notes Jeff Harris, Chief Transformation Officer at NEEA.
“NEEA has a strong track record of market transformation in the electric industry, and it is really exciting to be able to partner with them to promote the use of gas in energy efficiency (EE) programs. Our relationship with them is a great example of how the ETP typically works—we use the base program to identify strategic new technologies and then sponsors fund demonstrations for individual ET projects to accelerate market acceptance of the most promising new equipment,” says Ryan Kerr, GTI Emerging Technologies Manager. “Together with NEEA, we can drive continued high performance in EE programs, performing due diligence up front so that utilities can minimize risk in meeting future goals, achieve sufficient program savings, and efficiently deliver results.”
About Gas Technology Institute (GTI)
GTI is a leading research, development and training organization that has been addressing the nation's energy and environmental challenges by developing technology-based solutions for consumers, industry, and government for nearly 75 years.
About Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA)
The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) is a non-profit organization working to effect market transformation through the acceleration and adoption of energy-efficient products, services and practices. NEEA is an alliance of more than 140 Northwest utilities and energy efficiency organizations working on behalf of more than 13 million energy consumers.