As part of its emerging technology work, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) is investigating modulating commercial gas dryers to learn more about the product and its energy efficiency potential. In the Northwest, there are over 50,000 commercial gas dryers, however most of the existing dryers in the region are standard commercial gas-fired dryers with only one firing rate. These single-stage burners waste more energy through the exhaust during the later stages of drying when not as much moisture remains in the textiles and not as much heat is required. A modulating gas dryer allows the firing rate to adjust for the changing demand in heat needed.
NEEA contracted with GTI Energy to evaluate the savings opportunity of the modulating commercial gas clothes dryer product. This emerging retrofit technology comes in a kit form that replaces a single-stage gas valve in an existing dryer with a two-stage gas valve and associated controls. Findings from the study show an average potential savings of more than 200 therms per dryer, with the estimated simple payback averaging 4 to 5 years.