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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Establishing an Energy Efficiency Recommendation for Commercial Boilers:


To assist the federal government in meeting its energy reduction goals, President Clinton’s Executive Order 12902 established the Procurement Challenge, which directed all federal agencies to purchase equipment within the top 25~ percentile of efficiency. Under the direction of DOE’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP), the Procurement Challenge’s goal is to create efficiency recommendations for all energy-using products (e.g. commercial boilers, chillers, motors) that could substantially impact the government’s energy reduction goals. When establishing efficiency recommendations, FEMP looks at standardized performance ratings for products sold in the U.S. marketplace. Currently, the commercial boiler industry uses combustion efficiency and, sometimes, thermal efficiency as metrics when specifying boiler performance. For many years, the industry has used both metrics interchangeably, causing confusion in the market place about boiler performance. This paper discusses the method used to establish FEMP’s efficiency recommendation for commercial boilers in lieu of the various, and somewhat confusing, efficiency ratings currently available. The paper also discusses potential energy cost savings for federal agencies that improve the efficiency of boilers specified and purchased.

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