Western Cooling Challenge

Cultivating the development and commercialization of climate appropriate rooftop packaged air conditioners.


Addressing the need for efficient cooling in commercial buildingsCooling and ventilation account for more than 25% of electricity consumption in California commercial buildings and can add up to more than 50% of the summer time peak electrical demand. Conventional rooftop packaged units are at the center of these problems, and stand as a need for significant efficiency improvements. Especially in hot-dry climates, there are many opportunities to reduce energy use from theses systems without sacrificing comfort.
Fostering the innovation and application of climate appropriate technologiesThe Western Cooling Challenge is a multiple winner competition that encourages HVAC manufacturers to develop climate-appropriate rooftop packaged air conditioning equipment that will reduce electrical demand and energy use in Western climates by at least 40% compared to current federal standards. The Challenge does not say how to achieve these performance criteria; technologies appropriate for the Challenge draw on strategies including: indirect evaporative cooling, variable speed fans, multiple stage compressors, evaporatively cooled condensers, and use of part-load operating modes that can provide reduced capacity cooling at much more efficient operating modes.
Advancing the market introduction of reliable efficiency solutionsThe intent of the Challenge is to advance the market introduction of commercialized products, thus encouraging participants to consider the many non-performance-based design factors such as cost-effectiveness, system reliability, and non-energy code compliance. WCEC conducts laboratory testing and monitored field demonstration of equipment to prove real-world performance and equipment reliability, and provides transparency to the industry by serving as a neutral evaluator of alternative technologies.