The National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) has released the new version of its Fuel Savings Analysis Calculator, which uses test data on oil-fired boilers to demonstrate the value of equipment upgrades with consumer-friendly metrics.
The FSA Calculator 2.0 is an application for PCs, tablets and smartphones that expresses the true savings potential of new oil-fired boilers and combination heat/hot water systems. NORA Research Director Thomas A. Butcher and fellow scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory developed data sets for the application. A contractor can choose data for a system that closely resembles the installed system in a customer’s home and compare it to one or more systems that the customer could install.
“The FSA is an important step for NORA’s commitment to energy efficiency,” said NORA President John Huber. “It provides a vital tool for the industry to evaluate and communicate with customers the efficiency savings from upgrades, which includes combined systems for heat and hot water, the energy use of the home and the weather where the home is.”
FSA 2.0 is designed with a simple, clean interface in a responsive design that resizes automatically based on device type, according to PriMedia Inc. Creative Director John Bruno. (PriMedia, a New York-based provider of software and marketing services, developed the FSA Calculator for NORA.)
To get started, individuals and companies register with NORA, and they can link accounts under a single company ID. Companies indicate where they are located, so that FSA 2.0 will use localized degree-day data. Each user logs in to a dashboard where they can view the audits they have done previously and add comments to them. Audits can be viewed in basic or advanced mode, which determines the level of detail in the displayed information. In basic view, the display offers a simple expression of how much money can be saved with each replacement equipment type over five years, 10 years, 15 years and 20 years. Users can compare up to three new equipment types at a time.
Users can prepare and revise audits using oil prices that they select. Users can also select from a variety of preloaded equipment types to find the one that best matches the customer’s current equipment, or they can enter basic, easy-to-find information to profile the system. They can also adjust the location for precise degree-day data and profile the customer’s house size using the number of rooms.
While providing valuable support for Oilheat equipment sales, the new FSA calculator will also assist NORA in assessing the energy savings of its programs, which is key to the industry’s development and also required by the NORA statute. Contractors who use the calculator will be automatically providing this information to NORA.
The FSA calculator can help Oilheat salespeople overcome the limitations of the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) metric. AFUE is a measure of how efficient an appliance is in converting the energy in its fuel to heat over the course of a typical year, and the Federal Trade Commission requires all new furnaces or boilers to display their AFUE for the benefit of consumers. Despite its mandated use, AFUE is ineffective at measuring boiler efficiency, because the metric was formulated to evaluate furnaces and does not measure all aspects of performance in a boiler or combination heat/hot water system. AFUE ratings typically under-represent the energy-savings potential of new oil-fired boilers. Unlike AFUE, the data sets used in the FSA Calculator accurately reflect the efficiency of boilers and combination systems.
To download the FSA Calculator 2.0, visit noraweb.org.