The National Oilheat Research Alliance 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 can help Oilheat salespeople overcome the limitations of the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) metric, the association said. 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, and ratings typically under-represent the energy-savings potential of new oil-fired boilers, the association said in a statement issued Sept. 26. Unlike AFUE, the data sets used in the FSA Calculator accurately reflect the efficiency of boilers and combination systems, the association said.
“The FSA Calculator 2.0 shows NORA’s commitment to energy efficiency,” said NORA President John Huber. “It provides a vital 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 the data sets that the calculator uses. 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 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 association said.
FSA 2.0 is designed with a simple, clean interface in a responsive design that resizes automatically based on device type, the association said.
To get started with the new calculator, individuals and/or companies register with NORA (individual accounts can be linked under a single company). The user indicates where they are located and the FSA 2.0 will use localized degree-day data in its calculations. 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 in four increments: 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. The FSA calculator will automatically provide this information to NORA.
For more information about NORA and its programs or services, call 703-340-1660 or visit the web site, www.NORAweb.org.
NORA, based in Alexandria, Va., was authorized by Congress in 2000 to provide funding that would allow the Oilheating industry to provide more efficient and more reliable heat and hot water to consumers. The four key activities of NORA are consumer education, professional education, improving energy efficiency and safety, and research.