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Hidden Costs of Neglected Rooftop Units: Smart Tech's Impact on Finance & Carbon Footprint

In an era where every kilowatt-hour counts, the rooftop units (RTUs) perched atop countless Ontario facilities represent an overlooked yet crucial aspect of energy conservation and sustainability. Traditionally installed and left largely unattended until a malfunction occurs, these workhorse units are quickly becoming both a financial and carbon liability for businesses. This article aims to shed light on the challenges and solutions related to rooftop units in the hopes of steering building owners and facility managers toward a more sustainable future.

The Neglected Giants

The problem starts with a common but risky practice: installing RTUs and then practically forgetting them. As these units age without proper maintenance, their performance declines, leading to unnecessary ventilation loads, inefficient management of fresh air, and unexpected breakdowns—all contributing to escalating operational costs.

The Unseen Impact

The negligence toward rooftop units has far-reaching financial and environmental consequences. On the financial side, building owners face an alarming potential for an increase in operating costs due to inefficiencies in the units. Environmentally, poorly maintained RTUs contribute significantly to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, thereby exacerbating the climate crisis we face today.

The Numbers Speak

Building owners need to be aware that substantial utility incentives are available for those who invest in RTU maintenance and upgrades. The savings are considerable; annual energy cost reductions of up to 40% and GHG emissions reductions of up to 25% can be achieved with the right technology and practices, often with a payback period of less than two years.

Embracing Smart Technology for Sustainable Operations

Modern advances in technology offer a way out of this dilemma, providing both immediate and long-term benefits:

Smart Temperature Thermostats: These devices allow temperature settings to be programmed based on the occupancy schedules of each facility, reducing equipment runtimes and resulting in significant energy and GHG savings.

Optimized Damper Performance: Smart controls monitor damper positions, optimizing free cooling and ensuring energy efficiency year-round.

On-Demand Ventilation: This feature allows real-time monitoring of carbon dioxide levels and adjusts fresh air supply based on the actual occupancy needs of the facility.

Healthy Indoor Environments: Comprehensive RTU controls systems regulate ventilation, airflow, and humidity to optimize occupant comfort, directly contributing to workforce productivity.

Reliable Performance Monitoring: Industry-leading RTU optimization packages include fault detection diagnostics and alarms for a range of issues from filter status to freeze alarms.

Real-Time Data Access: Advanced systems let you remotely monitor RTU operating parameters, allowing you to prevent costly breakdowns and confidently plan capital expenditures.

The Power of Proactive Management

The future of sustainable facility management lies in shifting from a reactive to a proactive approach. By utilizing advanced technologies and embracing utility incentives, building owners and managers can substantially improve the efficiency of their rooftop units. Beyond financial gains, these actions significantly contribute to the broader goals of carbon reduction and sustainability.


The industry is at a critical juncture where old practices can no longer be the standard. As Ontario moves towards a more sustainable future, neglecting rooftop units is a mistake that facility owners and managers can no longer afford. Through smart technology and proactive management, we can transform these once-neglected units into pivotal assets in our fight against climate change and soaring operational costs.



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