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2015 Eco-Leaders

Rheem

Posted by Alan Naditz

Aug 29, 2018 10:40:51 AM

Devising innovative ways to improve water heating and HVAC efficiency.

Rheem is a manufacturer and vendor of sustainable water heaters and HVAC systems. The company is headquartered in Atlanta and operates five manufacturing facilities across the United States. Its products, sold by independent distributors and select retailers, meet residential and commercial needs.

EcoLeaders Rheem

Enhancements such as a state-of-the-art smart assembly line has helped Rheem be more productive and sustainably focused.

Rising energy costs have significantly impacted the U.S. restaurant industry, which uses five times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings, according to Energy Star. Gary Stovall and Wyatt Kaundart, franchisors of steak house Western Sizzlin’, have experienced these pains first-hand. 

The 9,500-square-foot Towson Avenue Western Sizzlin’ in Fort Smith, Ark., offers daily buffet services, but the building is more than 30 years old. The amount of energy used on air conditioning and water heating is immense. On average, Western Sizzlin uses approximately 2,100 gallons of hot water.

Rheem piloted the H2AC Rooftop Unit featuring eSync integration technology at this location. The industry-first system takes the heat removed from the restaurant by the HVAC system—which would normally be ejected into the atmosphere—and uses it as an efficient source for heating water.

“Before we began working with Rheem to install the H2AC Packaged Rooftop Unit, I never would have imagined that we could use our A/C system to, essentially, generate free hot water,” Stovall says. “Given the amount of food that we prepare and customers that we serve every day, having such an efficient way to heat water has significantly impacted our operations.”

In the first year after Rheem installed the integrated air and water system, Western Sizzlin’ saved nearly $5,670 on its gas utility bill. The restaurant hit the payback point on its system in during the second year. The savings are especially significant, considering the 12.3 percent increase in the cost per cubic foot for natural gas.

They’re an Eco-Leader because...

  • The company’s line of EcoNet-enabled, inverter-driven heat pumps and air conditioners only run to meet demand, versus the typical on or off settings. They are up to 54 percent more efficient than traditional cooling designs.
  • Rheem has also turned its energy-saving efforts inward by remodeling its five-decade-old Fort Smith, Ark,. commercial air conditioning site. Upgrades include a new smart assembly line for HVAC products, which yields greater flexibility, efficiency and quality; switching to energy-efficient lighting throughout the entire plant; and storing finished goods indoors in a dedicated area, which allows the storage process to be less wasteful.

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