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Meeting the Comfort and Efficiency Needs of Restaurants

Anyone who has ever eaten in a hot, humid restaurant would agree – comfort is critical to enjoying any dining experience. Restaurants face tough air conditioning challenges. Food preparation areas produce significant humidity from dish washing, cooking and hot beverage service. Just a few feet away from the kitchen, customers and staff want a comfortable environment. This imbalance often creates humidity control problems, temperature swings, and over-cooling by traditional packaged rooftop units that cycle on and off. To function effectively, the air conditioning system must closely match a range of latent and sensible loads.

Meeting the Comfort and Efficiency Needs of Restaurants

Restaurant operators understand that the comfort of the customers and staff is important to creating a desirable environment. But they also have to keep a close eye on the budget. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, restaurants use about 5-7 times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings, such as office buildings and retail stores. High-volume quick-service restaurants may even use up to 10 times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings. Next to refrigeration, heating and cooling systems account for the largest portion of a restaurant’s annual energy use.

In restaurants, both a comfortable environment and energy costs matter a great deal. Restaurant operators cannot afford to waste their operating budget on high energy costs driven by oversized mechanical equipment. Recent advances in HVAC controls technology and capacity modulation methods are now featured on equipment that can closely match variable loads that are common in restaurants. These facilities require equipment that can effectively and efficiently cool or heat large spaces when they are filled with people, large spaces with just a few people, or during food preparation – a real design challenge. These modern HVAC systems with capacity modulation can quickly pay for themselves in restaurants simply through the energy savings generated from modulating back in off-peak conditions. These systems also provide optimum comfort during both peak and non-peak periods.

HVACR compressor manufacturers strive to deliver high levels of efficiency, comfort, and reliability in a market that also demands affordability and compliance with environmental laws. Today, a complicated combination of regulatory requirements and customer preferences is driving manufacturers to achieve unprecedented levels of compressor efficiency without sacrificing reliability and comfort.

Compressor suppliers have responded to this demand by providing innovative products that can help air conditioning original equipment manufacturers improve system efficiency. This is achieved through modulating capacity technologies where the cooling capacity of the system is tied to the load, not an application’s peak requirements. Modulation makes it possible to tailor compressor performance to changes in ambient and varying load conditions, which eliminates big swings in temperature and relative humidity levels throughout a building.

These innovative products address the key needs of facilities where comfort and operating costs are critical to the success of the organization. Ask your equipment distributor or contractor about new modulating capacity cooling systems for the most comfortable environment and the lowest energy costs.

For more information go to

Brian Buynacek, PE, LEED AP
Sr. Refrigeration Engineer
Emerson Climate Technologies

Balancing Refrigeration and Air Conditioning in Supermarkets

Supermarket, grocery, and many retail operations must balance refrigeration loads with shopper comfort while keeping an eye on electricity usage and operating budgets. One way that operators are reducing energy costs is by retrofitting open refrigerated supermarket display cases with transparent doors. While this retrofit can save significant energy costs, it must be planned carefully both from a refrigeration standpoint as well as air conditioning. Overlooking the impact on the HVAC systems when reconfiguring refrigeration equipment can lead to problems.

Balancing Refrigeration and Air Conditioning in Supermarkets

It is obvious to most people that open display cases consume more energy than cases with doors. Anyone walking down the dairy aisle at the supermarket can notice that the entire space is significantly colder than the rest of the store. The largest consumption of refrigeration system energy in a supermarket is from the open display cases, because they are subject to much higher heat loads than cases with transparent display doors. To say that the frozen food case is air conditioning the entire store has a hint of truth to it!

To reduce energy consumption, many retailers are now either retrofitting the open display cases with transparent doors, or replacing the cases altogether. Many retailers opt for lighting and fan motor upgrades at the same time, which bring additional energy savings. However, open refrigerated display cases remove large amounts of heat and humidity from the surrounding store space as cold, dehumidified air escapes the case through infiltration. This results in a net increase in the building heating load during the heating season and a net decrease in the building cooling load during the cooling season. When the refrigerated cases are reconfigured with doors, the level of infiltration is greatly reduced and thus changes the total HVAC loads.

In supermarkets and other retail buildings, the HVAC system was originally sized and designed to account for the interaction with the refrigeration equipment. Changing the heat load on the HVAC equipment requires a reassessment of the HVAC system configuration to ensure continued optimal performance. As part of the planning of the retrofit or reconfiguration, it is important to analyze the performance of the HVAC equipment, taking into account the contribution of the retrofitted cases on the system, for both winter and summer operation. A qualified HVAC contractor can determine if changes to the system are needed.

Besides cooling and dehumidification on the sales floor, many refrigeration systems impact the air conditioning system in another way. If the refrigeration system includes heat reclaim, calculations should be performed to evaluate the new heat output of the refrigeration system when operating in conjunction with the newly retrofitted cases. A smaller refrigeration load and system often reduces heat output. Heat reclaim systems need to be evaluated, and additional heating load requirements should be taken into account.

Refrigeration system improvements can result in significant energy savings, but the impact on air conditioning systems must also be taken into account. Including a qualified HVAC contractor in the planning process will help.

For more information go to

Brian Buynacek, PE, LEED AP
Sr. Refrigeration Engineer
Emerson Climate Technologies

Inaugural E360 Forum Provides Important Exchange of Information

We recently held our very first E360 Forum in Columbus, Ohio, to discuss the refrigeration challenges facing the foodservice industry today. Judging by the number of attendees and the tenor of the conversations that took place, it is clear that our industry is seeking an outlet to discuss the impending regulatory changes and offer insights on how refrigerated system design will be impacted in the near future.

The event was kicked off with an informative keynote address about foodservice trends and equipment by Robin Ashton, president and publisher of Foodservice Equipment Reports. Mr. Ashton informed attendees that refrigeration makes up the largest segment of equipment in the foodservice market, and that while operators are extremely concerned about the Department of Energy’s upcoming efficiency regulations, energy efficiency itself is still not among the most important considerations when selecting equipment. Ashton did, however, forecast an upward cycle for the foodservice equipment market over the next few years.

Robin Ashton in E360 Forum

Emerson’s Dr. Rajan Rajendran then took the floor to discuss the volatile state of refrigerant regulations. Rajan provided a brief history of refrigerant evolution, initially introduced by the Montreal Protocol to lower global warming potential (GWP) with the phase-down of HFC-based refrigerants, and most recently driven by the European Union’s and the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) motions to restrict GWP in refrigerants even further. In particular, the EPA will create a new ruling in 2015 as a part of its significant new alternatives proposal (SNAP) to delist some of the most common refrigerants in use today.

Rajan Rajendran in E360 Forum

Rajan indicated that 404A will likely be delisted, and then explored what these changes mean to equipment design. Finally, he raised the question to which everyone is seeking an answer: “Which refrigerant will the industry use as a replacement?” While there is no one-size-fits all solution, the re-emergence of CO2, propane and other natural refrigerants, and the introduction of synthetic blends with similar pressure characteristics provide the hope for minimal system redesigns. Attendees were most concerned about the potential impacts to system design.

The two keynote addresses set the tone for the day’s remaining six breakout sessions. As topics ranged from retrofit strategies and meeting DOE energy compliance to CO2 system architecture and kitchen design trends, the regulatory landscape framed the discussions. Information was readily exchanged between moderators and attendees, and the event provided ample opportunities to ask questions and interact with peers. Clearly, not all questions could be answered and addressed in a day. But our intent to create an interactive dialogue to help define the path forward in refrigeration had been achieved

E360 Forum  in Columbus Ohio

Our next E360 Forum will pick up the conversations where these left off. To be held at the Embassy Suites Anaheim — South on February 18 in Anaheim, California, these important discussions will take place in conjunction with the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM) show starting on February 19. We hope to see you there. We need everyone’s contributions to help shape the future of refrigeration.

Contribute to a Larger Industry Dialogue in Our Upcoming E360 Forum

Emerson Climate Technologies is excited to bring the E360 conversation to you through our interactive E360 Forums. These quarterly, daylong events will be held in strategic locations across the country and feature prominent refrigeration industry authorities as well as Emerson’s own internal experts. The format is designed to engage attendees and give everyone an opportunity to participate in conversations that will shape the future of refrigeration.

Our first E360 Forum will be held on November 13 at the Hilton Polaris in Columbus, Ohio. This informative event will feature refrigeration industry experts who will shed light on the many challenges facing foodservice and supermarket OEMs and retailers. We’ll kick off the event with timely keynote addresses, including:

  • Robin Ashton, president and publisher, Foodservice Equipment Reports, will share his insights on the trends in foodservice
  • Emerson’s authority on refrigerants, Dr. Rajan Rajendran, will discuss the current status of recent regulations seeking to lower the global warming potential (GWP) in refrigerated systems

The balance of the event will be comprised of breakout sessions led by specialists in equipment and facility management. These interactive sessions will open the floor to broader discussions and give attendees opportunities to ask questions and contribute to important industry dialogues. Here’s a complete view of the day’s activities.

Click here for a complete view of the day’s activities.

Attendees of the E360 Forum in Columbus will be entered into a drawing to win four tickets to the Ohio State vs. Indiana football game on Saturday, November 22. Immediately following the breakout sessions, you’ll have a chance to visit with the event’s presenters and network with your peers in a reception from 4–6 p.m.

Don’t miss your chance to hear the latest trends and insights in foodservice and participate in conversations with prominent refrigeration industry authorities — register today! For more information about our E360 platform or attending the E360 Forum on November 13, click here.

Introducing E360…

We’re taking a 360-degree view of the issues impacting commercial refrigeration and air conditioning

Emerson Climate Technologies is pleased to introduce E360, an informative platform we’ve conceived to create a meaningful refrigeration and A/C industry dialogue and help our customers address the many challenges facing them today. From ever-changing regulatory requirements and environmental standards to operating cost pressures and the evolution of refrigerant technologies, E360 will evaluate every angle that impacts system design in supermarkets, foodservice outlets and convenience stores.

Looking at commercial refrigeration from every angle requires balancing all facets of system design and awareness of primary market drivers:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Environmental protection
  • Equipment reliability and safety
  • Economic considerations

E360 will take a holistic view to keep you informed and help you make the most educated design decisions for your operation.

Broaden Your Perspective With Our Quarterly Publication, E360 Outlook

We designed E360 to give you multiple ways to access information, interact with refrigeration industry experts and contribute to a broader discussion. One of the pillars of this new platform is E360 Outlook, a quarterly publication that provides a wide range of industry perspectives intended to inform and educate. Between its pages, you’ll find extensive information on the latest trends, technologies and regulatory developments via the magazine’s various columns, application stories and articles.

In our first issue of E360 Outlook, we took a penetrating look at the refrigerant landscape. Global phase-downs (and even bans) of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants are part of an increasing effort to lower the global warming potential (GWP) in refrigeration systems. Two recent regulatory motions are bringing refrigerants to the forefront:

  • The European Union’s passing of F-Gas regulations in April
  • The EPA’s recent significant new alternatives policy (SNAP) that proposes delisting several commonly used HFCs

Emerson’s renowned expert on refrigerants, Dr. Rajan Rajendran, addressed the implications of the SNAP proposal in his column. To read Rajan’s column and the inaugural edition of E360 Outlook in its entirety, click here.

In addition to our new publication, we’re excited to bring the E360 conversation to you through our interactive E360 Forums. These quarterly, daylong events will be held in strategic locations across the country and feature prominent refrigeration industry authorities as well as Emerson’s own internal experts. Our first E360 Forum will be held November 13 in Columbus, Ohio. For more information about E360, please visit our website:


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