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R-22 Dry Charge Systems After 2015

We received a question about the potential decline of the R22 Dry Charge units after the 2015 efficiency regulations go into effect and thought others might want to read about this topic.

Service tech talking with homeowner 1_HR

The new efficiency standards going into effect on 1/1/15 do not really address any questions about refrigerants directly.  However, we believe the new regulations will have some indirect effects on demand for R22 dry charge systems since almost all of the dry charge units today are 13 SEER and there will be restrictions on where 13 SEER can be used after the regulations change.  Based on what we have heard from the DOE, there is an 18 month grace period, ending on 6/30/16, to install products built prior to 1/1/15.  Any system built after 1/1/15 must meet the new efficiency standards for affected regions.  Under these new efficiency standards, all heat pumps must be 14 SEER or higher for all regions, irrespective of the refrigerant used, after the 18 month grace period.  All unitary split AC systems in the South and Southwest regions must also meet the 14 SEER or higher standard but they only have to be 13 SEER or higher in the North region, also irrespective of the refrigerant.  Thus, it would appear that after the grace period, R22, 13 SEER, dry charge unitary split AC systems will only be allowed in the North region. There is nothing pending to our knowledge that will restrict the ability to install those last remaining R-22, dry charge 13 SEER AC models into the North but we do know that all the other regions and all heat pumps for all regions must be 14 SEER.  After the grace period, any dry charge units for those regions and any heat pumps for any region must be 14 SEER, irrespective of refrigerant used.  The question remains as to whether there will be any interest in 14 SEER dry charge units which might meet the minimum SEER level for all heat pumps and for the AC systems in the South and Southwest regions or whether that is even possible.

We will continue to monitor this situation as it evolves so please check back from time to time and let us know what you are hearing from others about these regulations.

Chandra Gollapudi
Emerson Climate Technologies, Efficiency and Regulation

MAKING SENSE of Embedded Electronics in HVACR Equipment

While the prevalence of electronics continues to expand into nearly every aspect of our lives, the refrigeration and air conditioning industries have been slow to embed electronics in HVACR equipment. Unfortunately, the primary reasons for this reluctance can be attributed to a lack of awareness and education about the promise of electronically enabled systems.

For many OEMs, there is a fair amount of confusion surrounding the operation, maintenance and repair-ability of systems with embedded electronics. And among the consumer base, there’s a general misunderstanding about the value that electronics bring versus their perceived risks and costs.

Our next MAKING SENSE webinar will address these apprehensions and make a compelling case for electronic connectivity and system communications in HVACR equipment. Join us via webinar or in the booth at the 2015 AHR Expo on January 26 in Chicago, as we explore the potential of electronics and facilitate a panel discussion from Emerson’s lecture area in their booth, #5010, from 2–3 p.m. CST.

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In this complimentary webinar, we’ll explore the many advantages of embedded electronics, including:

  • Accurately diagnoses system problems the first time
  • Limits misdiagnosis and call-backs
  • Establishes improved maintenance contracts through better communications
  • Increases productivity through prognostics that identify potential failure points
  • Improves OEM installation verification and subsequent warranty issues

In an industry faced with disruptive equipment failures, a declining number of qualified technicians and increased service costs, we think it’s time to re-evaluate the many benefits of embedded electronics. With their tremendous untapped potential, electronics hold the promise of ushering in a new era of reliability in HVACR equipment.

The webinar will be led by Mike Murphy of The NEWS and include a list of distinguished panelists from a cross-section of our industry, including: John Wallace of Emerson Climate Technologies, Randall Amerine from AT&T, Paul Stalknecht of ACCA and George Hernandez from the U.S. Department of Energy.

We hope you’ll join us via webinar or in the booth on January 26 from 2–3 p.m. CST from the AHR Expo show as we are making sense of embedded electronics.

Learn more and register by visiting our website at: EmersonClimate.com/MakingSenseWebinars

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 http://www.ac-heatingconnect.com/meeting-comfort-efficiency-needs-restaurants/#sthash.ow0Jw4o5.dpuf

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 http://www.ac-heatingconnect.com/balancing-refrigeration-air-conditioning-supermarkets/#sthash.OM8b03xM.dpuf

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.

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