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Concerned About Meeting the DOE’s AWEF Rating by 2017? We’ll Help You Make Sense of It

In our tenth installment of the Making Sense webinar series, we explored the implications of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) final ruling on the regulation of energy consumption in walk-in coolers and freezers (WICF). Ani Jayanth, foodservice marketing manager of the refrigeration division, provided an overview of the Annual Walk-In Energy Factor (AWEF) ratings for refrigeration systems and gave an update on the EPA’s recent significant new alternative (SNAP) refrigerant delisting proposal. Brian Buynacek, refrigeration engineer, discussed how the DOE calculates AWEF and which component upgrades and techniques could be used to bring systems into compliance by the June 2017 deadline.

This information-packed event helped clear the confusion that professionals in the supermarket and foodservice industries may have had about the regulatory intersection of the DOE and SNAP rulings. In addition, the webinar evaluated available design options and provided examples on how to retrofit systems to achieve compliance.

Brian and Ani took a condensing unit point of view on meeting AWEF ratings that included all controls and other components integral to the refrigerated systems’ operation, not the envelope itself (i.e., doors and panels). Some of the many WICF design options that the DOE recommends include:

  • Floating head pressure
  • Modulating evaporating fans
  • Improved evaporator and condenser fan blades
  • Improved coils
  • Variable speed compressors

The webinar looked at commonly used WICFs and demonstrated how these systems could be brought into compliance through specific measures, such as:

  • Reducing power consumption
  • Replacing compressor and ECM fan motor
  • Upgrading condenser coil

In particular, for those who are not floating the head pressure in their refrigeration systems, this technique represents a viable, cost-effective method for improving energy efficiencies. Of course this must be done with full awareness of the operating envelope of the compressor used. Similarly, changing to a low GWP refrigerant alternative will require design changes and other system adjustments.

If you were unable to attend the webinar, it is available on demand in the archives section of our website. Stay tuned for further updates on the DOE’s final ruling and SNAP as we Make Sense of the issues that matter most in commercial refrigeration.

Making Sense of the DOE’s Final 2017 Walk-In Efficiency Regulation

The Department of Energy (DOE) recently issued its final ruling on the regulation of energy consumption in walk-in coolers and freezers. The ruling is based on the Annual Walk-In Energy Factor (AWEF) rating for refrigeration systems and components, and adopts the industry testing protocol AHRI 1250 as its metric of enforcement. To comply with the ruling’s June 5, 2017 effective date, manufacturers of walk-in coolers and freezers will need to begin evaluating energy efficient components and technologies today.

Of particular interest to OEMs is the effectiveness of condensing unit technology and how it measures up to the AWEF’s ratings. Manufacturers will also have to consider every available design option — such as compressors, coil, motors, modulation and controls — to prepare systems for compliance in 2017.

Join Our Next Webinar, Tuesday, Oct. 21 at 2 p.m. EDT

To address the myriad concerns and considerations of the DOE 2017 ruling, Emerson Climate Technologies is holding a new Making Sense webinar on Oct. 21 at 2 p.m., entitled Staying Ahead of the DOE 2017 Walk-in Cooler and Freezer Energy Efficiency Ratings. This complementary live event will explore the far-reaching implications of the DOE rule, and discuss the following topics:

  • Survey of existing condensing unit technology and how it compares to the AWEF minimum requirements
  • Technology/design options (compressors, coil, motors, modulation, controls, etc.)
  • Importance of low condensing operation/floating head pressure
  • AWEF calculations for condensing units, unit coolers and complete systems
  • AWEF versus AEER
  • Impacts of the EPA’s recent significant new alternative (SNAP) refrigerant delisting proposal
  • Refrigeration industry push back

The webinar will be presented by two Emerson Climate Technologies experts who are most familiar with the subject: Ani Jayanth, foodservice marketing manager of the refrigeration division, and Brian Buynacek, refrigeration engineer. Ani has been very close to the DOE 2017 ruling for quite some time and has significant insight on its implications, and Brian will lend his expertise on AWEF and how it plays into the ruling. Join Ani and Brian on Tuesday, Oct. 21 at 2 p.m. EDT for this informative and timely webinar.

Learn more and register by visiting our website at: where we’re helping the industry MAKE SENSE of the issues that matter most.

Why You Can’t Always Get What You Want Out Of a New AC System

Why, in survey after survey, do consumers indicate they would pay a little extra for better comfort or energy savings but still continue to purchase the basic, minimum efficiency and lightly featured systems? This past year, AC & Heating Connect worked with Triple Pundit (a new-media company for highly conscious business leaders focused on the triple bottom line – people, planet and profit) to survey their readers on issues related to purchasing patterns of HVAC consumers. Industry data indicates that 70% of consumers consistently purchase minimum efficiency and minimum featured HVAC systems and only 30% buy the higher featured and more efficient models. This is all true despite our company’s sponsored research, which indicates that almost 70% of homeowners surveyed prefer systems that offer superior energy savings and comfort or created less impact on the environment.

Why You Can’t Always Get What You Want Out Of a New AC System
According to a 2013 survey of more than 500 Triple Pundit readers, we found some indications about what might be going on with HVAC consumer buying behavior. First, we asked if consumers would pay 20-30 percent more for a system that provided certain benefits.

  • 85% would pay for better efficiency and reduced energy consumption
  • 68% would pay for a lower overall impact on the environment
  • 67% would pay for greater monthly energy savings
  • 56% would pay for better overall comfort and indoor air quality
  • 6% would just buy the lowest cost system no matter what

When asked to rank various HVAC features in order of importance, the respondents indicated the following priorities, in order:

  1. Improved energy efficiency for reduced operating costs
  2. Reliability
  3. Reduction in monthly operating costs
  4. Lowest environmental impact
  5. Improvements in comfort or air quality
  6. Low sound or operating noise
  7. Lowest initial cost to purchase

Again, in line with prior survey findings, the lowest initial consumer cost is ranked lowest by the respondents.

Next, we asked why they thought more people don’t choose to buy higher efficiency systems.

  • 66% just don’t want to be uncomfortable (a pretty low threshold)
  • 54% are too busy to do the research
  • 45% think the terms and technology are too confusing
  • 23% have no interest in efficiency or comfort – just want cold air when it is hot

Although the results are not conclusive, we believe these responses give some indication of what’s going on. Confusion about what features are available in new systems and having the time and energy to research all the tradeoffs before making an HVAC investment decision are common problems for both consumers and contractors trying to satisfy their needs.

For more information go to

Frank Landwehr
VP of Marketing and Planning, Air Conditioning
Emerson Climate Technologies

Webinar Wrap-Up: Preparing for the EPA’s Proposed SNAP Refrigerant Rule Changes

In my recent Making Sense Webinar “Staying Ahead of Rulemaking Proposals on Acceptable Refrigerants,” I explored the implications of the EPA’s recent significant new alternatives (SNAP) policy on supermarket and foodservice refrigeration applications. On August 6, the EPA also issued a notice of public rulemaking (NOPR) in the Federal Register, giving all stakeholders 60 days to comment on SNAP’s proposed delisting of refrigerants. The moves are a follow-up to the EPA’s recent stakeholder meetings to discuss the global warming potential (GWP) of HFC-based refrigerants, and explore which ones could be delisted and what their replacements might be.

While the EPA’s rulemaking on refrigerants is still undecided, it seems inevitable that two of our industry’s most common refrigerants — R404A and R507A — are likely to be delisted. Stakeholders can prepare now by educating themselves and getting engaged. Here are three important considerations to help you find solid ground amidst this very fluid situation:

  • How will your application be affected? Each new alternative refrigerant presented for approval has very specific application parameters. For example, retail food refrigeration and vending machine application will require different alternative refrigerants. Make sure you know what the impacts will be on your application. Here’s the EPA’s official SNAP website:
  • Comment on the NOPR through October 6. If you have concerns, unique equipment and application requirements, or disagree with the proposed delistings, make sure your opinions are made known to the EPA by commenting on the NOPR. Failure to comment may be interpreted as tacit agreement with SNAP rulings.
  • Carefully evaluate the alternatives. When considering replacement refrigerants, we must evaluate their key characteristics to minimize unintended consequences. This holistic view encompasses safety (toxicity, flammability, pressures), performance (physical properties, capacity, energy efficiency), economics (technology and equipment impacts, TCO) and of course, environment (regulatory requirements and life cycle climate performance).

As a component manufacturer, Emerson Climate Technologies is doing everything it can to stay ahead of proposed rulemaking by closely evaluating the viability of alternatives. In my webinar, I was fortunate enough to be joined by distinguished spokespersons from major chemical companies formulating the next generation of synthetic refrigerants. Patti Conlan, Fluorochemicals Market Manager from Arkema, Samuel Yana Motta, Refrigerants R&D Leader from Honeywell and Barbara Minor, DuPont Fellow from DuPont provided updates on the performance and GWP potential of each company’s future refrigerants. Since Emerson Climate has been participating in the EPA’s discussions for quite some time, we have already identified a class of viable synthetic and natural refrigerant alternatives — from R407A/F and CO2 to R290 — and are preparing in advance for product qualification.

There’s no question that the path before us is a challenging one. Low GWP options will have implications on safety, performance, economics and the environment. And finding options that strike a balance between all these factors will be the key to adhering to SNAP’s requirements in all applications.

If you’d like to hear my recent Making Sense webinar in its entirety, you may listen to it and other archived webinars on our website. Stay tuned for further updates on this dynamic topic as we Make Sense of the issues that matter most in commercial refrigeration.

Rajan Rajendran, Ph. D.
Vice President, System Innovation Center and Sustainability
Emerson Climate Technologies

Seven Actions Retail Facilities Teams Can Take to Improve Store Operations

What can facility managers do to improve their partnership with store operations? This post lists seven actions facilities teams can take which can help both teams succeed.

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