For the commercial refrigeration equipment supply chain, 2014 was defined by increasing environmental regulations in the U.S. While the Department of Energy (DOE) has mandated significant reductions in energy consumption by 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency is calling for the phase-out of commonly used refrigerants by 2016. As a result, the primary challenge facing the industry in 2015 is preparing for compliance.
The product classes most affected by the new DOE rule include self-contained, reach-in refrigerators, walk-in coolers and freezers, and ice machines. With 2017 just around the corner, the race is on to design, test and certify equipment for compliance. This will not only require a precise understanding of the regulations, but also an accelerated development process to prepare for the new standards.
As currently proposed, the DOE’s regulations are mandating dramatic, double-digit percent reductions in energy consumption within the 2017–2018 time frame:
- Reach-ins: 30 – 50 percent energy reduction, measured in kilowatt hours per day (kWh/day)
- Walk-ins: 20 – 40 percent energy reduction, measured in annualized walk-in energy factor (AWEF) calculations
- Ice machines: 5 – 15 percent energy reduction, measured in kWh per 100 pounds of ice produced
Achieving these benchmarks will require OEMs to evaluate efficiencies holistically, starting with the overall efficiency of the system architecture and then considering each component individually. Among the most energy-efficient components to consider are those that make up the refrigeration subsystem, including:
- Compressors — can be responsible for up to 60 percent of a system’s total energy use. Variable capacity scroll compressors offer the highest energy efficiency available today.
- Evaporator and condenser fan motors — are often the second-highest energy consumers. Electronic commutated motors are recommended to improve fan motor efficiencies.
Per the DOE’s technical support documentation, there are many additional design options that are available to help meet 2017 efficiency levels. Recognizing that there will undoubtedly be cost adders for the proposed design options, the DOE has also estimated the amount of time it will take for the energy efficiency gains to generate a return on investment.
This blog is a summary of “DOE Regulations Drive Significant Energy Reductions” in the latest edition of Emerson Climate Technologies’ E360 Outlook. Read the article in its entirely and download the digital edition.
Emerson Climate Technologies recently held its most recent E360 Forum in Anaheim, Calif. More than 100 participants were in attendance for a day filled with two keynote addresses and eight breakout sessions. Taking place one day prior to the start of the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM) show, the event attracted both foodservice and food retail professionals seeking insights into the dynamic regulatory landscape and the many refrigeration challenges we face today.
Launched as part of our E360 initiative, E360 Forums were designed to give industry constituents a means to participate in discussions that are shaping the future of commercial refrigeration and refrigerated system design. If you weren’t able to attend our Anaheim event, here’s a brief summary of what took place.
- Doug Fryett, president of Fryett Consulting Group, began the day with a keynote address that examined current macro and operational trends impacting the global foodservice industry. He explained how increased government oversight, concerns over food safety, sustainability and energy costs, and the ever-increasing speed of technology are among the primary forces driving the industry.
- Emerson’s expert on refrigerants, Dr. Rajan Rajendran, provided an update on the EPA’s imminent 2015 ruling to limit the use of high GWP refrigerants. He shed light on the EPA’s SNAP proposal to delist commonly used refrigerants and explored the potential of likely natural and synthetic alternatives.
- John Wallace, Emerson’s director of innovation, moderated a discussion on how electronics are transforming equipment diagnostics in food retail. He explained how embedded electronics in on-site equipment connect with software and services to improve diagnostics and asset management and enable remote visibility and performance analysis across the enterprise.
- InSinkErator’s Michael Keleman and Matt Whitener demonstrated how food waste disposers are being transformed into environmental tools to preserve public health and promote sustainability. They introduced the concept of an organic food waste recycling system and explained how it could eliminate common food waste management issues while reducing environmental impacts.
As intended, the E360 Forum promoted an open exchange of information between moderators and attendees. The day concluded with a networking reception that provided additional opportunities to chat with presenters and connect with peers. With so many questions ahead of us and the NAFEM show on the horizon, there was no shortage of conversations.
We’re currently planning our next E360 Forum, which will take place in the third quarter of this year. By that time, we expect the EPA to have announced its final rule on refrigerants and have a clearer picture of the regulatory future. It’s evident that as we navigate a path forward for commercial refrigeration in foodservice and food retail, we’ll all need to work together and participate in this larger industry dialogue.
In the feature story of our second edition of E360 Outlook magazine, we talked about how the Department of Energy (DOE) has mandated significant energy consumption reductions for walk-ins, reach-ins and ice machines by 2017. Complying with these new regulations will require equipment changes that utilize new technologies and innovative refrigeration strategies in each application.
In our new MAKING SENSE webinar, entitled “Meeting Future Refrigeration Energy Regulations With Today’s Technology Alternatives,” we’ll provide an overview of the DOE’s regulations and then explore the specific technology alternatives you can use to achieve compliance. This complimentary webinar will be moderated by Kurt Knapke, Emerson’s vice president of engineering and electronics, and feature other industry experts.
With the DOE’s energy regulations taking effect in less than two years, the commercial refrigeration industry is busy making preparations now. Based on the DOE’s recommended design strategies to achieve compliance, we’re going to take a closer look at some of the technology alternatives most likely to be integrated into future refrigeration equipment.
Here are a few of the specific technologies we will be discussing:
- Low-condensing refrigeration — floating head pressures with ambient temperatures can result in dramatic reductions in energy consumption. Learn how electronic expansion valves enable condensing systems to maintain head pressure at 10–20 °F above ambient temperature, resulting in a 15–20 percent EER improvement.
- Compression technologies — high-efficiency variable speed compressors are recommended by the DOE to reduce energy consumption. We’ll compare scroll, hermetic and semi-hermetic compressors and show how each can impact energy usage.
- Condenser coil performance (temperature differential) — increasing the condenser coil surface area can also increase airflow. But, will this mean a trade-off in compact equipment design? We’ll explore the implications and available options.
Make plans to join us Tuesday, March 17 from 2–3 p.m. EDT. To learn more and register, please visit our website at: EmersonClimate.com/MakingSenseWebinars.
Increasing consumer demand for fresh, high-quality food options is permeating food retail delivery strategies and increasing competition within the market segments of supermarket, fast food and convenience stores. Case in point: the convenience store segment is expanding foodservice operations in an attempt to provide quality fresh foods that rival, and at times exceed, their fast food competitors.