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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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Six Arguments that Make the Case for Case Control

In the U.S., the vast majority of refrigeration cases are controlled via circuit control. Yet, implementing individual case control leads to lower energy costs for retailers. At our 2014 Technology in Action Conference, we brought together three retail end users who are currently using case control in their supermarkets for a panel discussion on this topic. We addressed the benefits and challenges of installing case control, as well as asked the panelists to share their personal experiences with actual deployments.

John Wallace (second on left) of Emerson Climate Technologies moderates a panel discussion on case control with retail end users (L to R): Steve Mitchell of King Kullen, Frank Vadino of Cold Technology and Kevin St. Phillips of Price Chopper.

John Wallace (second on left) of Emerson Climate Technologies moderates a panel discussion on case control with retail end users (L to R): Steve Mitchell of King Kullen, Frank Vadino of Cold Technology and Kevin St. Phillips of Price Chopper.

During this discussion, a consensus emerged among the panel of retailers – each of whom is based in the Northeast region of the U.S., where there is currently a high concentration of case control stores. Each of the panelists shared that their companies are implementing case control in some way – as they remodel stores and build new facilities. As advocates for case control, they all agreed that its benefits and savings outweigh the potential challenges.

Below are six arguments – and some tips for successful implementation – from actual end users that make the case for case control:

  1. Case control installation is cost-effective. Installation with case control will be less expensive than the costs seen with a conventional mechanical valve store. With case control, you are able to drive down the electrical installation costs. Stores with conventional valves may also take longer to set up. Less time is spent on the case installation and set up with case control because a lot of the work can be done ahead of time; this allows the other store teams to work in conjunction with the case installation. You can set shelves, bring in groceries and burn off cooking equipment while the installation happens, rather than waiting until a case is full to the load line and environmental conditions are set.
  2. A kickoff meeting with prospective bidders is a crucial first step for a new project. When bidding a new project, it helps to ensure all parties involved understand the plan and specifications. A kickoff meeting allows you to sit down and explain the design methodology and how it differs from conventional systems. If you expect to see lower electrical installation costs, make sure you state this to the prospective bidders. It’s also important to have quality instruction documentation to support your project expectations.
  3. Training is critical when adopting case controls. Everyone involved needs to know how to use the equipment. Set up training for the mechanics so that they not only understand how the controls work, but also explain why you’ve elected to use case control. Making sure they understand the concept and getting the mechanics on board with case control can go a long way in helping them take ownership of the startup and maintenance of the equipment.
  4. When ordering new cases, have the controls mounted in the cases by the manufacturer. With high labor costs, you’ll see savings with ordering the controls already installed in new cases. You will still need to allocate time after the cases are installed to make sure that all connections are tight and the wiring is set up correctly, but opting for manufacturer installed controls will also allow for quicker installation.
  5. Use case controls to better manage your facility and your maintenance teams. Case controls provide a better level of visibility and control of your facilities. The data collected provides valuable information to help evaluate a problem and diagnose it properly. If something isn’t working correctly, technicians are able to call the supervision team, who has access to the system remotely, to help walk them through the issue. Technicians can also access system information on a smart phone or tablet while in the field. And, you can set restrictions to allow varying levels of access to the system information – or you can override the system, when needed. Electronic expansion valves can also help reduce truck rolls and decrease the inventory needed on technician trucks.
  6. There are different strategies for successful case control conversion. As case control is adopted by more retailers in the U.S., we’re seeing different approaches to case control conversion by various organizations. Some have opted to switch their stores to case control as they remodel, retrofitting the cases in any stores going through a remodel with electronic controls at that time. And for larger remodels, they may order new cases with the controls factory installed. Another method is to go into existing stores with conventional systems for an energy conversion project and retrofit the cases with electronic controls; this may be done with a controlled conversion, switching a few racks in a store at a time, or by converting the whole store. And with new builds, many opt to simplify the electrical construction by installing case control from the start.
John Wallace (far left) of Emerson Climate Technologies with retail customers (L to R): Frank Vadino of Cold Technology, Steve Mitchell of King Kullen and Kevin St. Phillips of Price Chopper.

John Wallace (far left) of Emerson Climate Technologies with retail customers (L to R): Frank Vadino of Cold Technology, Steve Mitchell of King Kullen and Kevin St. Phillips of Price Chopper.

For more information on Emerson Climate Technologies offering of case controls for supermarkets and convenience stores, please visit the XM Series Case Control page on our website.

John Wallace
Director of Innovation, Retail Solutions
Emerson Climate Technologies


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