Skip to content

Selecting a New Refrigerant — Current and Future Options

RajanRajendran2 Rajan Rajendran | V.P., System Innovation Center and Sustainability

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

This blog summarizes an article in our most recent E360 Outlook, entitled New Refrigerant Alternatives Available Today.” Click here to read it in its entirety.

9462-E360 Outlook-New Ref Alternatives-Facebook-1200x630

Whether you’re an OEM or an end user, selecting an alternative refrigerant for new commercial refrigeration platforms is not an easy decision. From installation and servicing requirements to performance, environmental and economic impacts, there are many factors to consider — including the complexities of the regulatory climate.

Since the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2015 decision to change the status of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants, the list of acceptable refrigerant alternatives has continued to expand. The ruling set forth specific change of status dates whereby HFCs will no longer be permitted in various commercial refrigeration equipment classes. Not only do the dates vary among these equipment classes, but there are multiple refrigerant options available within each specific application. And as these HFC phase-down timelines approach, we expect that the EPA will continue to introduce through its Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program new synthetic alternatives that offer incremental reductions in GWP levels.

It’s a lot to keep track of, and easy to see why the refrigerant issue — including past, current and future options — has proved particularly difficult for our industry to sort out. To help you analyze the available options and evaluate how they will impact you, we’ve assembled a list of refrigerant alternatives per commercial refrigeration application, as defined by EPA equipment classifications.

Future A2L alternatives

To meet the growing demand for lower-GWP refrigerants, chemical manufacturers have developed a new class of synthetic refrigerants called A2Ls with a GWP less than 150. While several manufacturers have submitted these “mildly flammable” blends for SNAP approval, none of these alternatives have yet to be listed as acceptable for use in commercial refrigeration applications by the EPA. A degree of flammability is a result of attempts to reach the very low GWP levels.

A2L Refrigerant designed to replace GWP
ARM-25 R-404A < 150
R-454A R-404A/R-22 238
R-454C R-404A/R-22 148
R-457A R-404A/R-22 139
R-515A HFC-134a 392
R-516A Near drop-in for HFC-134a 131
R-1234yf HFC-134a 1
R-1234ze R-404A/R-22 1

Emerson will continue to closely monitor all regulatory activity and keep you informed of any implications. These updates will likely introduce lower-GWP alternatives — such as the A2Ls discussed herein — that will help the industry continue to evolve toward more energy-efficient and lower life cycle climate performance (LCCP) systems and fluids.

There’s no question that the timing of the HFC status changes will continue to present challenges throughout the commercial refrigeration supply chain. We will continue to keep an eye on these developments and provide guidance about which refrigerants are available to help you make the transition.

This blog summarizes an article in our most recent E360 Outlook, entitled New Refrigerant Alternatives Available Today.” Click here to read it in its entirety.

Retail and Foodservice 2025: The Future for Customers, Operators and Facilities

Ed_McKiernan Ed McKiernan | President, Emerson Retail Solutions

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Food retail and food service environments are quickly evolving. As retail stores and restaurants adapt to changing infrastructure and facility requirements, it is important that operators understand where the market is heading and the impact these changes will have on their operations.

To help operators prepare for the future, Emerson commissioned global research firm Euromonitor International to identify trends that will shape the grocery retail and chained foodservice markets through 2025, and determine what impact these developments will have on retail store and restaurant design and infrastructure.

Euromonitor International is the world’s leading independent provider of strategic market research. With more than 40 years experience, the firm has offices around the world, analysts in over 100 countries and market research on every key trend and driver.

The research firm identified five megatrends that will have the strongest impact on retail and restaurant operations and facilities management over the next eight years:

  1. Digital Shoppers
  2. Focus on Convenience
  3. New Retail Formats
  4. Experiential Retail
  5. Omni-Channel Proficiency

These trends were shared at the Emerson E360 Annual Conference and on a global webcast. Over the next few posts, we will also take a closer look at each one of these trends, beginning with the first one.

Trend: Digital Shoppers

Consumers are becoming more connected, and expecting a connected experience when they interact with brands or purchase products. Currently, 3 in 4 U.S. households own a smartphone, and 47 percent of digital purchases in the United States are made through mobile devices. As the wireless infrastructure strengthens, the Internet becomes omnipresent and the prices of devices come down, these numbers will continue to grow.

We are already seeing a shift with many retailers moving toward mobile engagement with consumers within the store to create a better shopping experience and a stronger customer relationship. Also, more retailers in the U.S. are offering mobile order and pay capabilities to simplify transactions. Some retailers are even going beyond mobile and offering conversational commerce, where for instance, a virtual personal assistant such as Amazon’s Alexa can deliver your item within a short period of time.

So, what should retail and foodservice organizations do in terms of facility management and operations to stay ahead of this trend and customer expectations?

  • Facilities – Overhaul store layout (parking, checkout, dining area, etc.) to drive traffic and attract new trip types and consumers.
  • Supply Chain – Align online and physical inventory and offer real-time tracking of sources and orders to encourage repeat consideration and engage and inform customers.
  • e-Commerce – Implement digital order and payment platforms and offer a personalized, seamless experience to lower costs, reduce errors and increase customer satisfaction.
  • Human Resources – Make sure you have the training that focuses on the right skillsets and staff appropriately based on the different service models to improve customer experience and create stronger brand loyalty.
  • Customer Experience – Train customers for new protocols and offer a streamlined experience to minimize disruptions and serve more customers, faster.

Be sure to join us for our next post, which will take a look at the second megatrend: Focus on Convenience.

Grocer’s New CO2 Refrigeration System Earns EPA GreenChill award

 AndrePatenaude_Blog_Image Andre Patenaude | Director, CO2 Business Development

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

This blog summarizes a success story in our most recent E360 Outlook, entitled Natural Born Chillers.” Click here to read it in its entirety.

9462-E360 Outlook-Natural Born Chillers-Facebook-1200x630

Natural refrigerant adoption is on the rise in the U.S., and forward-thinking supermarket retailers are leading the charge. Driven by corporate sustainability objectives and the desire to achieve EPA and DOE regulatory compliance, some operators are turning to eco-friendly options like CO2 to reduce their carbon footprint. Such is the case with New Seasons Market, a northwestern U.S. grocer that was recently awarded the EPA’s GreenChill Platinum Certification in its newest store for installing a transcritical CO2 booster system.

In many ways, sustainability is in New Seasons’ DNA. They partner with local farmers, ranchers and producers to offer the best of the region, and sell homegrown, organic favorites along with traditional grocery store staples. With 20 locations in the states of Washington, Oregon and California, the chain’s recently launched 37,000-square-foot store in Mercer Island, Wash., was the first to earn this distinction from the EPA.

New Seasons partnered with its engineering firm to develop a natural refrigeration system that would meet the sustainability objectives for the new location. The system, which is based on the Hussmann Purity platform, features Emerson’s compression and system controls technology, including:

  • Transcritical CO2 rack — consists of six compressors — three of which are low-temperature Copeland Scroll Digital™ CO2 compressors — with digital capacity modulation to provide energy-efficient refrigeration for the entire store. The system is charged with 1,100 pounds of CO2 (R-744).
  • Roof-mounted gas cooler — a gas cooler utilizes energy-efficient, low-velocity, variable-frequency drive (VFD) fans to reduce overall energy usage.
  • Controls — An E2 RX refrigeration controller manages the system in conjunction with Emerson case controls in the store fixtures. These tools enable the ease of system setup while ensuring ongoing performance optimization, maintaining consistent temperatures throughout the store, minimizing product shrink and preserving food quality.

The EPA GreenChill Platinum Certification recognizes New Seasons’ efforts in revamping the store’s refrigeration system — an HFC system installed by the previous retailer at this location — to a CO2 architecture that reduced refrigerant emissions by at least 95 percent.

The success of the Mercer Island store has opened the door for additional CO2 systems. Their leadership is currently planning the construction of two new stores in 2018 that will also rely on transcritical CO2 booster system architectures.

This blog summarizes a success story in our most recent E360 Outlook, entitled Natural Born Chillers.” Click here to read it in its entirety.

Add the Chicago E360 Forum to Your Calendar This October

DonNewlon_V2 Don Newlon | V.P./G.M., Refrigeration Marketing
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

JOIN US in Chicago, Ill., for our next free E360 Forum on Thursday, October 5 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Chicago Marriott O’Hare hotel.

We’re excited to bring our next E360 Forum to the hub of the Midwest, Chicago, Ill. This is already shaping up to be another dynamic year for the HVACR industry, and we need your perspectives at this daylong event to make sense of the latest trends and developments. From the growing technician shortage and the introduction of new refrigerants to the dynamic regulatory climate and subsequent system design changes, we’ll explore the complex landscape that lies before us.

The day will be comprised of informative keynote sessions in the morning, leaving the afternoon open for you to choose from four content tracks of interactive breakout sessions. These are designed to give you a chance to get your questions answered and join in a dialogue with experts and peers.

Chicago’s breakout session tracks will focus on applications, regulations, air conditioning and industrial.

9596-EMR-Chicago-CoreMediaEloqua-E360Forum-1200x298

With your participation, the goal of this E360 Forum is to evaluate 2017’s trends and tackle the biggest challenges in commercial refrigeration and air conditioning.

What you’ll experience:

  1. Hear how the HVACR industry is addressing the growing technician shortage
  2. See the latest applications of natural refrigerants
  3. Review timely updates to energy and refrigerant regulations
  4. Learn about what’s on the horizon in the retail and foodservice sectors

E360 Forums have proved to be invaluable events, and we’re providing ample opportunities for you to have one-on-one discussions with experts and peers. Immediately following the breakout sessions, attendees and presenters can mingle at a networking reception from 4–6 p.m. And for those able to join us the evening before the event, we will host a welcome dinner on October 4 from 6–8 p.m. in the Chicago Marriott O’Hare hotel.

We hope you’ll be making plans today to add Chicago’s E360 Forum to your list of must-attend industry events in 2017.

Manufacturer Takes “Combined Design Cycle” Approach to Regulatory Compliance

AllenWicher Allen Wicher | Director, Foodservice Marketing

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

This blog summarizes a success story in our most recent E360 Outlook, entitled Going With the Grain.” Click here to read it in its entirety.

9462-E360 Outlook-Going with the grain-Facebook-1200x630

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) 2014 ruling mandated 30–50 percent reductions in energy consumption on stand-alone commercial refrigeration equipment by March 27, 2017. For OEMs of stand-alone commercial refrigeration equipment, this placed them among the first to meet the task of compliance. But when you’re an OEM whose core principles are based on environmental sustainability — e.g., JSI Store Fixtures of Bangor, Maine — clearing these regulatory hurdles is just the cost of doing business. In fact, leadership at JSI seized this as an opportunity to revamp its refrigeration platform.

Eager to get out in front of the regulatory deadline, the OEM began working with its component suppliers in 2014 to begin the design, testing and DOE certification processes. At the same time, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the phase-out of commonly used hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in stand-alone commercial refrigeration equipment — a ruling that would become final in the summer of 2015 with a compliance date of 2019. Like OEMs, this presented a design dilemma for JSI: comply with each regulation separately or combine compliance efforts into a single design cycle.

By tapping Emerson’s regulatory stewardship and its expertise in compressor and electronic controls technology, JSI decided to tackle both DOE and EPA compliance requirements in the same design cycle. First, they worked with Emerson’s Refrigeration and Integrated Products group to develop an optimized, high-efficiency condensing unit that would serve as the basis of its wooden refrigeration fixture platforms.

The condensing unit features Emerson components, including: compressor, flow control and unit controller to facilitate tighter refrigeration control and an efficient assembly process into JSI’s refrigeration equipment. To make sure the new units met required energy objectives, JSI also utilized the DOE test validation and certification services of Emerson’s Design Services Network (DSN).

Completion of design, testing and certification

By the end of Q4 2016, JSI had completed the DOE certification process on 46 of its standard products, well ahead of the 2017 deadline. The effort required the commitment and dedication of the OEM’s strategic suppliers and partners, including an electronically commutated evaporator fan motor manufacturer, a third-party testing provider and Emerson’s DSN resources. In addition, JSI invested in an in-house testing facility where its units were ultimately rated for final certification.

To get out in front of the EPA’s HFC refrigerant ban in 2019, JSI opted to design its new stand-alone units to be “R-448A ready” — as the industry waits for the EPA to list new refrigerants R-448A/449A as acceptable for use through its Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program. JSI leadership made this decision based on a desire to align with the general direction the industry was heading and not impose difficult operating and servicing requirements on their customers.

This blog summarizes a success story in our most recent E360 Outlook, entitled Going With the Grain.” Click here to read it in its entirety.

%d bloggers like this: