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Refrigeration Decisions Driven by Diverse Priorities

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

This blog summarizes an article from our most recent E360 Outlook, entitled Diverse Priorities Continue to Influence Refrigeration Landscape.” Click here to read it in its entirety.

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Today, there are as many factors influencing commercial refrigeration decisions as there are system architectures. As the industry continues to be shaped by regulations, emerging technologies and changing technician demographics, it has become more apparent that there is tremendous diversity among end user priorities.

From first costs, refrigerant considerations and sustainability goals to environmental regulations, energy-efficiency targets and maintenance requirements, end users have more drivers influencing equipment selection criteria than ever before. Since each end user values these factors according to their individual priorities, the hierarchy of priorities differs widely from one customer to the next.

Take Whole Foods Market, for example, a food retailer known for pioneering the use of all-natural refrigeration systems. By using CO2 and R-290 instead of synthetic hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants in their Santa Clara, Calif., location, the grocer is seeking to leave the smallest possible carbon footprint while meeting its energy-efficiency targets. All other criteria are secondary.

But for operators in other parts of the country, where energy costs are lower and environmental mandates are less demanding, a more traditional HFC system with lower first costs and more familiar maintenance protocols may be preferred. The same may be said for those who are intimidated by the increased complexities or relative “unknowns” of new system architectures.

If there’s anything we can be certain of, it’s that the refrigeration landscape will continue to change. You may have read about a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had exceeded the authority of its Clean Air Act in its efforts to limit the use of HFCs in commercial refrigeration. While some may support the court’s ruling, others who believe the process of phasing down HFCs is already well underway are calling for an appeal. As of now, we’ll have to wait and see what the true implications of this ruling will be.

Already in Europe, where F-gas regulations limit the use of high global warming potential refrigerants, the price of HFCs is on the rise as supplies dwindle. This is also indicative of how regional idiosyncrasies throughout the world also factor into refrigeration decisions, as the potential of carbon taxes, refrigerant price hikes and local climates must also be considered.

To be sure, there currently is no one-size-fits-all approach to commercial refrigeration. Our goal is not to favor one architecture over another, but to help end users balance this difficult equation for themselves — and based on their unique priorities, take the best approach.

How Big Data Can Enhance Sustainability Initiatives

ronchapek_2 Ron Chapek | Director of Product Management, ProAct Enterprise Software Services

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Today, across nearly all industries, corporations are being held to higher standards for sustainable operations and the food retail industry is no different. For convenience stores, much of the drive to be more sustainable is coming from evolving consumer demands. According to a Nielsen’s 2014 corporate social responsibility survey, 55% of global respondents said they are willing to pay extra for products and services from companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact — an increase from 50% in 2012 and 45% in 2011.

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An increasingly important tool to help operators enhance sustainability efforts to meet changing consumer demands and government regulations is the gathering of data that can be strategically used to reduce waste, increase efficiency and ensure food freshness and safety. One way to accomplish this is through remote monitoring.

Remote monitoring services collect data from sensors that monitor conditions like products and case temperatures. They also provide real-time performance data on critical store equipment, including insights around energy expenditure, equipment operating condition and health, facility maintenance needs, refrigerant leaks and shrink causes.

With remote monitoring, retailers can also control and monitor facility systems across multiple sites and entire enterprises, giving them the ability to monitor food and maintain efficiency throughout the entire chain.

By leveraging the data gathered via monitoring, companies can not only improve efforts to safeguard food and gain operational efficiency, they can also contribute to sustainability efforts.

For more information, read the full article here.

 

Seven Keys to Servicing CO2 Systems

AndrePatenaude_Blog_Image Andre Patenaude | Director, CO2 Business Development

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

This blog summarizes an article from our most recent E360 Outlook, entitled Keys to Servicing CO2 Systems.” Click here to read it in its entirety.

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From a service technician’s perspective, CO2 has unique performance characteristics and operating peculiarities that dictate system design and impact maintenance requirements. Following are seven key considerations to be aware of when servicing CO2 systems.

  1. Low critical point (subcritical vs. transcritical) — R-744 has a relatively low critical point (1,055 psig or 87.8 °F) that determines its modes of operation. Subcritical mode refers to systems operating in regions with colder climates and lower ambient temperatures where the refrigeration cycle takes place below 87.8 °F. Transcritical mode takes place above this point (also referred to as supercritical) such as in warmer regions or periods during the summer heat.
  2. Higher operating pressure — one of the common reservations when using CO2 is its relatively high operating pressure. But, it’s important to realize that high pressure only takes place in the beginning stages of the refrigeration cycle while the rest of the refrigeration cycle operates at pressures like that of a traditional R-410A high-side system. Stainless steel piping is typically used to handle these pressures, although high-pressure ferrous alloy copper piping has recently been introduced.
  3. High triple point (possibility of dry ice formation) — triple point is the point at which the three phases of CO2 coexist (60.4 psig or -69.8 °F). While the temperature seems low, the pressure is relatively high by refrigerant standards. As the pressure approaches that point in CO2 systems, the refrigerant will turn to dry ice (an unusable state that’s neither a vapor nor a liquid). This can occur during maintenance when a contractor mistakenly thinks the lines are clear, taps the system and discovers the formation of dry ice.
  4. System charging — the high triple point affects R-744’s charging procedures. After pulling a vacuum, the internal pressures of the system will be well below 60.4 psig. Since standard atmospheric pressure is 14.696 psig, the process cannot start with liquid charging. Instead, contractors must vapor-charge the system (roughly to around 145 psig), and then wait until the system has equalized with 145 psig of vapor before charging with liquid.
  5. Managing scheduled shutdowns and power outages — when a CO2 system shuts down for longer periods of time, pressures will build more quickly than in an HFC system. To preserve the system charge, the most reliable method is to install a generator with a standby condensing unit. When the power goes out, the generator powers a condensing unit that has a loop within the flash tank (i.e., receiver) designed to cool the volume of liquid within the tank and keep pressures down.
  6. Resumption of power — the electronic expansion valve (EEV) on every CO2 case utilizes a stepper motor or a pulse-width modulated type of valve. When the power goes out, the stepper motor is frozen in that exact position, leaving the system’s CO2 evaporators susceptible to flooding. R-744 naturally migrates quickly to these cold evaporators, and when the system resumes, this can cause considerable damage to compressors. To avoid this, liquid line solenoids placed upstream of the EEV, supercapacitors or battery backups are often used on case controls to force the valves closed during a power outage.
  7. Form a refrigerant plan — managing CO2 is different from what contractors may be accustomed to with traditional HFCs. Operators and contractors alike need to understand the local codes for storing R-744 cylinders (inside or outside the building), and develop an appropriate strategy.

Convenience Store Decisions: Gaining Operational Efficiency from BMS Insight

ronchapek_2 Ron Chapek | Director of Product Management, ProAct Enterprise Software Services

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

As convenience stores continue to evolve to adapt to changing customer demands and infrastructure and facility requirements, operators are under increasing pressure to gain operational efficiencies. Of growing importance in this effort are the intelligent applications that allow operators to effectively use the data gathered by building management systems (BMS) and environmental monitoring systems (EMS).

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The challenge of building intelligent applications is to effectively convert rapidly expanding and disparate data sources into visually insightful, prescriptive, actionable and value-adding graphical interfaces across multiple stakeholder departments with a diverse range of usage and persona types. Historically, the static application data was gathered or delivered late, making it hard to determine the action to take. Now with intelligent applications, you have the ability to make decisions and take actions faster on more current data.

Before you can take advantage of these new intelligent applications there are four building blocks to consider putting in place:

  1. Modern Data Architecture that delivers access to a wide variety of data at high velocity and scale.
  2. Advanced Analytics, the science of using a wide variety of data to understand factors that impact customer experience.
  3. Smart Devices all gathering data and sending it through the architecture.
  4. Real-Time Business making decisions in real-time.

Before you take the first step in your intelligent application, think about the business value. Then you will be in a position to effectively use the data to increase operational efficiencies.

For more information, read the full article in Convenience Store Decisions online here.

[New E360 Webinar] Using Technology to Help Meet Modern Refrigeration Challenges

benpicker Ben Picker | Copeland Units Project Manager

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Join us for our next E360 Webinar, “Using Technology to Help Meet Modern Refrigeration Challenges” on Thursday, December 7 at 2 p.m. EST / 11 a.m. PST.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whether you’re a supermarket, restaurant, mixed retailer or convenience store operator, successfully navigating today’s commercial refrigeration landscape is no small feat. From regulatory complexities, new refrigerant considerations and energy-efficiency targets to food safety requirements and servicing frustrations, today’s operators face a perfect storm of refrigeration challenges.

The silver lining in this scenario is that these complexities have ushered in a new era of refrigeration technologies. In the past several years, equipment and component manufacturers have made great strides in developing modern equipment and system technologies that address many of these concerns.

In our next E360 Webinar, I will take a closer look at a wide range of technologies and explain how they can be used to solve today’s countless operator challenges. Examples include:

  • Electronic controls for temperature tracking and smart defrosting
  • On-board compressor diagnostics for improved servicing
  • Energy-efficient scroll compression technology
  • Multi-refrigerant compressor capabilities

As we’ve discussed previously in our E360 webinars, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to refrigeration system design. But, as the industry continues its transition to the next generation of refrigeration architectures, many of these technologies will become integral to these systems.

So, if you’re interested in learning how you can leverage these technologies to reduce operational complexities and address your specific challenges, please join me on Thursday, December 7 at 2 p.m. EST / 11 a.m. PST.

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