Skip to content

Upgrade Compressors to Extend Commercial Refrigeration System Lifespan

AndrePatenaude_Blog_Image Andre Patenaude | Director, Food Retail Marketing & Growth Strategy, Cold Chain

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

ACHR News recently interviewed me for an article titled “Compressor Retrofits on the Rise in Commercial Refrigeration.” It featured a variety of perspectives on the merits of compressor retrofits versus total system replacement. The article can be found here.

When facility energy costs creep up, one of the first suspects is almost always the commercial refrigeration system. It’s a reasonable assumption to make. Over time, it’s very common for energy efficiency to decline as systems drift from their original commissioned performance baselines.

But that doesn’t make a total system replacement inevitable. Many food retailers are reclaiming energy efficiencies by pairing system recommissioning with a measurement and verification (M&V) program and targeted compressor upgrades. In the process, they can reduce energy consumption, improve system performance and reliability and extend the system’s lifespan without the capital investment and business interruption that a full system replacement would require.

Back to the (factory spec) basics

Prolonged use, normal wear and tear and migration from recommended setpoints can degrade efficiency over time. Recommissioning fine-tunes the refrigeration system so that it operates as intended. The process typically involves optimizing every setpoint, cleaning condensers and replacing damaged components. Often, operators can capture significant savings just by recalibrating their system to factory specifications.

Implementing an M&V program ensures those savings are sustainable. Energy-monitoring equipment that delivers real-time insights will help operators ensure their equipment stays in tune. When variances occur, contractors can quickly identify the root cause and address the issue. But just as important, they can use the data generated by the M&V program to make informed decisions on future improvements.

Greater efficiency through variable-capacity modulation

The next step is to enhance energy efficiencies in low- and medium-temperature racks by upgrading to a digital compressor with variable-capacity modulation or by adding a variable frequency drive (VFD). Often, the best candidates for replacement are fixed-capacity compressors that are underperforming or the smallest displacement compressors in each rack.

By adding a variable-capacity digital compressor or VFD to the mix, operators can:

  • Accurately match capacity to changing refrigeration loads
  • Improve case temperature precision
  • Reduce compressor cycling
  • Maintain tighter control over suction manifold pressures

One often overlooked solution is the option to add a VFD to legacy Copeland™ Discus and Copeland™ Scroll fixed-capacity compressors. Perhaps a more common solution is replacing one or even two underperforming fixed-capacity compressors with a digital compressor such as a Copeland Discus Digital or Copeland Scroll Digital compressor — both of which enable variable-capacity modulation to deliver significant energy savings.

When a leading supermarket chain tested the strategy on a 20-year-old, 45,000 square foot grocery store in Ontario, it found that:

  • Recommissioning reduced energy costs by 18%
  • Replacing two weaker units with Copeland Discus compressors reduced energy costs by an additional 16% and qualified the retailer for a local energy incentive program

The entire effort delivered an annual energy savings of more than $40,000.

Proven strategies for every situation

As other contributors to the article note, compressor upgrades (or retrofits) may not always be the right solution for every system. Depending on the age and condition of the equipment, a total system replacement may make more financial sense. This strategy would ensure all system controls and components are integrated and optimized for lower-GWP refrigerants.

Ultimately, choosing between a compressor retrofit or full system replacement should be a data-driven decision that operators make in consultation with their contractors. As a leader in commercial refrigeration and other cold chain technologies, Emerson can help operators maximize their return on that decision. We offer a full suite of components that boost energy efficiency and provide internet of things (IoT) capabilities for retrofits and new equipment alike. Our application engineers are available to answer questions related to refrigeration system performance, retrofit opportunities and strategies for maximizing energy efficiency.

Raising the Bar on Innovation for Distributed Architectures

DiegoMarafon Diego Marafon | Refrigeration Scroll Product Manager

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

The food retail industry is undergoing a dramatic transformation. To stay competitive, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and store operators need solutions that promote integration, provide flexibility, but most importantly, produce relevant data insights. With the Copeland™ Indoor Modular Solution, Emerson has created the first end-to-end solution to the industry’s most pressing refrigeration challenges. Read more about this groundbreaking innovation in our recent E360 Product Spotlight.

Raising the Bar on Innovation for Distributed Architectures

Consumer preferences are prompting the creation of new — and often smaller — store formats. Corporate sustainability goals and environmental regulations are driving the expansion of new refrigeration technologies. And retailers need meaningful operational and energy performance data now — rather than after equipment fails, food safety is put at risk or higher-than-expected utility bills come rolling in.

OEMs and store operators require a smarter and more adaptable foundation on which to build for the future. In response, Emerson has introduced the Copeland Indoor Modular Solution. A 2020 AHR Innovation Award finalist, it seamlessly integrates refrigeration equipment with Emerson facility controls. It is the industry’s first all-in-one offering that includes hardware, software and services.

More capabilities in a low-profile package

Emerson’s Copeland™ Scroll variable speed compressors are trusted by OEMs for their superior reliability, efficiency, variable capacity and quiet operation. Likewise, Emerson’s ProAct™ Connect+ enterprise management software and lifecycle services help operators across the spectrum to unlock the full potential of their data.

The Copeland Indoor Modular Solution combines both to deliver:

  • High-caliber performance: The low-profile, quiet system enhances in-store customer experiences while the highly efficient modules perform well above the Department of Energy consumption targets for commercial refrigeration equipment.
  • Real-time access to data: Advanced electronics that easily integrate with facility controls help operators’ to monitor, triage and respond to issues.
  • Enterprise-level visibility: Remote monitoring of refrigeration, HVAC, lighting and other assets helps operators achieve their food quality, safety and energy performance goals.
  • Project certainty: Emerson-authorized technicians facilitate on-time, on-budget store launches.
  • Exceptional support: Emerson supports operators throughout the life of their stores with systems integration, commissioning, maintenance and aftermarket services.

Demonstrated value across the supply chain

The Copeland Indoor Modular Solution is designed for stores seeking to deploy distributed architectures. As a low-cost, small-footprint and low-maintenance alternative to traditional  large centralized systems and remote systems, it offers the adaptability that OEMs and operators require in today’s marketplace. But don’t let its slim profile deceive you. The Copeland Indoor Modular Solution is a workhorse that delivers advantages across the entire supply chain:

  • OEMs benefit from the configurability of Copeland products and a plug-in approach that accelerates time to market.
  • Store owners and operators benefit from Emerson technologies that can lower operating costs, provide precise refrigeration loads, help to prevent food loss, maximize merchandising space and ensure optimal in-store experiences.
  • Enterprise managers benefit from easy-to-deploy, standard refrigeration modules that minimize startup complexities and enable scalability for new stores; they also gain key insights into store performance, historic trends and outliers.

The industry-wide changes that are pushing OEMs and operators to be more flexible and adaptable are made more complicated by their interconnected nature. The innovative pairing of our comprehensive refrigeration portfolios with our proven solutions expertise equips stakeholders with the best toolset to overcome these challenges. In this respect, the Copeland Indoor Modular Solution is more than a data-driven solution.

Learn more about how the Copeland Indoor Modular Solution is setting a new standard for cold chain integration and automation by reading the full E360 article.

[Webinar Recap] Preparing for the Future of Refrigeration

AndrePatenaude_Blog_Image Andre Patenaude | Director, Food Retail Marketing & Growth Strategy, Cold Chain

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Commercial refrigeration architectures are changing. Environmental regulations and corporate sustainability objectives are driving the need for next-generation refrigeration technologies. Today, most commercial refrigeration end users are still operating legacy, centralized direct-expansion (DX) rack systems — which contain refrigerants that either have high global warming potential (GWP) or ozone depletion potential (ODP). In our most recent E360 Webinar, Diego Marafon, refrigeration scroll product manager at Emerson, and I discussed new refrigeration architectures that utilize eco-friendly refrigerants.

12127-LatestWebinar_1200x630

In many countries, regions and U.S. states, the transition from high-GWP refrigerants is underway. While legacy refrigerant options such as hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) R-404A are being phased down, hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) such as R-22 are being phased out. To meet sustainability targets, future refrigeration options will utilize a variety of emerging lower-GWP refrigerants, including A1s, A2Ls and natural options such as CO2 and propane.

End users must evaluate a wide range of operational, maintenance and economic criteria when selecting an alternative refrigerant or future refrigeration architecture. Based on Emerson-sponsored research on commercial refrigeration end users, we’ve classified these criteria into six categories called the Six S’s: simple to operate and maintain; environmentally and economically sustainable; stable, reliable performance; secure in terms of both technology and safety perspectives; serviceable without requiring specialized skills or training; and equipped with smart technologies for internet of things (IoT) communication. The levels of importance that each end user places on these factors will determine their selection criteria and the types of systems that meet their business objectives.

Emerging architectures and technologies

Aside from CO2 systems, which have been in use for more than a decade, many of the emerging technologies take a decentralized or distributed approach to system architectures. Overall, this strategy moves the refrigeration equipment closer to the refrigerated cases, requires much less refrigerant charge (and piping), and offers a higher degree of flexibility over centralized DX systems. Here is a brief description of some of the decentralized or distributed architectures we reviewed in the webinar:

Low-charge small scroll racks — These systems have been in place for more than 20 years due to their equipment placement flexibility. Multiple-rack units can be placed in proximity to refrigerated loads, allowing suction pressures to be optimized and drive energy efficiencies. Refrigerant charges are smaller, so leaks can be contained to each rack’s individual circuit. They are capable of using multiple refrigerants with varying lower-GWP ratings.

Outdoor condensing units (OCUs) — This well-known approach has been proven for decades and is evolving to meet modern refrigeration needs. OCUs have traditionally been used for smaller refrigeration loads — one unit per load — and many retailers use multiple OCUs to cover individual loads throughout a store. Lower-GWP A1 refrigerants such as R-448/9A can be used for low-temperature applications; low- or medium-pressure refrigerants can be used for medium-temperature applications.

Variable-capacity OCUs — Digital compressors which provide variable-capacity modulation are now being used in OCUs to service multiple refrigeration loads per store. This added range of capacity greatly expands upon traditional remodel and rebuild options — in convenience stores, restaurants, small supermarkets, and click-and-collect operations — and offers the ability to replace three separate condensing units with one. Locating these OCUs in proximity to the refrigerated loads helps keep charge low, allowing them to meet even the most stringent environmental regulations. Variable-capacity modulation enables precise temperature control and excellent load matching capabilities for maximum energy efficiencies. See the Copeland™ Digital Outdoor Refrigeration Unit, X-Line Series for more information.

Distributed micro-booster — This hybrid indoor/outdoor architecture utilizes proven booster technology — typically found in CO2 systems, however new innovative concepts permit the use of low GWP, low-pressure A1 refrigerants for both low- and medium-temperature loads while offering a familiar operation and maintenance footprint. The system utilizes outdoor condensing units for medium-temperature coolers and low-temperature compressors which are located directly on or above the frozen cases. Low-temperature compressors discharge into the nearest medium-temperature suction group, thereby eliminating the need to discharge all the way out to a remote condenser. This allows refrigerant charges and pressures to stay very low, while utilizing one low-GWP A1 refrigerant such as R-513A. Emerson has tested these systems in multiple locations and configurations, where they deliver exceptional performance and energy efficiencies.

Indoor distributed architecture — This flexible configuration utilizes self-contained condensing units located on or near refrigerated cases, islands or prep tables — with refrigerant options, including low-GWP A1s and R-290 (subject to allowable charge limits). Stores with multiple cases can be connected via a shared water or glycol loop to extract heat from each unit and divert it to a remote condenser/cooler. The inherent modular nature of this architecture limits leak rates and keeps charges very low while enabling a very simple, reliable and scalable operational footprint. See the award-winning Copeland Indoor Modular Solution for an end-to-end modular capability that provides seamless integration of refrigeration equipment with Emerson facility controls.

For more detailed information on any of these refrigeration architectures or their enabling technologies, view this webinar in its entirety.

Three Trends Shaping the Commercial Refrigeration Sector

DaveBersaglini Dave Bersaglini | Vice President & General Manager, Refrigeration

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

HVACR Business recently invited me to participate in an executive roundtable on the evolution of the commercial refrigeration sector. You can read the full article here and more on our perspective below.

Three Trends Shaping the Commercial Refrigeration Sector

Three Trends Shaping the Commercial Refrigeration Sector

The commercial refrigeration sector is experiencing a period of innovation unlike any other in its history. Regulatory pressures, changing consumer habits and the growing demands for more efficient and sustainable technologies are transforming the market. Business owners and supermarket operators have a tremendous range of environmentally friendly, operationally efficient and — perhaps most importantly — regulatory-compliant solutions from which to choose.

But in order to do this, operators must navigate an ever-growing pool of refrigeration solutions, strategies and technologies. Keeping current on emerging technologies and consumer trends while anticipating future regulatory requirements are the keys to getting the best return on this long-term investment.

More choices

Without a doubt, the greatest challenge for original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and operators alike is transitioning to the future of refrigeration systems. New refrigeration equipment, components and technologies are coming online in response to global demands for lower-GWP (global warming potential) refrigerants. In addition, more flexible refrigeration architectures are being launched to satisfy the move toward smaller retail footprints.

As a result, operators are facing a proliferation of refrigeration scenarios, each posing its own set of advantages and drawbacks. Decisions must be weighed against a host of factors, such as environmental impact, total cost of ownership, long-term viability and the ability to adapt to evolving consumer behaviors and potential future regulations. Education is key here; contractors and manufacturers will need to step up and help retailers explore and identify the options that will best satisfy their needs.

More connected

Automation and internet of things (IoT) technologies will increasingly play roles in this sector. System electronics are helping to manage refrigeration cycles and system operations, while compressor protection and diagnostic capabilities are simplifying service and maintenance processes. These connected components will provide operators with unprecedented visibility into critical facility systems that extend beyond refrigeration to include air quality, lighting and energy management. Supported by user-friendly platforms that integrate these key systems, operators will be able to more efficiently manage and optimize facility and energy performance.

More complex

The shift to lower-GWP refrigerants and the growth of new technologies pose a unique set of challenges to contractors. Extensive training on the proper procedures for recovering and servicing new and natural refrigeration systems, such as CO2-based systems, will be imperative. Contractors will also need to increase their knowledge of the landscape so they can align their customers’ goals with the available equipment options. This may require higher upfront costs, but they will pay off in the long term as today’s innovations become the norm.

Ready for the future

At Emerson, we are at the forefront of environmentally friendly and financially viable refrigeration systems and supporting technologies. Moreover, we’ve taken a proactive approach to contractor education, providing a wealth of options to help technicians increase their skills and expand their knowledge base to better serve customers.

At every step, we strive to help operators make informed decisions to maximize their investments. After all, commercial refrigeration systems can — and should — be in service for decades. And with no end in sight to the dramatic changes that are shaping the industry, operators need solutions that can adapt to and grow with the next generation of technologies and system architectures. Our approach to total refrigeration system sustainability is designed to deliver solutions that satisfy operational and sustainability objectives today, while anticipating the needs of tomorrow.

 

[New E360 Webinar] Future Refrigeration Architectures for Meeting Refrigerant Regulations

AndrePatenaude_Blog_Image Andre Patenaude | Director, Food Retail Marketing & Growth Strategy, Cold Chain

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Supermarket refrigeration architectures are rapidly evolving in the face of food retail market pressures and a dynamic regulatory environment. In our next E60 Webinar, which will take place on Tuesday, May 5 at 2 p.m. EDT/11 a.m. PDT, we’ll examine the forces behind these changes and explore emerging architectures that utilize alternative refrigerants.

293-Webinar_1200x630

Throughout the food retail industry, supermarket owners and operators are making the transition to refrigerants with lower global warming potential (GWP). Whether you operate in a state that has a legal mandate or are seeking to meet corporate sustainability objectives, many owners, operators and contractors are exploring their current and future refrigeration options. But selecting an architecture goes well beyond sustainability considerations. Stakeholders also must evaluate a variety of economic and operational factors, including first investment, maintenance requirements and lifecycle costs.

The refrigerant transition also is shifting the way we think about system architectures. To reduce refrigerant leaks and system charges, equipment manufacturers are evaluating a variety of approaches that represent more flexible alternatives to traditional centralized direct expansion systems. In our next E360 Webinar, Future Refrigeration Architectures for Meeting Refrigerant Regulations, I will be joined by Diego Marafon, Emerson’s refrigeration scroll product manager, to discuss some of these emerging options. Join us as we explore the latest decentralized and distributed architectures that utilize low-GWP refrigerants.

Attendees will learn about:

  • How refrigerant regulations are impacting operators by state and region
  • The many factors influencing system selection, from facility size and first cost to serviceability and safety
  • Emerging decentralized and distributed architectures and their wide range of applications
  • How a modular approach to system design enables speed and flexibility

 

Register now for this timely and free webinar.

Supermarket refrigeration architectures are rapidly evolving in the face of food retail market pressures and a dynamic regulatory environment. In our next E60 Webinar, which will take place on Tuesday, May 5 at 2 p.m. EDT/11 a.m. PDT, we’ll examine the forces behind these changes and explore emerging architectures that utilize alternative refrigerants.

Throughout the food retail industry, supermarket owners and operators are making the transition to refrigerants with lower global warming potential (GWP). Whether you operate in a state that has a legal mandate or are seeking to meet corporate sustainability objectives, many owners, operators and contractors are exploring their current and future refrigeration options. But selecting an architecture goes well beyond sustainability considerations. Stakeholders also must evaluate a variety of economic and operational factors, including first investment, maintenance requirements and lifecycle costs.

The refrigerant transition also is shifting the way we think about system architectures. To reduce refrigerant leaks and system charges, equipment manufacturers are evaluating a variety of approaches that represent more flexible alternatives to traditional centralized direct expansion systems. In our next E360 Webinar, Future Refrigeration Architectures for Meeting Refrigerant Regulations, I will be joined by Diego Marafon, Emerson’s refrigeration scroll product manager, to discuss some of these emerging options. Join us as we explore the latest decentralized and distributed architectures that utilize low-GWP refrigerants.

Attendees will learn about:

  • How refrigerant regulations are impacting operators by state and region
  • The many factors influencing system selection, from facility size and first cost to serviceability and safety
  • Emerging decentralized and distributed architectures and their wide range of applications
  • How a modular approach to system design enables speed and flexibility

Register now for this timely and free webinar.

%d bloggers like this: