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Concerned About Meeting the DOE’s AWEF Rating by 2017? We’ll Help You Make Sense of It

In our tenth installment of the Making Sense webinar series, we explored the implications of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) final ruling on the regulation of energy consumption in walk-in coolers and freezers (WICF). Ani Jayanth, foodservice marketing manager of the refrigeration division, provided an overview of the Annual Walk-In Energy Factor (AWEF) ratings for refrigeration systems and gave an update on the EPA’s recent significant new alternative (SNAP) refrigerant delisting proposal. Brian Buynacek, refrigeration engineer, discussed how the DOE calculates AWEF and which component upgrades and techniques could be used to bring systems into compliance by the June 2017 deadline.

This information-packed event helped clear the confusion that professionals in the supermarket and foodservice industries may have had about the regulatory intersection of the DOE and SNAP rulings. In addition, the webinar evaluated available design options and provided examples on how to retrofit systems to achieve compliance.

Brian and Ani took a condensing unit point of view on meeting AWEF ratings that included all controls and other components integral to the refrigerated systems’ operation, not the envelope itself (i.e., doors and panels). Some of the many WICF design options that the DOE recommends include:

  • Floating head pressure
  • Modulating evaporating fans
  • Improved evaporator and condenser fan blades
  • Improved coils
  • Variable speed compressors

The webinar looked at commonly used WICFs and demonstrated how these systems could be brought into compliance through specific measures, such as:

  • Reducing power consumption
  • Replacing compressor and ECM fan motor
  • Upgrading condenser coil

In particular, for those who are not floating the head pressure in their refrigeration systems, this technique represents a viable, cost-effective method for improving energy efficiencies. Of course this must be done with full awareness of the operating envelope of the compressor used. Similarly, changing to a low GWP refrigerant alternative will require design changes and other system adjustments.

If you were unable to attend the webinar, it is available on demand in the archives section of our website. Stay tuned for further updates on the DOE’s final ruling and SNAP as we Make Sense of the issues that matter most in commercial refrigeration.

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