Dallas E360 Forum Served up Lively Refrigeration Dialogue
Emerson Climate Technologies recently held its fifth E360 Forum on September 3 in Dallas. The event was attended by more than 120 refrigeration industry constituents, ranging from supermarket, restaurant and convenience store end users to trade media representatives, refrigerant providers and original equipment manufacturers. Coming off the heels of the EPA’s final ruling on refrigerant delisting, it was no surprise that the far-reaching regulatory implications — including the DOE’s energy efficiency measures on walk-ins, reach-ins and ice machines — were main topics of conversations.
Emerson’s Vice President of System Refrigeration, Dr. Rajan Rajendran, kicked off the event with an insightful keynote address about the EPA’s final ruling on refrigerants. His talk quickly set the interactive tone for the event as he fielded numerous questions and invited the expert opinions of knowledgeable attendees such as a representative from the Chemours refrigerant company. It was clear from his address that attendees were there to not only learn but to ask questions and participate in important conversations that would take place throughout the course of the day.
Another keynote address by David Henkes of Technomic provided an equally important food industry forecast for those in attendance. Henkes discussed in detail how increasing consumer demand for local, fresh and sustainably sourced food offerings will continue to permeate the industry through 2020 and beyond. He demonstrated why supermarkets and restaurants will need to seek ways to showcase local ingredients while taking advantage of big data analytics to better identify emerging consumer trends. His keynote provided a much-needed context that helped set the stage for the smaller, interactive breakout sessions addressing the pressing issues in the food retail and foodservice industries.
Throughout these remaining sessions, several conversations were started that carried over to the session breaks and even continued at the networking reception that followed the event. Based on the frequency and intensity of these conversations, it was evident that there are many opinions and as many unanswered questions about how to best proceed in this dynamic regulatory environment. Providing a space in the commercial refrigeration industry for this dialogue to take place was the primary reason for creating our E360 platform and hosting these E360 Forums.
Now, with both EPA and DOE regulatory timelines sitting on the visible horizon, the dialogue is shifting from speculation to taking the first steps on the path forward in the next generation of commercial refrigeration equipment. As an industry, we’re still working to understand our options moving forward — and Forums like this are crucial to expediting that process. Regardless, end users in attendance stressed the importance of developing equipment that minimizes first costs with the potential for short-term return on investment, and achieving regulatory compliance in a single step.
Our next E360 Forum will take place on February 18 in Atlanta. If the last six months were any indication, the next several months will be full of developments that impact our industry. We sincerely hope you continue to participate in this dialogue in our Atlanta E360 Forum. In the meantime, you can interact with us on our social media channels (on Twitter @EmersonClimate; and our new and our new E360 LinkedIn group) to stay informed and join the conversation.