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Newark E360 Forum Highlighted Latest Trends, Concerns in the Industry

In August, Emerson Climate Technologies hosted a day-long E360 Forum at the Renaissance Newark Airport Hotel in Newark, N.J. Comprised of more than 100 commercial refrigeration industry stakeholders from several disciplines, it marked the tenth E360 event since the program’s inception in 2014. The event consisted of informative keynote presentations and expert-led breakout discussions on various topics of concern in food retail and foodservice segments.

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Jon Melchi, vice president of government affairs and business development at Heating Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI), helped provide context for the event by demonstrating the degree to which the active regulatory climate is shaping the industry. Melchi related that to date there have been 25 major rules targeted at the HVACR industry since the start of the Obama administration. And with 21 legislative days remaining in President Obama’s second term, Melchi expects as many as 11 more rules to be introduced.

Attendees were all ears when Melchi divulged that the financial impacts of the 25 rulings amounted to an estimated $76.6 billion in costs to the industry. He then discussed the latest information on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed changes to section 608 pertaining to refrigerant leak detection, as well as the EPA’s latest change of listing status proposals via its Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program.

The challenges these regulations present to the commercial refrigeration industry — from environmental sustainability and equipment selection to economic viability and energy consumption — was the impetus for Emerson’s E360 program. John Rhodes, president of Emerson Climate Technologies and Don Newlon, vice president and general manager of refrigeration marketing discussed how the program was designed to help the industry balance those four variables and prepare for the nine regulatory compliance requirements in the next five years.

Valerie Briggs, director of marketing and business development at North American Technician Excellence (NATE), discussed the importance of certification programs in helping the industry adapt to the rapid changes taking place. In response, NATE encourages ongoing testing and certification programs designed to guide technicians throughout their career development and gauge their proficiency level. To that end, Briggs said that her organization is in the process of restructuring its contractor certification into four levels, culminating in master certification/efficiency analyst.

Emerson Vice President of Engineering and Electronics Kurt Knapke laid out a road map for navigating the changing refrigerant landscape over the next several years. He outlined global efforts to phase down hydrofluorocarbon (HFCs) refrigerants via a number of recent proposals, including:

  • Anticipated 2016 amendments to the Montreal Protocol
  • European Union’s F-Gas initiative
  • Environmental Canada’s 2016 proposal
  • California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) 2016 proposal for a climate pollutant reduction strategy

One common thread among these proposals is the target of 150 global warming potential (GWP) for multiple refrigeration applications, creating an increased demand for refrigerants with GWPs less than 150. Knapke also presented a timeline for the EPA’s phase-out plans over the next several years, as well as Emerson’s perspective on likely alternatives.

Dean Landeche, vice president of marketing for Retail Solutions at Emerson, detailed the journey of food from farm to fork, and how consumer demand for fresh offerings is dictating precise cold chain monitoring and data collection throughout this process. Landeche demonstrated how this focus on fresh is permeating both large and small retail formats, and the importance of deploying site supervisory controls is critical to meeting this consumer expectation.

To view E360 Forum sessions from Newark or other previous events, please visit our YouTube channel.

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