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[Webinar Recap] Technological Solutions to Help Modern Refrigeration Challenges

benpicker Ben Picker | Copeland Units Project Manager

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

View our most recent E360 Webinar, “Using Technology to Help Meet Modern Refrigeration Challenges.”

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Today’s commercial refrigeration industry is facing a confluence of challenges. Chief among these are a surplus of regulations, a shortage of qualified technicians, and a consumer base demanding fresh, premium quality foods. And while supermarket, restaurant, mixed retail and convenience store operators try to sort out these complexities, they’re also tasked with driving profitability.

Fortunately, commercial refrigeration manufacturers have stepped up their efforts in recent years to develop technologies to help store operators achieve their compliance, sustainability and profitability goals. In our recent E360 Webinar, I discussed the current shape of the regulatory landscape and how operators can leverage these technologies to address a wide range of challenges.

At the heart of the solution is the emergence of component, system and supervisory electronic controls to provide continual monitoring, automated reporting and diagnostics. Combined with the inherent efficiencies of scroll compression technology, these electronics help operators respond to the federal and state regulations that are mandating significant environmental and energy-efficiency improvements.

I explained how these electronics-enabled refrigeration systems and components can be leveraged to help maximize efficiencies through techniques such as capacity modulation and low-condensing operation. The specific ways technology can be used to protect the environment, reduce energy usage and ensure food safety include:

  • Detecting refrigerant leaks and reducing overall system refrigerant charge
  • Performing on-demand controls such as anti-sweat and defrost
  • Monitoring temperature and humidity conditions from farm to fork

The good news for operators is that by adopting refrigeration strategies that utilize these technologies, they can address many of their compliance challenges simultaneously, while protecting profitability. For example, built-in diagnostic capabilities help technicians quickly troubleshoot and resolve system issues before they could lead to food losses. The benefits are not only reduced food shrink and maintenance costs, but much-needed assistance to mitigate technician shortage concerns.

To learn more about technological solutions to help modern refrigeration challenges, view this webinar in its entirety.


How Regulations Are Driving Refrigerant Changes in Commercial HVAC

David Hules_Blog David Hules | Director of Commercial Marketing, Air Conditioning

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions


This blog summarizes an article from our most recent E360 Outlook, entitled Regulations Bringing Refrigerant Changes to Commercial HVAC Market.” Click here to read it in its entirety.


Among the well-known factors driving change in the commercial HVAC market — including advances in building automation and connectivity, and increasing focuses on comfort and air quality — refrigerant regulations have yet to make a major impact. But that will likely change soon, as U.S. regulations will be driving a change in which types of refrigerants can be used in commercial HVAC equipment, specifically chillers.

As a key supplier to equipment manufacturers, Emerson is helping the industry prepare to make this transition. Like the approach taken with commercial refrigeration, we are currently working backward from the implementation dates to adequately design, test and supply the components needed to work with potential new refrigerants.

Part of that preparation also involves helping our customers stay informed and educated about how the coming changes will impact their operations and infrastructure.

Under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program, current popular refrigerants R-410A, R-407C, R-134A and others will be delisted in chiller applications effective January 1, 2024. This is prompting the evaluation of low global warming potential (GWP) replacement refrigerants for use in commercial chiller applications.

In this ongoing industry effort to identify low-GWP replacements for R-410A and other refrigerants, four main criteria are being considered. When combined with technology, a viable alternate refrigerant must:

  • Have proven safety properties and conform to building codes and safety standards
  • Be environmentally friendly, with zero ozone depletion and low GWP
  • Offer long-term availability at a reasonable capital cost
  • Provide performance equal to or better than current refrigerants to keep energy consumption low

Currently, there are only a few low-GWP, high-performance refrigerants listed as acceptable by the EPA. While natural refrigerants such as ammonia, propane and CO2 are among these, they are rarely used in chiller applications, primarily because of toxicity, flammability and efficiency concerns. As a result, the most viable, low-GWP replacements approved by the EPA fall into the A2L safety classification.

A2Ls, which are also mildly flammable, present their own set of challenges that the industry is working to solve or minimize. Efforts are currently underway to update A2L safety standards (e.g., UL standards) that will also necessitate an update to building codes. To be included in the next building code cycle, these updates ideally need to be finalized and approved by the beginning of 2018. Any delay in approval likely delays the timeline by which A2L-compatible new equipment becomes available in the market.

At this stage, staying informed is the best way for end users to prepare for the coming refrigerant transition in commercial chiller applications. Depending on refrigerant options and building code updates, HVAC equipment will be changing.

Designing HVACR Systems for Foodservice, Supermarkets and Cold Storage

Mike Saunders Mike Saunders | Senior Lead Innovation Technologist

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Many questions about the future of the industry were raised during an insightful panel discussion at our latest E360 event, which was held in Chicago on October 5. Highlights of the Q&A session follow. For more, watch the complete panel video.

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Panel participants:

  • Randy Mielke, president, Mielke Consulting
  • Tim Prater, president, Prater Engineering Associates
  • Charlie Souhrada, vice president, regulatory & technical affairs, North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers
  • Tony Welter, vice president/director of refrigeration, Henderson Engineers

How are regulations influencing system designs?

We need to have a balance among the “four Es”: energy, environment, equipment and economics. Manufacturers are looking for as many answers as possible. Each major retail chain seems to be taking a different approach, from trying everything to doing nothing.

What role are natural refrigerants likely to play?

We don’t anticipate a significant change in the air conditioners we’re specifying for commercial and industrial buildings in the next five years. However, it’ll be another story in 10 to 15 years.

The choices are tougher for foodservice and food retail equipment manufacturers because self-contained units are so important. Many are gravitating toward propane, which is creating new safety and security concerns at production facilities. Public perceptions about safety are another challenge.

CO2 and cascade systems are becoming more widely accepted in cold storage and commercial applications, where they’re now more frequently deployed. OSHA requirements are making many end users eager to keep ammonia charges low.

How are end user preferences impacting system designs?

Two key factors are the life expectancy of a building and who owns it. University and hospital buildings are expected to last 50 years or more. Their maintenance staffs can handle larger, more efficient systems like water-cooled centrifugal chillers. Large developers may want similar lifespans, but prefer less costly systems if they only plan to own a property for 10 years or so.

Cost always matters. Most owners just want to meet energy codes without breaking the bank. Another consideration is whether owners or tenants pay the energy bill. If it’s the owner, they’ll be more interested in efficiency.

Sustainability is important for owners who want LEED certification (about 20 percent). Cold storage is pushing toward central systems with as little ammonia as possible. They’re looking at their impacts on the environment, their surroundings, and even their building insurance.

Easily maintained systems encourage repeat business, but must be balanced against regional technician expertise.

How is the increased use of electronics changing the experiences of end users and contractors?

Many operators just want equipment to work. They don’t want a lot of technology or electronics. That said, intelligent systems help combat the technician shortage. Remote access from smartphones or laptops reduces maintenance staff needs, allowing facilities to rely more on contractors. Younger techs particularly want the technology to be more developed. They often ask, “Why isn’t there an app for this?”

For retailers it comes down to cost analysis. They want the latest technology, but only if it’s affordable and robust.

New E360 Webinar | What’s on the regulatory horizon in 2018?

JohnWallace_Blog_Image John Wallace | Director of Innovation, Retail Solutions

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Join us for our next E360 Webinar, “Regulations 2018: What’s Set, Pending and Proposed” on Tuesday, January 16 at 2 p.m. EST / 11 a.m. PST.

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If you’ve followed the regulatory activities impacting our industry over the past several years, you know that staying informed is half the battle. From new regulations introduced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) to the implementation of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the global cold chain has its share of regulatory hurdles to overcome.

Since 2014, Emerson has helped the industry not only make sense of these regulations, but also assisted our customers in making the transition to new refrigeration strategies that address our shared regulatory compliance challenges:

  • EPA phase-down of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants with high global warming potential (GWP)
  • DOE mandate of new energy-efficiency standards
  • FSMA food safety reforms

This effort is ongoing, and in many ways, we’re in the early phases of this transition. As we move into 2018, there are 10 significant regulatory targets on the horizon that will impact refrigerants and energy standards over the next four years.

Our next E360 Webinar will bring together a panel of experts to discuss the potential short- and long-term implications of these regulations and present key trends that are shaping our industry:

  • Rajan Rajendran, vice president — system innovation center and sustainability, will report on recent regulatory developments in refrigerant and energy standards.
  • Amy Childress, vice president — marketing & planning, cargo solutions, will discuss how automated temperature monitoring helps the perishable food industry comply with new FSMA rules.
  • I will explain how innovations in IOT, building management and control systems create smart buildings that contribute to the smart grid.

To make sure you’re prepared for the new year and the regulatory challenges to come, join us on Tuesday, January 16 at 2 p.m. EST / 11 a.m. PST for this informative webinar.


New Copeland Scroll™ Compressors Help Address Foodservice OEM Challenges

anijayanth Ani Jayanth | Director, Product Marketing

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

This blog summarizes an article from our most recent E360 Outlook, entitled Less Is More.” Click here to read it in its entirety.

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Foodservice refrigeration equipment manufacturers will have a complex regulatory landscape to navigate in the coming years. In 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be phasing out the use of R-404A in new remote condensing units for walk-in coolers and freezers (WICF). Then, the Department of Energy (DOE) has proposed the enforcement of its new WICF efficiency mandate in 2020, as measured by the annual walk-in efficiency (AWEF) standard. The challenge for foodservice OEMs is to design new condensing units and stand-alone equipment that comply with both requirements.

Emerson’s new ¾ to 1½ horsepower (HP) offerings extend the existing Copeland Scroll ZF*KA and ZB*KA compressor lines, allowing OEMs to combine compliance into a single design cycle for smaller low- and medium-temperature applications.

With the EPA’s proposed phase-down of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants with higher global warming potential (GWP), new refrigeration platforms must be designed to accommodate the performance characteristics of lower-GWP alternatives. Accordingly, our new fractional HP Copeland Scroll compressors are rated for use with new alternatives R-448A/449-A as well as existing lower-GWP HFCs such as R-407A.

Liquid-injected for low-temperature efficiencies

Walk-in freezers that rely on outdoor condensing units will require compressors that can mitigate the higher discharge temperatures produced when using new refrigerant alternatives in low-temperature applications. The Copeland Scroll ZF*KA fractional HP models utilize liquid-injection technology to cool discharge temperatures and reduce compressor stress. Compared to hermetic reciprocating compressors that will require additional modifications and heat-reduction strategies, Copeland Scroll technology is well-suited for these low-temperature scenarios.

Copeland Scroll ZF*KA fractional HP compressors are the basis of Emerson’s X-Line outdoor condensing unit, enabling it to simultaneously meet both DOE (AWEF efficiency) and EPA (lower-GWP refrigerant) requirements in low temperatures.

Wide applicability in medium temperatures

For medium-temperature, walk-in coolers, the new fractional HP ZB*KA compressors deliver enhanced AWEF efficiencies in WICF condensing units. It’s important to note that incumbent hermetic reciprocating compressors cannot achieve the same efficiencies without modifications to other system components (e.g., coils, cooling fans, etc.). Patented Copeland Scroll technology enables significant efficiency improvements in medium-temperature WICF applications without investments in additional components or incurring engineering, design and development (ED&D) costs.

The new ZB*KA compressors represent an extension of the medium-temperature line of compressors to better serve today’s wide range of walk-in cooler requirements. OEMs can now integrate reliable Copeland Scroll technology into their complete lineup of walk-in refrigeration equipment, while achieving compliance with environmental and energy-efficiency regulations.

By addressing both EPA and DOE compliance requirements, fractional HP Copeland Scroll compressors help simplify the design cycles for foodservice refrigeration OEMs.

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