Earth Day Decarbonization: Three Ways We’re Helping Customers to Reduce Carbon Footprints
Greg Polce | Vice President of Marketing – Cold Chain
Emerson’s Commercial & Residential Solutions Business
April 22 marks the 52nd anniversary of Earth Day — a day when the world pauses to reflect on the shared responsibilities of preserving our natural environment and reversing the negative impacts of climate change. This year, the Earth Day organization is calling for global governments, businesses and citizens to form partnerships and accelerate solutions focused on building more sustainable and prosperous futures. At Emerson, we’re committed to doing our part by helping our customers to achieve their short- and long-term decarbonization goals.
According to current estimates, 51 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) are released annually into the Earth’s atmosphere. As the demand for energy is estimated to double over the next 30 years, climate experts are prioritizing efforts to help reduce global carbon emissions to a net-zero footprint by 2050. Hitting these decarbonization targets will require a holistic re-evaluation of everything that contributes to harmful GHG emissions.
Emerson’s commercial and residential solutions play key roles in this monumental effort. Consider that 19 percent of total carbon emissions can be attributed to feeding the world, yet roughly one-third of the global food supply is wasted. Generating, delivering and consuming electricity (by plugging things in and turning them on) accounts for 27 percent of total GHG emissions.
Three paths to net-zero
When we look at our cold chain business, we’re embarking on numerous strategies to help our customers affect positive change and provide much-needed GHG reductions. It’s important to think of these strategies as interrelated efforts that work together toward winning the race to net zero.
- Reducing food waste (in storage and on the move)
Reducing food waste is a core value of our cold chain business, and we help our customers to achieve this through a combination of compression technologies, tracking/monitoring devices and software, and control devices. Energy-efficient Copeland™ compressors set the industry standard in reliability and are preferred in commercial refrigeration, transport and marine applications. They serve as the cooling foundation for supermarkets, restaurants and shipping companies seeking to preserve food quality and safety and extend perishable shelf lives.
We’re also helping our customers to achieve “farm to fork” visibility to their perishable cold chains. Our GO real-time tracking and logging devices, combined with Oversight software, allow stakeholders to monitor the temperatures and locations of in-transit perishable shipments in real-time. In addition, our customers can leverage a variety of control devices to monitor coolers, freezers and cold storage facilities. The data we’re gathering from each step is delivering the deep insights our customers need to continually refine and improve their cold chain management capabilities. Once food waste reaches landfills, our Vilter™ compressors are helping operators to convert methane gas to energy.
- Lowering carbon emissions (from equipment and systems)
Refrigeration is among the most important technological advancements contributing to human health and well-being. Because the compressors and components that power commercial refrigeration systems consume significant amounts of electricity, Emerson has always prioritized efforts to improve equipment efficiency and reliability. From energy-efficient compression technologies with variable-capacity modulation to dedicated smart controls for low-GWP refrigerant systems, we’re innovating the tools our customers need to minimize indirect GHG emissions (from systems being powered up).
Of course, direct emissions from refrigerant leaks are also a critically important sustainability consideration. Emerson has helped lead the industry’s transition to lower-global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant technologies, supporting the global phasedown of high-GWP hydrofluorocarbon (HFC)-based systems. By embracing the next generation of low-GWP natural and synthetic refrigerants — and supporting advanced leak detection programs —we’re providing the guidance our customers need to help align refrigerant decisions with their sustainability objectives.
By combining low-GWP refrigerants with energy-efficient refrigerant technologies, we’re helping our customers to reduce both their direct and indirect emissions, which lowers the total equivalent warming impact (TEWI) of their refrigeration footprints.
- Enabling grid interactivity (leveraging our install base to reduce consumption)
We anticipate that the trend toward electrification will impact the ways in which we live and conduct business over the coming decades. At Emerson, we see this as a tremendous opportunity to move the needle toward net-zero by empowering our commercial refrigeration customers with grid-interactive facilities. As demand increases over the next 30 years, the infrastructure supporting our shared grid will need to be upgraded to integrate more renewable, alternative and distributed sources of energy. Although this strategy is essential to achieving net-zero by 2050, experts expect intermittent supply challenges, especially during peak consumption periods.
Today, our customers represent approximately 30,000 MW of electrical load. With grid-interactive building management controls — such as our new Lumity™ E3 supervisory control system — we’re helping them to manage their electrical footprints in coordination with utilities to offset grid demand constraints and reduce energy consumption. This will allow companies to leverage their facilities’ refrigeration, HVAC and lighting systems as distributed energy resources (DERs) — a connected technology that responds to grid signals and/or requirements to generate or conserve energy.
Not only is this strategy good for decarbonization, but we see it as an opportunity to grow our customers’ bottom lines. By connecting to the grid and reducing consumption upon request — or temporarily flexing their loads to other sources — companies can monetize their DER contributions. And while this may seem like the next frontier of energy management, many of our customers are already receiving incentives from utilities for making energy-efficient equipment choices or acting as a DER.
At Emerson, we know that the transition to net-zero will not be easy and can present new challenges to our customers and served industries. But we’re committed to achieving Earth Day goals every day of the year and look forward to helping our customers make the shift to more sustainable refrigeration and flexible energy management strategies. We’ll continue to explore ways to reduce energy consumption, lower GHG emissions, and enable grid interactivity — without impacting critical refrigeration, heating or lighting requirements.
To learn more about our commitment to net-zero and environmental sustainability, please visit our website.