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Posts from the ‘Energy Efficiency’ Category

Six Steps to a Successful Refrigeration Retrofit

AndrePatenaude_Blog_Image Andre Patenaude | Director, Food Retail Marketing & Growth Strategy, Cold Chain

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

This blog summarizes an article from ACHR NEWS, entitled “Refrigeration Retrofits Offer ‘Cool’ Savings for Supermarkets.” Click here to read the article in its entirety.

The commercial refrigeration system is the biggest energy user in supermarkets, accounting for about 40 to 60 percent of electricity consumption, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). For food retailers, getting energy consumption under control is a top priority, and the refrigeration industry has stepped in with new, higher-efficiency equipment and technologies, such as advanced monitoring and control via the internet of things (IoT). However, for many retailers, virtually all their equipment is aging, and buying new equipment and systems across the board would be prohibitively expensive. But there is another path to saving a considerable amount of energy: targeted retrofits or upgrades to their existing systems.

Some energy-saving modifications can be simple and obvious, such as adding doors to cases. But at a recent Emerson E360 Forum, I explained how a systematic approach to retrofits and upgrades can identify savings throughout a store’s entire refrigeration infrastructure, particularly older, energy-demanding direct expansion (DX) centralized systems. It is a six-step process that reveals the primary causes of energy loss and, step by step, proposes energy-saving retrofits and upgrades to your system that can systematically reduce energy costs without breaking the bank.

  1. Conduct a baseline energy audit throughout the store by installing energy-monitoring equipment. These sensors help you analyze the existing energy signature of the entire store before you make any adjustments or retrofits, and will also be invaluable for future temperature monitoring and control to ensure food safety and quality.
  2. Recommission your existing equipment to factory specifications. This may include adjusting setpoints, superheat, suction pressure and other settings. In the process, any broken components can be repaired. This one step alone can result in energy savings of 18 percent or more.
  3. Upgrade your refrigeration technologies. One effective upgrade is changing discus compressors to digital compressors. This single retrofit can reduce compressor cycling, increase system reliability, and improve energy efficiency by 16 percent or more. Installing variable-frequency drives on condenser fan motors can save even more.
  4. Upgrade your HVAC system. Ambient store temperatures are major stressors on refrigeration systems. Consider upgrading rooftop units and adding demand-controlled ventilation and humidity controls. Integrating the rooftop units with the refrigeration system in the store is another option, creating a self-contained ecosystem that balances ambient and refrigeration temperatures for significant energy savings.
  5. Upgrade lighting and other renewables. Adding modern lighting technology lowers temperatures. Installing doors onto units lowers energy losses. Electronic case controls and expansion valves (EEVs) fine-tune equipment temperatures, while upgrading to electronically commutated (EC) motors lowers electricity consumption while improving equipment efficiency.
  6. Perform condition-based maintenance. Once you’ve migrated to these capital upgrades, it’s important to step up your regular maintenance intervals to continue your gains in efficiency and cost savings.

With these targeted retrofits and upgrades, you can systematically make your centralized DX system more effective in maintaining food quality and safety while simultaneously uncovering efficiencies that can result in significant savings.

Three Trends Impacting Cold Cases

I was recently featured in a Grocery Headquarters article on the latest regulations and technology upgrades for the refrigeration equipment industry. Below are some highlights of the impact on cold cases.


It’s no secret that competition is fierce and margins can be slim in food retailing. With that in mind, retailers are particularly concerned with getting their utility budgets under control. Add in the fact that most retailers are devoting more space to produce, deli and prepared foods, the successful industry supplier is going to be one the that helps their customers find solutions to these issues. This is particularly important when considering cold cases.

Here are three trends we see impacting cold cases today:

  1. Food safety: Food quality and safety continue to be top concerns driving food temperature monitoring both at the case and remotely. With connected systems, IT security issues become a major concern for retailers. This has led to the development of cell-based communications to cold cases. And with the Food Safety Modernization Act, retailers not only need to manage fresh foods through the cold chain, but also must be able to authenticate their food quality story.
  2. Complex facilities: There is a convergence of food retail concepts that is driven by consumer demand for convenience and fresh foods. Consumers expect retailers to fit more into one location. Flexible infrastructures are needed to adapt to changing store concepts, and as stores become more complex, scalability is key.
  3. Workforce issues: There is an increasing difficulty in maintaining a skilled technical workforce. As experienced case technicians retire, there is a lack of young professionals entering the trade. Third party monitoring services that can remotely triage, diagnose and resolve equipment issues are key in allowing grocery associates to focus on customer engagement.

Newer, more energy efficient systems are not only going to keep retailers in compliance with upcoming regulations, but will also provide retailers greater ROI in the long-term, even though the short-term cost may be higher. This initial investment in equipment can be justified because customers will pay more money for better, fresher products, which retailers can provide with more reliable, sustainable equipment.

You can read the full Grocery Headquarters article online here.

For more than 20 years, Emerson Retail Solutions has been helping businesses like yours safeguard food, reduce energy consumption, protect the environment and optimize business results. To learn more about our technology solutions and services for retailers, visit our website.

John Wallace
Director of Innovation
Retail Solutions
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Emerging Trends in Data and Reporting for Retailers [Video]

Smart appliances, systems and buildings deliver vast amounts of data, but often, it is difficult to extract the most useful information. In a recent E360 Conference presentation, I shared insights around emerging trends in data and reporting for food retailers to improve operational efficiencies.

You can watch the video and read the highlights below.

Food retailers collect data from varying sources including building management systems, energy management applications, maintenance management systems and other sources. All of these systems have traditionally had their own reporting, making it challenging for users to access, aggregate and utilize this data for actionable insights.

One way to make sense of all of this data is to distill it appropriately based on job function. Report and user-interface needs are based on the user’s role in the organization (store manager, technician, facility manager), the user’s particular informational needs (facility maintenance, energy manager, executive summary) and whether or not they need real-time data or trending and analysis data.

There are several factors that allow retailers to gain operational intelligence:

  • Immediacy. Having easy access to real-time information and the insightful analytics behind that data without the need to go out and search for it.
  • Role-based UI. After logging in, the system recognizes what type of information each user is looking for and provides that automatically.
  • Advanced analytics. Condition-based maintenance and refrigerant leak detection are aggregated with the core facility systems data to provide better insights into operations.
  • Energy. Evaluate energy data and relate it with other relevant data, such as maintenance records and alarms, to understand how energy usage is impacted by other factors.
  • Dashboards. Aggregate all of the data from multiple sources and display the insights to the user in the most useful way for each individual.

Understanding how to make sense of all of the vast amounts of facility data available to retailers can result in increased customer satisfaction and employee engagement, as well as operational improvements.

For more than 20 years, Emerson Retail Solutions has been helping businesses like yours safeguard food, reduce energy consumption, protect the environment and optimize business results. To learn more about our technology solutions and services for retailers, visit our website.

Scott Fritz
Director of Enterprise Services
Retail Solutions
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Getting Comfortable with Designer Air

Four Things You Need to Know About Modulation Technologies

Getting Comfortable with Designer Air, a brand new webinar series on how modulation technologies are enabling enhanced comfort and improved efficiency in homes and businesses around the U.S.  This webinar series is designed specifically for air conditioning contractors and facility managers to become more informed on the latest information about compressor modulation and the role it plays in enabling ‘Designer Air’.

Designer Air

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Why You Can’t Always Get What You Want Out Of a New AC System

Why, in survey after survey, do consumers indicate they would pay a little extra for better comfort or energy savings but still continue to purchase the basic, minimum efficiency and lightly featured systems? This past year, AC & Heating Connect worked with Triple Pundit (a new-media company for highly conscious business leaders focused on the triple bottom line – people, planet and profit) to survey their readers on issues related to purchasing patterns of HVAC consumers. Industry data indicates that 70% of consumers consistently purchase minimum efficiency and minimum featured HVAC systems and only 30% buy the higher featured and more efficient models. This is all true despite our company’s sponsored research, which indicates that almost 70% of homeowners surveyed prefer systems that offer superior energy savings and comfort or created less impact on the environment.

Why You Can’t Always Get What You Want Out Of a New AC System
According to a 2013 survey of more than 500 Triple Pundit readers, we found some indications about what might be going on with HVAC consumer buying behavior. First, we asked if consumers would pay 20-30 percent more for a system that provided certain benefits.

  • 85% would pay for better efficiency and reduced energy consumption
  • 68% would pay for a lower overall impact on the environment
  • 67% would pay for greater monthly energy savings
  • 56% would pay for better overall comfort and indoor air quality
  • 6% would just buy the lowest cost system no matter what

When asked to rank various HVAC features in order of importance, the respondents indicated the following priorities, in order:

  1. Improved energy efficiency for reduced operating costs
  2. Reliability
  3. Reduction in monthly operating costs
  4. Lowest environmental impact
  5. Improvements in comfort or air quality
  6. Low sound or operating noise
  7. Lowest initial cost to purchase

Again, in line with prior survey findings, the lowest initial consumer cost is ranked lowest by the respondents.

Next, we asked why they thought more people don’t choose to buy higher efficiency systems.

  • 66% just don’t want to be uncomfortable (a pretty low threshold)
  • 54% are too busy to do the research
  • 45% think the terms and technology are too confusing
  • 23% have no interest in efficiency or comfort – just want cold air when it is hot

Although the results are not conclusive, we believe these responses give some indication of what’s going on. Confusion about what features are available in new systems and having the time and energy to research all the tradeoffs before making an HVAC investment decision are common problems for both consumers and contractors trying to satisfy their needs.

For more information go to

Frank Landwehr
VP of Marketing and Planning, Air Conditioning
Emerson Climate Technologies

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