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Posts from the ‘Energy’ 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.

E360 Webinar Will Discuss What’s Next on the Regulatory Horizon

In recent years, the shifting regulatory landscape has sent shock waves through the small- and large-format retail markets. Understanding what’s coming next may mean the difference between thriving and merely surviving in this dynamic environment. In our next E360 Webinar we’re bringing together three leading authorities on refrigerants, energy and food safety to give their unique perspectives on what they expect to see on the regulatory horizon.


The next E360 Webinar, entitled What’s Next in Refrigerants, Energy Management and Food Safety Regulation?, will take place live from The Helix Innovation Center on Tuesday, May 10 at 10:30 a.m., EDT. Each expert panelist will lead a discussion about the continuing regulations and how they are likely to impact our collective futures. Here’s a summary of what you’ll learn:

  • Refrigerant Regulations Update. Rajan Rajendran, vice president of system innovation center and sustainability, will provide the latest update on the ever-changing regulatory landscape related to the EPA’s final rule on refrigerant delisting and the DOE’s energy reduction mandates. You’ll learn about a new class of alternative synthetic refrigerants that promise lower global warming potential, as well as the re-emergence of natural options such as propane and CO2.
  • Energy Management. What goes up must come down. And when it comes to energy, the inverse is also true. While energy costs may be at the lower end of the spectrum today, they’re not likely to stay there for long. Michael Britt, vice president of energy innovation center at Southern Company, will discuss regulatory developments aimed at energy conservation and their impact on retailers.
  • Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Impacts. Marc Sanchez represents FDA-regulated companies in the food, dietary supplement, beverage, cosmetic, medical device and drug industries. A published author and leading voice in understanding FSMA, Marc will share his unique insights and explain how FSMA is the most comprehensive update to food safety regulations in decades. You’ll learn about its far-reaching impacts to retailers and their supply chain partners.

This informative session will be followed by a 15-minute question and answer session where Helix attendees and remote participants can submit questions. Don’t miss this opportunity to get your questions answered and learn directly from the experts about how this dynamic regulatory landscape may impact your business. Register now to join us Tuesday, May 10 at 10:30 a.m., EDT.

MAKING SENSE of Embedded Electronics in HVACR Equipment

While the prevalence of electronics continues to expand into nearly every aspect of our lives, the refrigeration and air conditioning industries have been slow to embed electronics in HVACR equipment. Unfortunately, the primary reasons for this reluctance can be attributed to a lack of awareness and education about the promise of electronically enabled systems.

For many OEMs, there is a fair amount of confusion surrounding the operation, maintenance and repair-ability of systems with embedded electronics. And among the consumer base, there’s a general misunderstanding about the value that electronics bring versus their perceived risks and costs.

Our next MAKING SENSE webinar will address these apprehensions and make a compelling case for electronic connectivity and system communications in HVACR equipment. Join us via webinar or in the booth at the 2015 AHR Expo on January 26 in Chicago, as we explore the potential of electronics and facilitate a panel discussion from Emerson’s lecture area in their booth, #5010, from 2–3 p.m. CST.


In this complimentary webinar, we’ll explore the many advantages of embedded electronics, including:

  • Accurately diagnoses system problems the first time
  • Limits misdiagnosis and call-backs
  • Establishes improved maintenance contracts through better communications
  • Increases productivity through prognostics that identify potential failure points
  • Improves OEM installation verification and subsequent warranty issues

In an industry faced with disruptive equipment failures, a declining number of qualified technicians and increased service costs, we think it’s time to re-evaluate the many benefits of embedded electronics. With their tremendous untapped potential, electronics hold the promise of ushering in a new era of reliability in HVACR equipment.

The webinar will be led by Mike Murphy of The NEWS and include a list of distinguished panelists from a cross-section of our industry, including: John Wallace of Emerson Climate Technologies, Randall Amerine from AT&T, Paul Stalknecht of ACCA and George Hernandez from the U.S. Department of Energy.

We hope you’ll join us via webinar or in the booth on January 26 from 2–3 p.m. CST from the AHR Expo show as we are making sense of embedded electronics.

Learn more and register by visiting our website at:

Is Your Convenience Store Missing Out on Savings Opportunities?

Small format retail facilities face different operational challenges than supermarkets or other large format retailers. Applying a control system can help turn the challenges or problems these facility managers face into opportunities to reduce costs and enhance operations.

Is Your Convenience Store Missing Out on Savings Opportunities?

Most convenience stores do not have system controls. In a typical convenience store, the HVAC systems, refrigerated cases and lighting are managed separately and are not connected. The refrigeration system is often stand-alone and while thermostats are used, they may not be programmed to the correct settings. Manual processes may be in place to manage lighting controls.

For convenience store facility managers, your key problems likely include:

  • Limited visibility into store operations: If you are responsible for multiple stores, you may not have the oversight to know what is happening in all of your locations at any given time.
  • Difficulty of enforcing store policies: You may have established business policies around lighting and thermostat settings, but how do you know that they are being enforced by the store manager and followed by personnel in a single store?
  • Poor maintenance: Many facilities use a “run to fail” maintenance strategy, meaning that the equipment generally will fail without warning, leading to emergency repairs or replacements on short notice.
  • Energy leakage: If a mechanical problem or personnel issue causes a store to stray from the policies put in place – for example, settings on a thermostat are changed or canopy lights are left on throughout the day – this can lead to energy usage that is higher than necessary.

If an average 5,000 square foot convenience store spends $62,000 annually on operational costs, they may spend 44.5 percent of the budget on energy and 17.5 percent on maintenance. If this was your store, how much could you save by addressing the problems above? A control system can provide a convenience store typically between five and 20 percent savings, depending on the current facility management in place.

A control system consists of three layers and understanding the system architecture is beneficial to realizing the ways it can improve efficiency, reduce costs and enhance operations. The three layers include:

  • Control: The control layer includes the electronic elements within your case that have control algorithms to affect the HVAC systems, refrigeration systems and lighting. The controls include the inputs and outputs, the sensors and transducers, and the equipment interface.
  • Supervisory: The supervisory layer provides visibility. This layer offers user management, user interface, access to monitor the system remotely, alarm management and data logging.
  • Enterprise: The enterprise layer is the connection from the sites to the cloud, where the data collected from the systems in your stores can be stored, compared and analyzed.

Many people think having controls and stopping at the first layer is enough, but that’s not the case. It’s important to apply the entire system to manage, monitor and optimize your small format facility.

Interested in learning more about control systems for convenience stores? Look for future blog posts on this topic here over the next several weeks. And, if you have specific questions, please email me at

John Wallace
Director of Innovation, Retail Solutions
Emerson Climate Technologies

How to Prepare For New Regional Efficiency Standards

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 provided for the next round of government regulated standard efficiencies allowed for air conditioners sold in the United States. These new standards will go into effect on January 1, 2015. What is unique about these new efficiency standards is that they have allowed for different standards for various parts of the country rather than having just one national standard. Similar to the standard efficiency increases experienced in 2006 when the minimum went from 10 SEER to 13 SEER, this regulation will apply to all equipment, whether it is being installed in an existing structure as a system replacement or in a new structure.

Here is a summary of what you need to know about the new regulations:

Northern States – Minimum 13 SEER air conditioning remains the standard, but heat pumps go to 14 SEER and 8.2 HSPF.

Southern (Southeastern) States – Minimum efficiency goes to 14 SEER for both air conditioning and heat pumps and 8.2 HSPF for heat pumps. The 8.2 HSPF/14 SEER heat pump rating will become a national standard.

Southwestern States – Minimum efficiency also goes to 14 SEER for air conditioning, but there is a new standard for EER that will call for 12.2 EER for systems less than 45,000 BTUH and 11.7 EER for systems over 45,000 BTUH. Heat pumps require national standard of 14 SEER and 8.2 HSPF.

What can you do?

Here are few things you can do to prepare for these new standards:

  • Stay in touch with us via this site or our other contractor support sites as we get closer to the implementation date.
  • Watch for OEM’s to change their product offerings to be ready for these new standards. Emerson is working directly with all the major OEM’s to help them be ready, but each one may have a slightly different approach to meet the needs of three different regions.
  • Train your employees on the latest in new equipment which will feature electronic controls, variable speed blower motors and more. You can stay current through Emerson training or through your OEM’s training.

For more information go to

Chandra Gollapudi
Efficiency and Regulation, Air Conditioning
Emerson Climate Technologies

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