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Posts from the ‘Energy’ Category

Comparing Apples to Apples: Understanding Government Ratings

Air conditioners, furnaces and heat pumps all have different regulations and different rating criteria. It is important to keep these ratings in mind when you are comparing various systems from different manufacturers as they will tell you the true performance characteristics of each. Because these can be confusing to read, below is a brief summary on the ratings and what they mean.

SEER – This stands for “Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio” and is simply the average efficiency at which your central air conditioner will run during various conditions. An average is used because the efficiency performance will change from the hottest summer months to the warm spring or fall months. The U.S. currently has a minimum SEER rating of 13 for all central air conditioners. High efficiency systems are rated above 16 SEER and deliver the most energy savings throughout the year.

EER – This stands for “Energy Efficiency Rating.” This is a peak load rating, which tells you how efficiently your air conditioner will perform on the hottest days. This rating is important to consider if you live in very hot, dry areas that remain hot most of the year as the system will be at or near peak load more often. EER’s range from 8 to more than 15 and should not be confused with SEER ratings. An EER rating over 12 is excellent. Some systems have very good SEER ratings, but are compromised on their peak load performance. If you live in a hot area you should evaluate both SEER and EER to keep your electricity bill low in the summer. If you are in a more moderate climate zone it would be better to focus on the SEER ratings.

HSPF – This stands for “Heating Seasonal Performance Factor” and is a rating used to describe a system’s heat pump efficiency. These ratings range from 8 to more than 13 HSPF. As with SEER and EER, a higher number represents a more efficient system. If you’re using a heat pump with another heating source, such as a gas furnace, the HSPF will only be reflective of the heat pump and not the duel system capacity.

AFUE – This stands for “Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency” and is the standard efficiency rating for furnaces that burn fossil fuels like natural gas or heating oil. AFUE ratings are expressed in terms of efficiency percentages where the lowest efficiency equipment might have AFUEs of around 70% and the highest efficiencies are more than 90%.

You may not realize it, but the United States has some of the highest minimum efficiency standards for air conditioning in the world. These standards were put into practice over the past 20 to 30 years as the adoption of central air conditioning in the U.S. was expanding rapidly. These regulations were required to make sure the increase in power used for air conditioning did not put too much stress on the electric power grid, and also to help reduce environmental impacts.

Chandra Gollapudi
Efficiency and Regulation, Air Conditioning
Emerson Climate Technologies

Update on Energy Regulations

Constant changes to energy regulations result in increasing efficiency levels.  For example, today’s allowable federal minimum energy efficiency level for reach-in refrigerators and freezers is actually the same as the voluntary standards set by ENERGY STAR in 2001.  The 2010 ENERGY STAR 2.0 standards were base lined to capture the top 25 percent of energy performers. Since 2011, the EPA requires third party lab testing for the ENERGY STAR program.

The EPA recently points out that nearly 65% of commercial refrigerators and freezers are ENERGY STAR approved, so it is once again time to baseline the top 25% and revise the specification.  Version 3.0 specification becomes effective sometime in 2014.

The constant changes to energy and environmental standards present challenges for refrigeration equipment manufacturers.  Read more about these and other useful information by clicking on the link below for the Emerson white paper “Status of energy regulations for commercial refrigeration equipment”:

Craig Raney
Director of Marketing, Refrigeration
Emerson Climate Technologies

Technology in Action: Better Enterprise Management

This is the fourth in a series of posts on key presentations from Emerson’s 2013 Technology in Action Conference. 

In a 2013 Technology in Action Conference (TAC) session, Retail Solutions product managers Sam Smith and Randy Stocker shared their knowledge on setting up store controllers for better enterprise management with attendees.

Sam discussed best practices for improving energy and store management. He shared insight into effectively managing logs and filtering alarms based on priority in order to get usable data to your enterprise for troubleshooting and better enterprise management.

In addition, Randy talked about how using a standard nomenclature for equipment can make a significant difference in efficiently and effectively managing alarms. Because of Emerson’s experience with alarm monitoring and management through its ProAct Service Center, we provide naming recommendations to our customers for consistency.

Watch this video to see Sam and Randy talk about the key takeaways from their session and learn more about TAC here.

Reggie O’Donoghue
Director of Marketing, Retail Solutions
Emerson Climate Technologies


Not all building owners decide to pursue LEED certification.  But the LEED rating system virtually guarantees that the very best environmental practices are being followed.  In 2013, a new version of the rating system called LEED v4 will be approved. USGBC will keep LEED 2009 available for three more years, but project teams can move to the new version of LEED during that period. LEED v4 focuses on increasing technical stringency from past versions and developing new requirements for project types such as data centers, warehouses & distribution centers, hotels/motels, existing schools, existing retail, and mid-rise residential. The credit requirement changes in the proposed LEED v4 rating system are the most extensive in LEED’s twelve-year history. Retail-specific requirements will be added, including the energy and refrigerant credits.

The Minimum Energy Performance prerequisite will be updated to reference to ASHRAE 90.1-2010. Retail-specific process load requirements will be added including refrigeration equipment, cooking and food preparation, clothes washing, and other major support appliances. Many industry standard baseline conditions for commercial kitchen equipment and refrigeration will be defined, meaning that no additional documentation is necessary to substantiate these predefined baseline systems as industry standard. For appliances and equipment not covered in the baseline measures, LEED project teams must indicate hourly energy use for proposed and budget equipment, along with estimated daily use hours. ENERGY STAR ratings and evaluations are a valid basis for performing this calculation. For hard-wired refrigeration loads, team must model the effect of energy performance improvements with a simulation program designed to account for refrigeration equipment.

LEED v4 will also make changes to the Enhanced Refrigerant Management credit. Stores with commercial refrigeration systems must select equipment with an average HFC refrigerant charge of no more than 1.75 pounds of refrigerant per 1,000 Btu/h total evaporator cooling load. Store must also demonstrate a predicted store-wide annual refrigerant emissions rate of no more than 15% and conduct leak testing using the procedures in GreenChill’s best practices guideline for leak tightness at installation.

Green BuildingThe LEED® Green Building Rating System is a voluntary, consensus-based, market-driven building rating system based on existing proven technology. It defines and promotes green designs, and rewards organizations that adopt some or all of its principles towards green or integrated building design. LEED credits are awarded based on criteria in six categories of performance. A building project must meet a set of prerequisites to be registered, and it must achieve the minimum number of points to earn a basic ‘Certified’ level determines the level of LEED certification (from a Certified level through Silver and Gold to the Platinum level).

The retail and foodservice industries are investing in environmentally-friendly construction, in accordance with LEED guidelines, to enhance occupant comfort and reduce environmental impact. LEED building design requires some added initial cost; however, research shows the investment becomes offset over time by a reduction in energy usage and other related expenses.

Why the interest in LEED? Concern for the environment and sustainable development is growing, and LEED is a way that businesses can prove they are good corporate citizens. LEED promotes a whole building approach to sustainability through the principles of green building and integrated building design. There is a conscious effort to systematically integrate the design of building systems, such as HVAC, refrigeration, lighting, water management, and other mechanical systems with the building design itself, so as to achieve higher levels of performance.

Rajan Rajendran, Ph.D
Vice President, Engineering Services and Sustainability
Emerson Climate Technologies

Chocolate Facility Cuts Costs with Waste Heat Recovery

Using heat pumps to capture waste heat from industrial processes has emerged as an increasingly popular way to increase energy efficiency. At the same time, this process reduces the environmental impact of refrigeration systems.

Emerson Climate Technologies recently worked with a chocolate production facility to reduce its total energy demand using a new heat pump system featuring Vilter single screw compressors. By implementing the new system, the chocolate factory cut costs by $394,000 per year. Additionally, the facility achieved waste heat recovery of 1130 kW contributing to a 15% higher efficiency than comparable technologies.

Single Screw Compressor Unit

Click here to learn more about this energy saving story. More information on similar stories can be found on our Industrial Quantifiable Business Results page.

Sam Gladis
Business Director, Heat Pumps
Emerson Climate Technologies

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