The Copeland™ Hermetic CS compressor line has been extended for use with leading alternative refrigerants. To learn more about this important update, read our recent E360 product spotlight.
Copeland Hermetic CS compressors are commonly used in self-contained and remote walk-in coolers, as well as in ice, soft serve and frozen carbonated beverage applications. Most recently, we’ve updated this industry-standard compressor platform to qualify for use with modern refrigerant alternatives — which include R-407A, R-448A and R-449A — to offer lower glower warming potential (GWP) while providing the same reliable performance.
Found in a wide range of commercial refrigeration applications, R-404A is one of the most commonly used hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants. In recent years, HFCs like R-404A have been targeted for phase-down via global, federal and state regulatory efforts to limit the use of high-GWP refrigerants. Throughout the industry, many operators are actively seeking lower-GWP options to help them achieve regulatory compliance and meet corporate sustainability initiatives.
Many factors must be taken into account when considering how to transition to a lower-GWP alternative refrigerant, including service, maintenance and operational requirements. It’s no surprise that many operators are hesitant to transition to an option that will force them to overhaul their current refrigeration architecture or introduce a new compression platform. Emerson is helping those familiar with the Copeland Hermetic CS compressor line move from R-404A to one of these approved alternatives — without introducing new system complexities.
For those seeking to comply with regulatory targets or meet sustainability objectives, Copeland Hermetic CS compressors are qualified to use R-407A, R-448A and R-449A in medium-temperature applications. This will enable significant GWP reductions compared to R-404A.
GWP by refrigerant
Retrofit vs. new: considerations With these new refrigerant qualifications, operators now have the option to retrofit their legacy Copeland Hermetic CS compressors. It’s important to understand that R-407A, R-448A and R-449A are not considered true “drop-in” replacements.
Even though operators can keep the same compression platform, switching from R-404A to one of these lower-GWP options requires adherence to Emerson’s Refrigerant Changeover Guidelines to help ensure optimum system performance. Expansion valve adjustments, proper lubrication and filter changes must be followed per the application engineering bulletin.
For new applications, this newly qualified Copeland Hermetic CS line of compressors grants operators the flexibility of determining which replacement options are best suited to meet their external regulatory requirements and/or internal sustainability initiatives. Emerson recommends consulting its application engineering bulletin or a certified compression expert to help better understand the performance characteristics of each low-GWP refrigerant option.
While the phase-down of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants is underway globally, federal regulatory uncertainty and state-level actions in the U.S. continue to raise many questions in our industry. Our latest E360 Webinar presented the latest developments in this dynamic area in hopes of clearing up some of the confusion. View the webinar in its entirety.
Along with my Emerson colleague, Jennifer Butsch, regulatory affairs manager of air conditioning, I recently presented the latest information on refrigerant regulations and rulemaking. The primary objective of these activities is to reduce the use of HFC refrigerants with high global warming potential (GWP), and at the same time, introduce lower-GWP alternatives. For those of us in the commercial refrigeration and AC industries, this transition impacts many of our most common applications.
Here’s a summary of our discussion.
Kigali Amendment takes effect
To put these matters into their proper context, it’s important first to understand the global regulatory driver of the HFC phase-down, the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. This proposal was agreed upon at a meeting of 197 countries in 2016, and has since been ratified into law by more than 65 countries, including European members, Canada and Mexico.
While the U.S. has yet to ratify the Kigali Amendment, its phase-down guidelines went into effect for participating countries as of Jan. 1, 2019. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean its impacts are not being felt in the U.S., particularly in state-level initiatives to meet environmental targets.
California adopts SNAP rules, plans further reductions
While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) SNAP Rule 20 has been vacated and Rule 21 remains in litigation, California has adopted these rules into law. Effective Jan. 1, R-404A and R-507A are not allowable in many commercial refrigeration applications, including: supermarket central systems, remote condensing units and stand-alone systems. Essentially, this upholds previous SNAP 20 rulemaking and prevents operators in the state from using high-GWP HFCs. But this is just the first of many steps.
California is also adhering to the longer-term HFC phase-down schedule for commercial refrigeration and AC as outlined in SNAP Rules 20 and 21. In addition, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has been tasked with reducing HFC emissions 40 percent by 2030 from the state’s 2013 baseline level — a target that’s very much in alignment with the Kigali Amendment’s HFC phase-down recommendations for the United States.
Achieving these levels will require new rulemaking in accordance with CARB’s short-lived climate pollutant (SLCP) reduction strategy. CARB is planning on releasing a final rule toward the end of this year. In the meantime, they will conduct a series of public meetings for both AC and commercial refrigeration stakeholders. Emerson strongly encourages you to participate in these meetings to make sure your questions and concerns are addressed.
Other states join the charge
While California appears to be taking the lead on domestic HFC phase-down efforts, there are also many other states making commitments to climate change initiatives, including the reduction of HFCs.
The U.S. Climate Alliance now includes 21 states; combined they make up 49 percent of the U.S. population and 50 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). We believe that it is in our industry’s best interest for these states to follow a united course of action, rather than a patchwork of individual state mandates.
Other key webinar takeaways
Jennifer and I also discussed many other important developments pertaining to the use of lower-GWP alternatives, including:
Applications, availability and GWP ratings of A1, A2L, A3, B2L and natural alternatives
Update on refrigerant safety standards of A2L and A3 (flammable) refrigerants
How refrigerant standards affect equipment, applications, building codes and local codes
Lower-GWP refrigerant impacts on refrigeration architectures
Across Asia Pacific, women are chronically under-represented in careers based on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Emerson has set out to change this with its global Women in STEM Program that’s aimed at helping more women to not only pursue a STEM education but also have successful careers afterwards.
As one of the world’s pre-eminent technology and engineering companies, Emerson recognizes that education and careers for women in STEM will have a long-term benefit for the competitiveness of its business, and for the societies in which it operates.
This is why the Women in STEM Program aims to attract, develop, and retain the best women
in STEM-related roles to enhance diversity of ideas and approaches for the benefit of our customers and to fully deliver on our “Consider it Solved” promise. The program supports generations of women at all stages of their careers, from the most senior executives to the youngest schoolchildren just beginning to think of their futures.
“There should be no limits to the aspirations of young women leaders in Emerson,” said Vidya Ramnath, President of Middle East and Africa, who’s also a sponsor for the Women in STEM initiative in Asia.
“We need to be there as a unit to show women that there are no walls to advancing and achieving.”
Moving the needle
At Emerson, the Women in STEM Program is guided by three main prongs:
Attract: To inspire girls to pursue STEM subjects and careers, and to attract the best women in STEM to Emerson.
Develop: To provide an environment and opportunities to develop leadership skills as well as to elevate visibility for women in STEM-related roles
Retain: To create an inclusive connected community where women in STEM feel supported and a sense of belonging throughout Emerson, and to provide a platform to highlight women in STEM as role models across One Emerson
Ultimately, the main goals are to recruit new female employees into STEM-related roles, increase the percentage of women in leadership and to reduce the attrition of women.
In Asia, the program was rolled out towards the last quarter of 2017, which cut across two main business units, dozens of lines of business, and more than 45 individual facilities in 15 countries. To enable effective implementation, Emerson formed a regional board comprising members across the region and business units, then recruited members organized into location-specific chapters, which are consolidated into 12 regions.
As the initiative gained steam across the continent, it also added to the global momentum. The number of members and local chapters last year almost doubled from 2017, with membership going from 1,733 to 3,135 and the number of local chapters increasing from 25 to 47. Similarly, the number of regional events more than doubled from 292 to 670.
Meanwhile, Emerson was making waves externally too. Some 150 Emerson employees attended WE18, the world’s largest conference for women engineers, where we received five Society of Women Engineers awards. We also went up 26 places to be named the Top 15 Employer for Women in STEM by Woman Engineer 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards.
Advancing the cause
Around the world, the Women in STEM group runs a wide gamut of activities to attract, develop and retain female talent. They range from professional development and networking socials to youth and university outreach. In Asia, the group touched the lives of more than 7,200 women and men through 3,000 events last year.
These are mainly live events and webinars aimed at sharing management and development skills for women in STEM-related positions throughout the company. Widad Haddad, vice president and general manager, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen & Lebanon, Emerson Automation Solutions, sees her role in the Diversity and Inclusion Council as not only to bring knowledge to women at Emerson but also to ensure there’s a balance in the program.
“For example, if we hold a seminar on how to say ‘No’ and if we invite only women, are we implying that only women don’t know how to say ‘No’?” said the only executive woman among 1,100 employees in her region. “Where topics are relevant to both genders, we actually open the events to the men too.”
More than 740 professional development events were conducted in Asia last year including:
A debate competition in Suzhou, CHINA attracted more than 100 participants to discuss project communication, career development and work-life balance. Developed women engineers in their leadership journey but also advocated for inclusion by discussing topics that are sometimes considered taboo.
A professional development and networking day was held in conjunction with the Society of Women Engineers in Pune, INDIA. Forty participants drawn from inside and outside Emerson met to share a day of professional development and networking with fellow STEM professionals, hosted at Emerson’s location in Pune.
Some 75 Emerson employees in THAILAND across Bangkok and Rayong had clearer insights on career growth from a series of talks given by a vice president.
A regional Leadership Talk Series leverages Emerson female executives’ work travel schedules to give talks to local Women in STEM groups whenever they travel. This is especially important in offices that may not have a senior female leader as a role model. Topics range from career experience, personal branding to managing conflict, and these meetings have so far attracted more than 800 participants.
These social events enable women at Emerson to make connections across functions and business units. For Jacqueline Stidolph, Lifecycle Services Engineer, Western Australia, Emerson Automation Solutions, this is especially important as she largely works on Prelude, the world’s largest floating liquefied natural gas platform.
“I work offshore most of the time, so joining networking events is definitely beneficial,” she explained.
More than 250 networking/social activities were held in Asia last year. Examples included:
Emerson partnered with Women in Energy Asia to host a digital transformation event at the Emerson Solutions Center in SINGAPORE. The event attracted 80 participants and showed how women and technology impact the energy industry.
Physical fitness events around the region empower women to take hold of their physical and mental health with activities like yoga to boxing. Feedback has been extremely positive with women saying they would never have tried some of the activities if not for Women in STEM.
To counter traditional preconceptions and prejudices, the group identifies opportunities to inspire younger girls about STEM, to seed future generations of women engineers. These could be outreach activities at schools or “We Love STEM” events held at Emerson offices for employees’ children.
Last year, almost a thousand events were held, such as:
Women in STEM organized an outreach event to secondary school students in HONG KONG, enabling children to see firsthand the digital transformation in the control room, and experience how engineers are trained using virtual reality.
Emerson partnered with Girl Scouts of the Philippines to run the Cebu National Encampment event for 600 girls nationwide aged 9-14. Seven in 10 of the children indicated they are likely to consider a STEM course after the event.
At a We Love STEM event for employees’ families held by Emerson KOREA at the newly opened Korea Solutions Center, more than 70 children learned how assemble robots and spinning tops, sparking an early-age interest in STEM.
These efforts focus on engagement with faculty, students and alumni at key universities across the region to present and promote career options in STEM. The Women in STEM group held almost 1,200 events last year, including partnering with over 20 universities to give tours of our facilities/technology centers, recruit female STEM majors, participate in “Day with Industry” events, and share the experience of being an engineer.
Con Alcoriza, an Emerson scholar studying mechanical engineering at Bulacan State University in the Philippines, has been inspired by her interactions with women engineers at the company.
“Having an Emerson scholarship is not just about financial help, but my mentors at Emerson support us and guide us,” said the fifth-year student. “I see these very successful women engineers at Emerson and I wish to be one someday.
“What boys can do, I can do too. Not because I’m a girl but because I am me. I see myself pursuing my career in Emerson and I know I have to work hard and strive hard for what I want.”
Bob Labbett | V.P. – Aftermarket Distribution, Cold Chain
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions
As National Apprenticeship Week (March 4–8, 2019) once again approaches, the critical shortage of qualified HVACR technicians within the U.S. continues — with an estimated industry shortfall of 118,000 technicians by the year 2022. Recruiting apprentice HVACR techs remains as challenging as ever, because students with an aptitude for technical trades are not being encouraged to pursue vocational or technical training. Students need to be convinced that an HVACR career path is a viable alternative to a four-year college degree, offering them a chance to work on new and emerging technologies in meaningful careers that contribute to society.
What’s stopping them? One is the perception among American high school students that a college degree is more valuable and prestigious than an apprenticeship and a fast track to a career. The other is that we collectively as an industry are not adequately presenting them options. Here are five great reasons for a high school student to consider becoming an HVACR apprentice.
College is more popular — and more expensive — than ever.
At least two-thirds of the high school class of 2020 intend to go to college; this represents the highest rate of secondary education attendance in U.S. history. They — and their parents — know that college is getting more expensive, while financial aid is shrinking. The average student graduates with an average of $40,000 in student loan debt — just as they’re about to begin looking for an entry-level job. What isn’t as well-known is that about half of all college students drop out without earning a degree — and with no real job skills. Yet schools, guidance counselors and peers continue to push students straight to college.
There is an alternative: A fast start — with no debt.
When many “traditional” students are just starting their sophomore year in college, some of their high school friends will be beginning their careers as HVACR apprentices — with average entry-level salaries ranging from $47,000–$60,000 a year, depending on skill set. It’s a matter of supply and demand, and being an HVACR tech is a vocation in extremely high demand. It’s time high school guidance counselors had information about alternative apprenticeships on hand.
An apprenticeship is a wise path for students who can use their heads — and their hands.
A bright student with some high school courses in math and/or physics can learn to read a blueprint and earn an HVACR apprentice certificate at a community college in six months to a year, at little or no cost — and with no student debt. Others can even start straight out of high school, getting paid while earning their certificate on the job. In an industry that needs 118,000 new HVACR apprentice technicians, their certificates mean they are almost certain to get job offers from almost any company to which they apply. As an apprentice, their future career tracks are limited only by their ambition and drive (or lack thereof).
An apprenticeship is a top-notch education.
An HVACR tech certificate may not sound as glamorous as a college degree. But four years of on-the-job training in a technical field are easily the equivalent of a four-year academic degree. HVACR techs are responsible for maintaining healthy environments at major medical centers. They work in the aerospace industry and in high-tech corporations. HVACR techs know how to maintain and repair 12-ton coolers, heat pumps, furnaces, ultralow-temperature freezers and refrigerators; they can manage the electronic systems that connect them; and they can run the software and internet programs that monitor and control them. HVACR techs work with advanced technologies, doing essential work that significantly affects people’s lives.
The HVACR industry is working with educators, unions and contractor organizations to make it even easier to earn apprentice certification, with more online courses, night classes and technically advanced curriculums to create valuable on-the-job training. Even the federal government has stepped in, with the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act providing funds for students who are looking for more career-oriented education after high school.
Refrigerant leak response and repair regulations have placed our industry in uncertain waters. As you may know, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a new rule that rescinds some provisions of its Section 608 mandate, affecting equipment with 50 lbs. or more of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) or other substitute refrigerants. These best practices were developed in consultation with the HVACR industry to ensure safety, establish proper reclaim and recycling processes, and of course, reduce carbon emissions.
In November 2016, the EPA extended the scope of Section 608 — from refrigerants containing ozone-depleting substances (ODS) to nonexempt substitute refrigerants such as HFCs. Because the Court of Appeals ruled in 2017 that the EPA could not ban HFCs, the agency has decided that it also did not have the authority to regulate these refrigerants under Section 608.
Establishing best practices
Awareness of the importance of leak detection has grown exponentially in recent years. Today, most companies understand that implementing a leak response and repair program is simply a best practice. And for those companies that have already taken steps to comply with Section 608, the vacating of this rule will have little impact.
I stated in the article: “These procedures not only benefit the environment but also help ensure HVACR equipment operates at peak efficiency, including at the lowest overall cost. One of the benefits of the existing regulations has been to raise the awareness of best practices related to HVACR maintenance. Increased awareness generally leads to broader adoption by those in the industry, regardless of whether regulations are in place.”
Simply put, leak detection and repair programs make good sense, regardless of the regulations in place or the type of refrigerant being used. However, with the reversal of Section 608, equipment operators will no longer be under federal mandate to follow these widely adopted refrigerant management best practices:
Conducting leak rate calculations when refrigerant is added to an appliance
Repairing an appliance that leaks above a threshold leak rate
Conducting verification tests on repairs
Conducting periodic leak inspections on appliances that exceed the threshold leak rate
Reporting to the EPA about chronically leaking appliances
Retrofitting or retiring appliances that are not repaired
Maintaining related records
Overseeing technicians’ use of certified equipment and the reclamation process
These procedures are already considered to be the optimal standard practice, and end users who are focused on operational excellence are likely doing many (or most) of them today.
Maintaining other key program elements
The absence of a federal mandate for responsible HFC management creates a quandary for our industry. Currently, the EPA is seeking comments about the remaining provisions of Section 608, raising concerns about the potential for overturning other benefits of programs — specifically, guidelines for refrigerant reclaim procedures and technician certification and training programs.
Proper refrigerant reclamation reduces the likelihood of introducing impurities, which could lead to premature failures and increased maintenance costs for owners of HVACR equipment. What’s more, the certification program provides the vital information on how to deal with the ever-growing number of refrigerants. As I stated in the article: “One benefit of certification is that wholesalers are able to sell refrigerants to technicians who have a sufficient background and understanding of their liability under the Clean Air Act.”
Already, several states are adopting standards for leak detection and control. Again, as I noted in the article, “We are already seeing some states such as California enact regulations that adopt many of the requirements in Section 608. Other states will likely step in, which may create more headaches for the industry. This could create problems for the industry and lead to a patchwork of inconsistent regulations that would be challenging for manufacturers and service providers to navigate.”
As always, Emerson will help you stay informed about further changes to Section 608. Regardless of the regulatory decisions, we’ll continue to provide guidance and expertise on how to design and implement refrigerant management programs.
Commercial & Residential Solutions is a global innovator of energy-efficient heating, air conditioning and refrigeration solutions for residential, industrial and commercial applications. www.climate.emerson.com