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Bolstering HVACR Knowledge With Emerson Educational Services

BenWeser_Blog_Image Ben Weser | Manager – Educational Services

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Emerson Educational Services provides a wide array of training options for today’s HVACR technicians. By keeping up to date with issues facing the industry and evaluating training needs, we’ve developed courses and programs that allow attendees to earn certifications and credits from North American Technician Excellence (NATE). To learn more about our programs, read the full article here.

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For several years, the commercial refrigeration and AC landscapes have been shifting. Persistent regulatory activities, an influx of new system architectures, and rapidly evolving industry trends have led to a more complex work environment for service technicians. Compounding these challenges are the shrinking number of experienced technicians still in the field and the difficulty of attracting younger job seekers to the HVACR trades.

Contracting businesses are increasingly looking to equipment and component manufacturers to help train their technicians on how to service emerging refrigeration systems and utilize new technologies. And many traditional training programs simply can’t keep up with the pace of change in our shared industries.

But Emerson Educational Services is designed to do just that.

Today’s training programs need to address modern complexities and be tailored to technicians’ comfort levels with new technologies. For example, those accustomed to traditional mechanical system design are often reticent to embrace electronic components, while the new generation of technicians may find familiarity and greater utility from the use of digital tools.

We offer comprehensive training programs that not only cover essential service skills, but also keep your teams up to date on the latest electronic controls, diagnostics and protection technologies. Emerson provides a wide variety of educational options to meet today’s diverse training needs — including hands-on seminars in the classroom or online and mobile tools in the field.

Training for a variety of trainee needs

Emerson Educational Services provides various course offerings and teaching tools to help technicians of all skill levels work with new technologies and complex systems. These options are designed to allow technicians to continue their education according to their preferences, needs and schedules.

  • Foundational learning: Provides expertise on foundational industry concepts, skills and tasks to prepare for working with systems of all sizes and complexities.
  • Product-specific learning: Enhances technician knowledge about certain product applications, functionalities and operations; helps them successfully select, install and troubleshoot system components.
  • Hands-on/expert-led training: Allows technicians to work with experts to gain an in-depth understanding and hands-on experience with systems and components, giving them the confidence and familiarity needed to effectively service these types of systems.
  • On-the-job performance and support tools: Supplement formal learning by giving technicians access to online and mobile resources that serve as real-time performance guides on the job and in the field, such as smartphone applications and short videos.

Combined, these programs and tools provide a variety of options geared toward technicians of all expertise levels, specializations and job requirements.

Online options

At Education.Emerson.com, Emerson Educational Services offers e-learning programs and resources that cover a wide range of foundational HVACR topics, applications and products. This online learning portal allows technicians to learn at their own pace, regardless of their location. Offerings include:

  • Learning plans
  • Self-paced training courses
  • Recorded webinars
  • Quizzes and assessments

With our extensive education options, Emerson Educational Services is positioned to be a partner in training the next generation of HVACR technicians. Visit our website to learn more.

[Webinar Recap] Preparing for the DOE’s New WICF Energy-Efficiency Standards

Julie Havenar | Product Manager – Condensing Units
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

I recently conducted an E360 Webinar about the Department of Energy’s (DOE) new energy-efficiency standards on walk-in coolers and freezers (WICF). The webinar was presented to help industry stakeholders prepare for compliance by reviewing the ruling’s scope, definitions and potential industry impacts. View an archive of the webinar here and/or read a summary of its key takeaways below.

Ruling overview

On June 3, 2014, the DOE published its final rule on prescribed performance-based standards for WICFs, which specifically apply to the condensing units and unit coolers used in these systems. Then, on July 10, 2017, the DOE issued an update to the ruling and released its minimum efficiency test procedures, which they termed the annual walk-in efficiency factor (AWEF).

AWEF is a metric created by the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) designed to help manufacturers validate compliance. As defined by the AHRI 1250-2009 standard, AWEF minimum efficiency requirements for dedicated condensing units vary per capacity and application (e.g., indoor, outdoor).

Although the compliance date for medium-temperature, dedicated condensing system applications has been in place since 2017, the DOE has established the following enforcement dates for 2020:

  • 1: for medium-temperature WICF applications
  • July 10: for low-temperature WICF applications

Scope and definitions

The scope of the ruling pertains to enclosed WICFs that can be walked into and have a total chilled storage area of less than 3,000 square feet. In addition, the ruling applies only to those condensing units and unit coolers designed to provide one refrigerated load. Products designed and marketed exclusively for medical, scientific or research purposes are excluded from this ruling.

According to the DOE ruling, 32 °F is the point of differentiation between walk-in coolers and freezers. A walk-in cooler is defined as an enclosed storage space refrigerated to temperatures above 32 °F. A walk-in freezer is defined as an enclosed storage space refrigerated to temperatures at or below 32 °F.

The DOE WICF ruling applies to both new and retrofit refrigeration systems, including:

  • Condensing units that are assembled to construct a new WICF
  • Condensing units that are used to replace an existing, previously installed WICF component (retrofit)
  • Condensing units used within packaged systems

Important note: While this does mean that condensing units manufactured after the ruling’s enforcement dates must comply, it does not exclude wholesalers and contractors from using and stocking condensing units that were manufactured before the DOE enforcement dates.

Industry impacts

With the DOE enforcement dates quickly approaching, stakeholders throughout the commercial refrigeration industry need to understand the ruling’s potential impacts on their businesses. Of course, this starts with equipment manufacturers that must not only manufacture compliant products, but also demonstrate certification and compliance through the following: registration with the DOE’s Compliance Certification Management System (CCMS) database; proper disclosure in marketing materials; and permanent nameplate marking.

Impacts to other key stakeholders include:

  • Wholesalers — must be prepared for changing inventories and begin carrying only AWEF-compliant products if they are manufactured after the 2020 enforcement date
  • Contractors — must understand that if they replace a condensing unit with one manufactured after the DOE enforcement date, it must be an AWEF-compliant unit
  • Design consultantsmust be well-versed in the regulatory impacts to advise end users in the selection of energy-compliant, sustainable systems
  • End usersneed to consider selecting future-proof equipment that aligns with their long-term refrigeration strategies

Regardless of your specific role, Emerson offers additional training, resources and expertise to help you prepare for compliance and understand the impacts of the DOE’s WICF ruling. For more information, please view the webinar archive or download our DOE WICF ruling FAQ document.

 

[New E360 Webinar] Best Practices in Enterprise and Facility Optimization

ronchapek_2 Ron Chapek | Director of Product Management

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

In today’s competitive food retail and foodservice markets, empowering your service teams to provide fast, effective issue resolution can be a true differentiator. In our next E360 Webinar, which will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 2 p.m. EDT/11 a.m. PDT, we will explain how new enterprise management and collaboration tools can help operators optimize their service teams and implement efficient processes across the enterprise.

Supermarket, convenience store and restaurant operators are faced with a perfect storm of facility management and servicing challenges. As the pool of qualified technicians continues to shrink, those entering the service profession have limited systems knowledge and must quickly learn to navigate an increasingly complex landscape of new technologies and architectures. Simply put, operators need new tools to help their service teams:

  • Process and prioritize alarms per specific geographic regions, areas of responsibility and importance to business success (HVAC, refrigeration, ice machines, beer coolers, etc.)
  • Access the information needed to resolve issues quickly and fix equipment failures on the first attempt

In our next E360 Webinar, I’ll be joined by Pranay Shah, senior technical product owner at Emerson, to discuss how new enterprise software and collaborative community platforms can be combined to prioritize, triage and accelerate issue resolution for both internal service teams and supporting contractor networks. As we explore how to leverage these powerful and intuitive tools to streamline facility management and servicing processes, attendees will learn:

  • How enterprise management software can be tailored to end user roles and responsibilities
  • How these tools can be mapped to specific processes per unique business objectives
  • How alerts are filtered and prioritized to address next most important tasks
  • How service networks and communities enable team collaboration, live chat, video and technical knowledge base access

So if you’re ready to learn how to put these tools to work in your organization — and better optimize the service teams and processes with which you manage them — then register now for this informative webinar and make plans to join us on Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 2 p.m. EDT/11 a.m. PDT.

Regulatory Uncertainty Impacts Refrigerant Decisions

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

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

I was recently asked to contribute to an ACHR The NEWS article about the uncertainty surrounding the dynamic regulations governing the use of refrigerants. The article provided perspectives from several industry stakeholders, and I was happy to discuss Emerson’s views on the short- and long-term implications of the situation. Read a summary of the article below and view it here in its entirety.

For the last two years, the commercial refrigeration industry has been in a period of uncertainty regarding the regulations that govern the use of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants with high global warming potential (GWP). Since the U.S. DC Court of Appeals ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not have the authority to phase down HFCs, the EPA’s role in the national HFC phase-down has been unclear.

R-22 phase-out is still in effect

For the time being, the EPA’s authority covers only the transition from ozone-depleting substances, such as the chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) R-22. So, even though the HFC rules have been vacated, the EPA still has the authority to phase out R-22, which is scheduled to take place on Jan. 1, 2020.

While there’s plenty of discussion about the fate of HFCs, it would be unwise to presume that the 2020 R-22 phase-out won’t have significant impacts. In fact, it may surprise some to learn that there are still many operators with older refrigeration systems currently charged with R-22. But after Jan. 1, they must either retrofit their systems with lower-GWP refrigerants or continue to recover and reuse R-22 until their supplies run out — with the understanding that the latter choice is not a permanent solution.

HFC phase-down continues in California and other states

The absence of a federal mandate to phase down common HFCs is not deterring California from taking its own steps. Per a recent ruling by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), R-404A and R-507A are no longer allowable in many new commercial refrigeration applications.

California’s regulatory stance is a reminder that a retailer’s geographic location is an important factor in the development of their refrigerant strategy. While California is currently taking the lead on U.S. HFC reductions, there are currently

As retailers evaluate their future refrigerant options, state-specific environmental regulations will factor prominently in their decision processes. For example, operators in California are well aware of the efforts to phase down HFCs and most likely have alternative refrigerant plans in place. These operators are either planning for retrofits or trialing new alternative refrigerant architectures.

Strategies for moving forward

Fortunately for operators, component and equipment manufacturers have continued developing solutions that feature a wide range of lower-GWP refrigerant alternatives. These solutions are helping retailers align their sustainability objectives with their refrigeration architectures, and include the following strategies:

  • Retrofit using lower-GWP HFOs — Moving from R-404A to R-448A or R-449A may require adding compressor cooling and other relatively minor system changes but can help operators preserve their existing system investments. Deploying energy optimization best practices will also help them reduce indirect emissions, which lessens their overall carbon footprint.
  • Transition to a new and/or natural refrigerant system — Natural architectures offer maximum carbon footprint reductions and are considered by many as the only true future-proof solutions available today. These systems can be installed in new locations or in parallel with an existing system, allowing the retailer to slowly transition to the natural solution.

Emerson is continuing to develop a variety of alternative refrigerant solutions designed to help operators and equipment manufacturers reduce their carbon footprints. Regardless of the regulations in your specific region, we’re here to support the commercial refrigeration supply chain as it transitions to lower-GWP refrigerant alternatives.

[Webinar Recap] Factoring Energy Management Into Your Refrigeration Retrofits

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

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

In today’s dynamic food retail climate, many operators are wondering why they should retrofit their aging refrigeration supermarket refrigeration architecture. For most, this is a not an easy decision to make. While you’ll often find some form of a refrigerant regulation accelerating this process, a viable refrigeration retrofit should also include plans for ongoing energy optimization. In our most recent E360 Webinar, I discussed how to merge these two considerations into a sustainable, long-term refrigeration strategy. Read the summary below and/or view the webinar in its entirety.

The transition to more environmentally friendly, future-ready refrigerants is underway, and as a result, many supermarket retailers are evaluating retrofit options on their existing systems. But for large enterprises or individual stores that consume a lot of energy, the rising costs of energy (especially in certain regions with high rates) are moving conversations toward energy management — not only in refrigeration systems, but also entire facility ecosystems and across the enterprise.

Ultimately, the goal of an effective approach to energy optimization is to minimize energy costs in every way possible. Doing so requires an understanding of the various factors that contribute to energy costs, including:

  • Energy consumption profile of key store systems such as refrigeration, HVAC and lighting
  • Peak electric consumption cycles and periods in each store
  • Time of use rates as dictated by the electrical utility, including both on- and off-peak rates
  • Seasonal changes and their impacts on consumption and electricity rates

This is particularly important in certain areas of the country where charges exceed $15 per kW during peak demand periods.

Why the focus on refrigeration?

A typical supermarket uses a centralized direct expansion refrigeration architecture which accounts for more than 50 percent of its total annual energy consumption, with HVAC systems the next largest consumer at 20 percent. At the same time, an average supermarket consumes three times more energy per square foot than other retail facilities. It’s no surprise then that these systems are becoming prime targets for energy optimization in the U.S. and around the globe.

The tendency for refrigerant leaks in traditional centralized systems — most of which are also charged with refrigerants that have a high global warming potential (GWP) — makes these systems ideal candidates for retrofits. Many of them can transition to lower-GWP refrigerants with relatively minimal retrofit requirements.

Six steps along the “Journey to Energy Excellence”

In the webinar, I cited a case study of a supermarket that went through a retrofit process in its centralized refrigeration system. The process followed a methodology that Emerson refers to as the Journey to Energy Excellence. By upgrading only the refrigeration system (i.e., the first three steps below), the supermarket reduced its energy costs by nearly $40 thousand per year.

The six steps along the journey to energy excellence include:

  1. Conduct a baseline energy audit of the existing system.
  2. Recommission the system to its original condition and setpoints.
  3. Make refrigeration technology upgrades, such as: digital compressors, variable frequency drives and floating the head/suction pressures.
  4. Change the lighting and other renewable upgrades such as adding doors, electronic expansion valves and electrically commutated motors on evaporators.
  5. Expand focus to HVAC technology upgrades, including rooftop units and demand control ventilation.
  6. Deploy a condition-based maintenance, internet of things (IoT) infrastructure to accurately monitor asset and system performance.

Each step enables progressive degrees of energy optimization, and as the case study demonstrates, implementing just the first three steps can provide significant financial gains. Collectively, this methodology can help supermarkets develop energy management strategies that consider entire facility ecosystems.

Regardless of where you are in this process, Emerson is providing solutions at every step to help retailers achieve energy excellence in stores and across the enterprise.

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