In 2020, the Department of Energy (DOE) will begin enforcing its new energy-efficiency standards on walk-in coolers and freezers (WICF). With the compliance deadline now on the horizon, the commercial refrigeration supply chain is taking a closer look at the ruling and preparing for its impacts. Our next E360 Webinar, on Thursday, Sept. 26 at 2 p.m. EDT/11 a.m. PDT, will shed light on the details of this rulemaking.
Improving the energy efficiency of refrigeration equipment is a goal shared by most stakeholders in the commercial refrigeration supply chain. But when specific energy reductions are mandated by DOE regulations on a commonly used class of equipment, then these goals take on a much greater sense of urgency. The DOE’s 2020 WICF mandate is no exception.
Generally speaking, the ruling will require 20–40 percent energy reductions in WICFs smaller than 3,000 square feet. But, like many regulations of this kind, when you start digging into the details, you’ll find that they’re complicated and often difficult to interpret.
In our next E360 Webinar, I’ll provide a detailed overview of the DOE’s WICF ruling and discuss how it can impact you — regardless of whether you’re an equipment manufacturer, contractor, end user, design consultant or wholesaler. So, if you’re unsure about how to prepare for compliance or just curious how the ruling may impact you, then be sure to join me on Thursday, Sept. 26 at 2 p.m. EDT/11 a.m. PDT for this informative webinar. Attendees will learn:
The full scope of the WICF rulemaking
Definitions of key terms, concepts and language used
Final enforcement dates per equipment category
Examples of WICF system configurations
Required efficiency levels per the Annual Walk-in Efficiency Factor (AWEF) metric
Impacts to various stakeholders throughout the supply chain
How to verify and ensure compliance
As with all E360 Webinars, we will allocate time after the presentation for a question and answer session. To make sure we’re able to address your specific questions, this session will be supported by additional Emerson experts on the DOE WICF regulation, including: Roxanne Scott, senior lead project engineer; and Brian Buynacek, senior consultant. So, register now for this informative webinar and let us help you prepare for the DOE WICF compliance deadline.
To raise awareness about the prevention of food poisoning, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have designated September as National Food Safety Education Month. Whether you’re a consumer, provider, processor, distributor, restaurant, supermarket or refrigerated equipment manufacturer, it is important to be aware of issues related to food safety so we can all help to minimize risks of potential contamination throughout the food supply chain.
What’s at stake? According to CDC estimates, one out of every six people (48 million) gets sick, 128,000 people per year are hospitalized, and 3,000 per year die from eating contaminated food each year in the United States. Although this could potentially happen to anyone, those whom are especially vulnerable include: children 5 and under, adults 65 and older, those with compromised immune systems, and pregnant women.
But the potential costs of foodborne illness outbreaks go far beyond their tolls on human health. Researchers have found that restaurants have incurred costs of up to $2.5 million for a single outbreak of foodborne illness. This may be in addition to brand reputation impact that are more difficult to calculate. Studies have shown that 44 percent of consumers will avoid a brand for a few months after an outbreak, while 20 percent have reported in surveys that they never intend to make a return visit or purchase anything from that brand again.
How to protect yourself Foodborne illnesses occur when food becomes contaminated with harmful bacteria, parasites, viruses or toxins. Common types of bacteria associated with raw or undercooked poultry include campylobacter and salmonella. Fruits and vegetables (such as leafy greens) can become contaminated with E. coli, salmonella and listeria due to several factors: from unclean water and runoff at a farm; contaminated processing equipment; and from poor hygiene during handling and preparation.
It is critically important for anyone preparing food to maintain proper holding temperatures as part of ensuring food safety. This also often maximizes food quality and shelf life.
So, when it comes to preparing your own food, the CDC recommends four simple steps to protect yourself and your family:
Clean — Wash hands, utensils and cooking surfaces.
Separate — Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs separate from cooked food and fresh produce.
Cook — Use a food thermometer to make sure foods are cooked to an internal temperature sufficient to kill potential germs.
Chill — Refrigerate perishable foods and leftovers within two hours; chill within one hour if ambient temperatures are above 90 °F.
But what about the food we buy at restaurants, food trucks or supermarkets? One-third of Americans eat fast food every day, and more than 60 percent have dinner at a restaurant at least once a week. On its way to those points of sale, food passes through multiple hands and stakeholders throughout the supply chain, each with a responsibility to help ensure food safety and quality. Here are a few more common sense tips to consider when dining out or buying from your local grocer.
Shop smart — Choose tidy, well-kept establishments with clean tables, aisles and floors. Some cities/states require facilities to post their cleanliness ratings. If you live in one of those regions, ask for the location of that
Ask questions — Inquire about how items on the menu are prepared, how grocery items are stored, and any other pertinent information about the source.
Inspect your selections — Look for holes, tears or openings in food packages. Frozen foods should be solid throughout with no signs of thawing. Refrigerated foods should feel cold.
Ensuring safety in the food supply chain
While most of these tips can also apply to the food supply chain, ensuring adherence to them from farm to fork is an even more complex challenge for producers, processors, distributors and others in the food supply chain. By the time food reaches consumers, there are potentially any number of handling and temperature excursions that could have taken place. There are also an ever-increasing number of food safety regulations and documentation requirements that stakeholders must comply with.
Today, Emerson is helping leading food supply chain providers, processors, warehouses, distributors and retailers ensure food safety and protect their brand reputations. Building upon our foundation of refrigeration expertise, we’re providing solutions to help operators at nearly every point of this process to help form a comprehensive, unbroken cold chain. From connected, communicating devices and enterprise management software to temperature loggers, trackers and probing devices, we’re helping our customers achieve cold chain temperature certainty and food safety verification throughout its journey to consumers.
Enforcement of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) energy efficiency standards on walk-in cooler and freezer refrigeration equipment will take place in 2020. While the rulemaking directly impacts original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), it will also affect stakeholders throughout the commercial refrigeration supply chain. This blog summarizes the contents of a new E360 article focused on the DOE’s WICF mandate. You can read the full article here.
The commercial refrigeration industry is no stranger to energy efficiency mandates. Since 2017, OEMs of new stand-alone, reach-in equipment have been required to comply with the DOE’s standards in this specific equipment class. As 2020 quickly approaches, the DOE’s mandate will take aim at walk-in coolers and freezers (WICFs) — requiring 20–40 percent energy reductions in WICFs smaller than 3,000 square feet that are manufactured after the following enforcement dates:
1, 2020, for WICFs with medium-temperature dedicated condensing systems
July 10, 2020, for WICFs with low-temperature dedicated condensing systems
For those keeping tabs on this dynamic regulatory climate, these deadlines have been in effect since June 5, 2017. But with final enforcement dates quickly approaching, many OEMs are now eying these deadlines with new urgency and making the necessary design changes needed to comply.
Impacts to WICF condensing units and components The DOE’s WICF ruling directly applies to anyone manufacturing, producing, assembling or importing to certify WICF components. From a refrigeration system standpoint, compliant components refer to dedicated and packaged condensing units (indoor and outdoor) used in both new and retrofit applications, including:
Condensing units that are assembled to construct a new WICF
Condensing units used to replace an existing, previously installed WICF component (retrofit)
Condensing units used within packaged systems.
Other than the condensing units, unit coolers (evaporators), doors, panels and lighting are also within the jurisdiction of the DOE’s WICF ruling.
While impacted parties must meet the applicable standards based on the date of manufacture, contractors and wholesalers can still use and stock condensing units that were manufactured before the DOE enforcement dates. However, condensing units manufactured after the enforcement dates must meet the DOE compliance standards.
Meeting the AWEF standard The DOE uses a metric established by the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) to evaluate the energy efficiency of a complete WICF system. As defined by AHRI, the Annual Walk-In Energy Factor (AWEF) calculation is based on “a ratio of the total heat, not including the heat generated by the operation of refrigeration systems, removed, in Btu, from a walk-in box during a one-year period of usage for refrigeration to the total energy input of refrigeration systems, in watt-hours, during the same period”.
The DOE has defined several WICF equipment classes below the 3,000 square foot limit that must meet or exceed the minimum AWEF ratings based on capacity and application (e.g., medium- or low-temperature, indoor or outdoor). Condensing unit manufacturers and WICF OEMs must follow approved AWEF testing and certification procedures to comply.
How Emerson is helping OEMs As a manufacturer of condensing units for a wide range of commercial refrigeration applications, we are working to certify our WICF condensing according to the DOE’s minimum AWEF requirements. For WICF OEMs, these certified condensing units will help you achieve compliance in one of your primary refrigeration system components. Simply combine an Emerson AWEF-rated condensing unit with an AWEF-rated unit cooler in order to achieve compliance in a dedicated system.
Emerson also offers AWEF testing and certification services to OEMs through our Design Services Network (DSN). Not only are we helping OEMs to verify AWEF compliance, we’re also helping them to address refrigerant regulations — combining product development efforts into a single design cycle.
If you’re a WICF OEM that’s not sure how to comply with the DOE mandate, Emerson can help guide you through this transition in multiple ways. We will publish our condensing unit compliance data as the enforcement deadlines approach.
In today’s dynamic commercial refrigeration and AC markets, contractors are faced with an ever-increasing variety and complexity of applications. Whether you’re a seasoned technician or new to the trade, you need every advantage when troubleshooting and diagnosing issues for your customers. Service technicians have access to the latest technologies in their toolkits available to them on their mobile devices.
One such tool is the Copeland Mobile app.
Access the product database
The Copeland Mobile app connects contractors to the Emerson Online Product Information database for on-the-go access to 30 years of Copeland compressor product specifications. This feature-rich app helps contractors perform the following actions in the field:
View product specification and application engineering manuals
Cross-reference Copeland products with other compressor brands/models
Quickly troubleshoot and diagnose Copeland compressors
Check the availability of local product replacements
The Copeland Mobile app is designed to give you instant access to the product, installation and service information you need to service your customers. Simply scan the barcode on any Copeland compressor to pull up its specifications or quickly find the Copeland replacement of a competitor’s model.
Connect to the industry’s largest support network
When you launch the Copeland Mobile app, you’ll immediately connect to the industry’s largest support network, comprised of more than 1,000 Copeland-authorized locations and over 600 certified Copeland technical specialists. If you have additional questions about customer service, product support or availability, representatives from our American base of operations can quickly deliver the product and technical assistance you need.
Make your job easier and our products better
While the Copeland Mobile app is designed to make your job easier in the field, it’s also contributing to the research and development of future Copeland compressors. Every time you use the Copeland Mobile app, you’re helping us contribute to a database of product and competitive information that we’re using to build better compressors.
My colleague John Wallace, director of innovation, retail solutions, and I recently partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) GreenChill program to present a webinar about making the transition to an effective refrigerant architecture. In it, we discussed leading natural refrigerant systems, centralized and distributed options, and the controls schemes that support them. What follows are the key takeaways from that discussion, which you can view here in its entirety — last bullet under ‘Webinar Archives’.
Over the past decade, the transition toward natural refrigerants has been driven by a combination of dynamic market trends, which include: global refrigerant and food safety regulations, rapidly changing consumer expectations and corporate sustainability goals. This historic transition has helped accelerate the adoption and investigation of “future-proof” natural refrigerant architectures.
Regulatory drivers of transition to naturals
In the U.S., the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has not only fully implemented the now defunct EPA rules designed to limit the use of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants with high global warming potential (GWP), it is also actively working to enact more aggressive measures that would greatly impact future refrigeration system architectures. One current proposal under review would take effect in 2022 and mandate the following:
Systems charged with more than 50 pounds of refrigerant must use an option that is less than 150 GWP
New refrigerant sales with less than 50 pounds of refrigerant must use an option that is less than 1,500 GWP
But California is not alone in these initiatives; there are currently 25 states in the U.S. Climate Alliance which have vowed to follow its lead.
Since natural refrigerants are among a very small list of viable options capable of meeting the above criteria, the commercial refrigeration industry is likely to see an increase in system architectures designed to utilize natural options. These include centralized architectures for larger-charge systems and distributed (or micro-distributed) options for smaller-charged system types.
Leading natural refrigerants
When we think of natural refrigerants in commercial refrigeration, we are typically referring to R-744 (CO2 aka carbon dioxide), R-290 (refrigerant-grade propane) and R-744 (ammonia). Let’s look at their unique characteristics and how they can be effectively utilized.
CO2 has proved very effective in both low- and medium-temperature applications and is typically found in centralized systems such as secondary, cascade and transcritical booster. Having been successfully deployed in commercial and industrial applications in Europe for nearly two decades, it has made significant inroads in North America in recent years.
CO2 is not a retrofit refrigerant and is intended for use only in new systems. System designers, operators and technicians need to be aware of CO2’s unique characteristics, particularly its low critical point, high operating pressures and standing pressure (power outage) considerations. It has a GWP of 1, which puts it in an elite class of environmentally friendly options.
Propane continues to experience a global resurgence as a viable, efficient and very low-GWP refrigerant choice. Its high flammability has traditionally limited system charges to 150g, which is why today it’s found primarily in stand-alone systems that operate efficiently with a low refrigerant charge — such as integrated display cases often utilized in micro-distributed applications. In Europe and abroad, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) recently raised its charge limit to 500g; the U.S. conservatively remains at 150g. Also, propane is not a retrofit option and is intended for new systems designed specifically for its use.
With its superior thermodynamic properties, ammonia was a logical first choice for early refrigeration systems. However, its toxicity requires careful adherence to safe application procedures to ensure operator safety and customer well-being. Traditionally, it has been used in industrial, process cooling, cold storage and ice rink applications. Most recently, ammonia has been introduced into commercial applications via cascade systems that utilize lower refrigerant charges and isolate the ammonia circuit away from occupied spaces.
System controls to support natural refrigerant architectures
Because of the unique properties in these emerging natural refrigerant architectures, system controls are even more essential to ensuring efficient operation, troubleshooting and servicing. Generally, the controls are loosely coupled to the refrigeration architecture, often following either a centralized or distributed approach.
However, the expanding variety of natural refrigeration systems can also pose new challenges for operators trying to maintain controls consistency or access a unified view across different systems. Here, a supervisory system — with its ability to integrate different devices into a common user interface — ensures that all stakeholders can quickly and easily evaluate each refrigeration system.
As regulations continue to evolve and natural refrigerant systems gain more acceptance, Emerson is prepared to help equipment manufacturers, system designers and end users utilize these very low-GWP alternatives in the development of efficient, user-friendly and economically viable refrigeration systems.
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