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Magnitude of Industry Changes Discussed at Latest E360 Forum

Emerson recently wrapped up its fourth E360 Forum of 2016 on Oct. 12 in Tucson, Ariz. The daylong event was attended by more than 100 industry stakeholders — including wholesalers, equipment manufacturers, contractors and end users — and featured expert-led breakout sessions in food retail, foodservice and commercial AC market segments.

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Emerson’s Don Newlon, vice president and general manager of refrigeration, kicked off the Forum by discussing the sheer magnitude of changes that confront the refrigeration industry today. Between now and 2020, it will be faced with nine regulatory requirements related to energy reductions and refrigerant phase-outs. Achieving compliance will require unique strategies for reach-ins, ice machines, walk-ins and supermarket refrigeration equipment. Don explained how the industry is surmounting these challenges by balancing the four variables of the E360 platform: energy, environment, equipment and economics.

The Tucson E360 Forum came on the heels of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) latest Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) actions to change the status of refrigerants used in refrigeration and AC applications. Notably, SNAP Final Rule 21 added R-290 (propane) to the list of acceptable substitutes for self-contained commercial ice machines, further expanding the hydrocarbon’s applicability in commercial refrigeration.

Emerson’s Dr. Rajan Rajendran, vice president of system innovation center and sustainability, helped place this latest action into a broader context with a timely update on refrigerants. Rajan fielded many questions throughout his talk and discussed the global efforts to limit refrigerants with high global warming potential, specifically referring to an HFC phase-down amendment proposed by the parties to the Montreal Protocol — which incidentally came to pass just days after this event.

Joe Carbonara, editorial director at Foodservice Equipment and Supplies magazine, delivered an informative keynote address about consumer and operator trends in foodservice. Mr. Carbonara started his talk by reminding attendees that restaurants are everywhere, from hospitals and retirement homes to colleges and, of course, public restaurants. While smaller kitchen spaces and multi-function equipment are becoming the norm for operators, consumers continue to seek a combination of quality food, fast-casual dining, convenience and value. To be successful, operators need to develop strategies to deliver their core offerings to their unique customer base — a one-size-fits-all approach no longer works.

The bulk of the afternoon was comprised of a diverse program of breakout sessions, giving attendees the opportunity to get answers to their specific questions. Whether their focus was on implementing sustainable systems, better understanding leak detection or evaluating the potential of R-290, there truly was a breakout session for nearly every industry concern.

If you were unable to attend the recent E360 Forum in Tucson, you still can access its presentation decks in the archive section of our website. Be sure to watch for announcements of our 2017 E360 Forum locations, and make plans to join us if you can.

E360 Webinar to Focus on Efficiency Regulations and Refrigerant Changes in Commercial HVAC

The commercial HVAC industry is facing significant changes to energy efficiency regulations, safety standards and refrigerant changes over the next several years. In our next E360 Webinar, “Are You Ready for the Upcoming Efficiency Regulations and Refrigerant Changes in Commercial HVAC?”, we will look at the convergence of these activities, their timing and what the potential impacts are to commercial HVAC operators. David Hules, Emerson Climate Technologies’ director of commercial marketing, air conditioning business, will present this informative Webinar on August 2 at 2 p.m. EDT. The Webinar will begin by outlining key industry trends and then discuss options available to address imminent regulations.

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According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), HVACR comprises 50 percent of all energy consumed in U.S. commercial and residential buildings. On Jan. 1, 2018, the DOE will nationally adopt the IEER portion of the ASHRAE 90.1-2013 standard in A/C packaged and split systems to help mitigate this energy consumption. Currently, this building energy code has been adopted only minimally at a state level.

Meanwhile, the global movement to phase down hydcrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants will soon impact the A/C industry, specifically, proposed actions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to change the status (delist) of common chiller refrigerants such as HFC-I34a, R-410A and R-407A. As a result, the industry is moving toward new alternative refrigerants that have a much lower global warming potential, among these being mildly flammable A2L refrigerants. In response, national and international standards are under revision to evaluate the safety of A2L fluids as manufacturers move to develop A2L-based equipment.

The Webinar will also present incentive opportunities for complying with the Consortium for Energy Efficiency’s unitary specification for A/C and heat pumps that went into effect earlier this year — specifically, the energy efficiency ratios and integrated energy efficiency ratios for part load efficiencies per size category, system type and tier level. To achieve these efficiencies, there are a number of technology options on the table that will be discussed, including: multi-speed blower and condenser fans, modulated compressors, large coil heat exchangers and electronic controls.

The impacts of achieving these higher part load system efficiencies will also be explained:

  • Potentially higher first costs, yet lower operating costs
  • Increased in system footprint from larger heat exchanger surface area
  • Reduction in system refrigeration circuits
  • Increased use of mechanical modulation and variable speed compression technology

Finally, the Webinar will present the timing of these converging regulations and provide an opportunity for attendees to get answers to their specific concerns.

Register to join this informative Webinar taking place August 2 at 2 p.m. EDT, and don’t let the coming changes catch you unprepared.

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