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Posts tagged ‘Energy Star’

Wrapping up a Conversation on Refrigerants … for Now

The topic of refrigerants is one of the most dynamic, evolving subjects in the refrigeration and air condition industries today. Worldwide, the desire to limit the global warming potential (GWP) of refrigerants is a growing concern. And, in some regions, such as the European Union, the pressure to phase out F-gases is resulting in the wider adoption of new and alternative refrigerant types in many common applications. While we witnessed the transition from CFCs to HCFCs and HFCs in the 1980s and 1990s, increasing growth of developing nations such as China and India is prompting regulators and refrigerant equipment manufacturers to explore the next generation of refrigerants. Already, there has been significant progress in this effort.

At our recent Making Sense webinar, A Conversation on Refrigerants, presented live from the AHR show floor, I was fortunate enough to invite some of the industry’s thought leaders on this subject to discuss the current refrigerant trends and take a look at what’s on the horizon. Our distinguished guests weighed in on the plethora of refrigerants that are being developed as current, low-GWP alternatives and future, lower GWP transitional options come into view.

Brett Van Horn, market manager, HVAC, Fluorochemicals, Arkema, Inc., stressed the importance of balancing GWP potential with safety, availability and cost (not just the refrigerant, but the system itself) when selecting refrigerants. Brett cautioned against adopting a less energy efficient, low GWP refrigerant option, lest one negate those environmental gains by increasing their overall carbon footprint.
Mark W. Spatz, global refrigerant technology leader, Honeywell’s Fluorine Products, added that each application should be carefully evaluated individually in order to decide what makes the best sense for each particular situation. Mark asserted that energy efficiency and safety, while important, must also be considered alongside the bottom line cost to own or operate the equipment (i.e., first cost, repair, and replacement costs of the refrigerant itself).

Barbara Minor, senior technical fellow, DuPont Fluoroproducts, talked about cascaded systems that are being deployed in E.U. supermarkets that utilize 134a for medium temperatures, and CO2 for its optimal performance in low temperatures. Barbara explained how the most commonly used refrigerant in supermarkets, R404A, is coming under increasing pressure to be eliminated and that many alternatives to R404A are readily available.

At Emerson Climate, we’ve seen a lot of interest in CO2, ammonia and propane refrigerants, and we’re developing products with these emerging refrigerants in mind. Because many of the new refrigerants proposed as replacements for today’s common refrigerants are mildly flammable, it may take quite some time for codes/standards to be established and thus drive market adoption. But, as our conversation on refrigerants revealed, the trend toward lower GWP gases will continue to shape our industry in the decades to come. You can trust that Emerson will be on the forefront of these developments.

If you missed A Conversation on Refrigerants or any of Making Sense webinar series, you can download the “on demand” version at your convenience by visiting our website at: www.emersonclimate.com/makingsensewebinars.

Rajan Rajendran, Ph.D
Vice President, Engineering Services and Sustainability
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”:

http://www.emersonclimate.com/en-us/Resources/Energy/Documents/2005ECT172.pdf

Craig Raney
Director of Marketing, Refrigeration
Emerson Climate Technologies

My MUFES Experience – “Let’s Get The Heat Out Of The Kitchen!”

My experience attending and presenting at the Multiunit Foodservice Equipment Symposium (MUFES) at the Barton Creek Resort in Austin, TX this month was wonderful.  Robin Ashton and his team at Foodservice Equipment Reports put together a two day agenda that included everything from presentations on trends in the foodservice industry to how to specify the efficient kitchen.  I learned a lot from the presentations but had equal learning from conversations with foodservice consultants and operators during breaks and evening events.

There were two key takeaways for me.  The first was that lowering energy usage is at the top of everyone’s mind.   There was a lot of discussion about ENERGY STAR equipment and the money it can save.  Another idea in this area that makes a lot of sense to me was to “get the heat out of the kitchen”.  Refrigerators, freezers, food prep tables and ice machines all disperse heat back into the kitchen in most facilities.  This isn’t a bad process in cold weather climates; however, in warm weather climates where kitchens especially heat up during the summer months, the air conditioning systems run longer and use more energy.  Because of this, the University of Texas has gone through a restructuring to put condensing units outside of its facilities resulting in significant energy cost savings.  This is a model worth more investigation and thought.

My second key takeaway is that we must do a better job communicating through the channel (but especially to end users) how diagnostic and protection devices that are now available on some refrigeration equipment can significantly reduce an operator’s total cost of ownership.  Since adding diagnostic and protection devices to equipment that Emerson provides, we have seen warranty claims cut by more than 33%. Operators have cut back 1 out of every 3 compressors in which they used to pay to have replaced, and the decrease in down time to equipment gives operators more time to serve their customers.

MUFES Follow Up Post 130626

In this day of constrained resources, where everyone is trying to do more with less, it is often hard to find time to attend industry events or symposiums.  I am glad I attended MUFES. I found it to be very rewarding because of the information shared and the ideas it generated.

Do you have new ideas for the foodservice industry?  Let us know.  I’m interested in your comments and feedback.

Craig Raney
Director of Marketing, Refrigeration
Emerson Climate Technologies

LEED v4

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

Multiunit Foodservice Equipment Symposium on June 12

The Multiunit Foodservice Equipment Symposium (MUFES) is a premier event with an advanced technology curriculum and a networking-friendly environment. I will present Refrigeration’s Shifting Technologies at the symposium in Austin, Texas on June 12 from 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. During my presentation, I will discuss the recent advances in refrigeration system components, the changing landscape in energy consumption and the coming generation of new refrigerants.

Emerson works closely with hundreds of manufacturers of commercial refrigeration and air conditioning equipment.  Driven by energy regulations and guidelines such as ENERGY STAR, this equipment continually evolves to become more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. Within the commercial sector, foodservice has the highest energy use per square foot, due largely to the need for commercial refrigerators and freezers.  All of this equipment – ice machines, refrigerators, walk-in coolers and rooftop air conditioners – benefits from recent compressor innovations, new refrigerants, and improvements in system efficiency.

Stay tuned to this blog, and I will follow-up after this event with things that I have learned.

Craig Raney
Director of Marketing, Refrigeration
Emerson Climate Technologies

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