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California Energy Commission Postpones Title 24 Energy Code until July 2014

Supermarket Refrigerated SectionCalifornia Energy Commission (CEC) authorities are delaying the implementation of the new Title 24 Energy Conservation Code by six months.  The CEC believes that postponing the effective date is necessary to allow the industry to prepare for the new standards.  This new energy code will have a major impact on new supermarket construction.

Energy Efficiency Standards for Residential and Nonresidential Buildings (Title 24) were established in 1978 in response to a legislative mandate to reduce California’s energy consumption. The standards are updated periodically to allow consideration and possible incorporation of new energy efficiency technologies and methods. These standards apply to residential, nonresidential, high-rise residential, and hotel and motel buildings.

New energy-efficiency standards are outlined in Section 6 of California‘s Title 24 building code to include supermarket refrigeration systems. The 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards (or 2013 Standards) will take effect on July 1, 2014.  Section 120.6 includes the following mandatory requirements for supermarket refrigeration systems:

  • Floating head pressure (down to 70°F or lower)
  • Remote condenser specific efficiency
  • Floating suction pressure
  • Mechanical subcooling (liquid subcooling requirements for low temp parallel racks)
  • Display case lighting control
  • Refrigeration heat recovery (without increasing HFC charge)

Supermarkets affected by these changes include an 8,000 square feet small neighborhood markets, all the way to a 150,000 square feet big box stores. Parallel rack refrigeration systems and distributed refrigeration systems must meet these new requirements.

Floating head pressure requires controls to float refrigeration system saturated condensing temperature (SCT) to 70°F during low-ambient temperature conditions. Condenser specific efficiency sets condenser fan motor efficiency requirements. Floating suction pressure requires controls to set target suction temperatures based on space temperature rather than a fixed set point. Mechanical subcooling requires liquid refrigerant to be subcooled to 50°F or less on low-temperature systems. Automated display case lighting must turn off display case lights during non-business hours. Finally, heat recovery must use rejected heat from refrigeration systems for space heating, with a limited increase in refrigerant charge.

According to a notice from the California Energy Commission, the revised effective date – July 1, 2014 will provide the building industry with full complement of tools to comply with the prescriptive and performance compliance options and sufficient time for training on the use of those tools.

Rajan Rajendran, Ph.D
Vice President, Engineering Services and Sustainability
Emerson Climate Technologies

Advancing Ozone and Climate Protection Technologies Conference

I recently made a trip to Bangkok to speak at the Advancing Ozone and Climate Protection Technologies—Next Steps Second International Conference on June 29-30. The conference addressed alternatives for air conditioning, foams, refrigeration, and other sectors, with a special focus on standards for climate-friendly alternatives.

On the first day of the conference, I presented “Promising Low-GWP Options in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Applications” which covered recent advances in the research for new refrigerants and the role Life Cycle Climate Performance plays for both air conditioning and refrigeration systems. A variety of solutions that utilize low GWP refrigerants for air conditioning and refrigeration applications were showcased at the conference. For the air conditioning systems, a range of Copeland Scroll™ compressors operating with R32 refrigerant was exhibited along with expansion valves and system protection components.  These compressors can be used with either liquid or vapor injection to provide system design flexibility and optimization of system performance and cost.

CO2-stream-compressor

CO2 Stream Compressor

For the refrigeration market, the Copeland™ Stream compressor for R744 refrigerant was displayed. This 4-cylinder compressor for CO2 transcritical applications is designed for medium temperature cascade and booster systems.  It features CoreSense™ diagnostics, allowing for compressor protection, predictive diagnostics, communication with Emerson’s supervisory controls, and stepless capacity modulation by variable frequency drive from 25 to 75 Hz.  In addition, a range of hermetic reciprocating compressors for R290 that are optimized for maximum performance were on display. 

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

Innovative and Energy-Saving Ideas Mark a New Era in the Building Industry for India and Southeast Asia

Revealed through outstanding entries in The Emerson Cup – India and Southeast Asia awards, the region is positioned as one of the leaders in creative energy-saving concepts.

The practice of green building results in a range of environmental, economic and social benefits. It helps countries save precious resources, businesses to reduce operating costs, enables people to live in healthier, more environmentally sustainable homes, and much more. In countries like India and parts of Southeast Asia, the construction industry is one of the largest economic activities contributing to development today, witnessing tremendous growth in the building and construction sector. Fast rising income levels are leading to lifestyle changes for various sections of the society. While this is a healthy trend, it is putting enormous demand on resources – like energy, water, materials, etc.

Fortunately, India, Thailand, Indonesia and some of the other Southeast Asian countries realize that it is increasingly important to adopt energy-efficient solutions in construction. The HVACR industry makes a significant contribution to the green building movement with opportunities for improvement in energy efficiency and indoor air quality. The Emerson Cup – India & Southeast Asia annual awards organized by Emerson Climate Technologies to recognize outstanding innovations and energy-efficient design in the air-conditioning and refrigeration industry, receives a high level of entries from this region every year revealing that it is ahead of the curve in green energy thinking.

The Emerson Cup 2012 award ceremony, celebrating its 5th anniversary, was held on October 31, 2012 at Hyderabad city, Andhra Pradesh, India during the 10th Indian Green Building Congress (IGBC). The winning entries displayed impressive innovations in building design and HVAC. The Emerson Cup 2012 had four award categories – New Building, New Building – with Emerson Technologies, Retrofit Building, and Students (Engineering & Architecture).

Energy Commission Diamond BuildingEnergy Commission Diamond Building (Putrajaya, Malaysia) won the Excellence Award under the New Building category for some of its unique features. Designed by Primetech Engineers Sdn Bhd, this building enjoys chilled water supply from gas district cooling. With OTTV fairly low at 35 W/m2K, it is getting renewable energy from photovoltaic, uses recyclable materials, and applies radiant cooling with thermal mass storage, leading to powering up this new structure with less than 10% of its development cost! They also have a rain water harvesting provision that saves more than 70% of water usage.

Hotel Jaypee Vasant ContinentalAnother highly innovative project that won an Excellence award was the retrofitting of Hotel Jaypee Vasant Continental (New Delhi, India). With water cooled screw chillers (capacity: 285TR X 3), this 30-year old hotel optimizes air-conditioning systems within the prevailing constraints. Various energy saving measures were implemented for the best energy efficiency without compromising guest comfort. This project is enjoying an attractive ROI ranging as low as 1-3 years.

Holy StadiumOne of the projects that stood out was the Holy Stadium (Indonesia) that won the Excellence award in the New Building – With Emerson Technologies category. This building has a 1,152HP package system installed with Copeland Scroll™ compressors. Some of the key project highlights were – 25-30% heat gain reduction by using passive design concept “shell and core building”; Jet nozzle installed to cool the occupant area; Air-ducting eliminated by 80%; Total cooling load reduced by 20%; Applied active heat-pipe air-conditioning with scroll compressor.

The Emerson Cup 2012 also awarded a Special Mention to a special sample project called ‘Prana’ by renowned architect Sharukh Mistry of Mistry Architects that was highly appreciated by the independent judging panel for its uniqueness. According to Mr. Mistry, Prana is a beautiful name which means “Life Energy, Life Force – the magic that we take for granted”.  Prana is a green initiative by the Indian Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers to showcase the latest green technologies like scroll chillers and radiant cooling. In this project, an Earth Air tunnel system is demonstrated, where 72 meters of underground piping is helping this home-office draw cooled fresh air from the ground underneath through air ducts that are hardly visible. It has rain water harvesting facility and low water toilet fittings. Part of the power is being generated through solar PV cells of 3KW.

There have been many such winning entries at The Emerson Cup awards over the course of last five years. Detailed case studies can be viewed at:

 www.EmersonClimate.com/TheEmersonCup or www.Slideshare.net/TheEmersonCup

Commercial Building Energy Specifications

The DOE and CBEA have some useful technology specifications out, and many more in the works.  The concept is similar to ENERGY STAR – the equipment buyer now has a guide to the most energy efficient equipment.  Besides listing products that meet the specification, they also list available incentives for the end user.  If you are a commercial or retail operator or manager, check out the work that the CBEA is doing around commercial refrigeration and air conditioning.   The list of retailers participating in the program is impressive.  The working group for refrigeration is involved in many of the same activities that we are – new refrigeration systems and components, including display cases, coolers and freezers, compressor systems, and controls.  If you are involved in selection or specification of equipment, do you find these specifications useful?  Are you searching for the most energy efficient equipment?  Let us know.

For more information on the CBEA: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/commercial/cbea.html

Rajan Rajendran, Ph.D
Vice President, Engineering Services and Sustainability
Emerson Climate Technologies

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