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New E360 Webinar | What’s on the regulatory horizon in 2018?

JohnWallace_Blog_Image John Wallace | Director of Innovation, Retail Solutions

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Join us for our next E360 Webinar, “Regulations 2018: What’s Set, Pending and Proposed” on Tuesday, January 16 at 2 p.m. EST / 11 a.m. PST.

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If you’ve followed the regulatory activities impacting our industry over the past several years, you know that staying informed is half the battle. From new regulations introduced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) to the implementation of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the global cold chain has its share of regulatory hurdles to overcome.

Since 2014, Emerson has helped the industry not only make sense of these regulations, but also assisted our customers in making the transition to new refrigeration strategies that address our shared regulatory compliance challenges:

  • EPA phase-down of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants with high global warming potential (GWP)
  • DOE mandate of new energy-efficiency standards
  • FSMA food safety reforms

This effort is ongoing, and in many ways, we’re in the early phases of this transition. As we move into 2018, there are 10 significant regulatory targets on the horizon that will impact refrigerants and energy standards over the next four years.

Our next E360 Webinar will bring together a panel of experts to discuss the potential short- and long-term implications of these regulations and present key trends that are shaping our industry:

  • Rajan Rajendran, vice president — system innovation center and sustainability, will report on recent regulatory developments in refrigerant and energy standards.
  • Amy Childress, vice president — marketing & planning, cargo solutions, will discuss how automated temperature monitoring helps the perishable food industry comply with new FSMA rules.
  • I will explain how innovations in IOT, building management and control systems create smart buildings that contribute to the smart grid.

To make sure you’re prepared for the new year and the regulatory challenges to come, join us on Tuesday, January 16 at 2 p.m. EST / 11 a.m. PST for this informative webinar.

 

Refrigerant Leak Detection Technology Saves $$ and the Environment

I recently wrote an article featured in Contracting Business discussing the importance of refrigerant leak detection as an essential service for retailers and HVACR contractors.

Refrigerant leaks have long been viewed as an inevitable part of operating a retail refrigeration system.  Retailers often wrote these leaks off as the cost of doing business, but the impact of refrigerant leaks goes beyond what most may expect. The true costs of refrigerant leaks are often underestimated, and contractors who understand this impact will be more valuable partners for their clients.

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According to the EPA’s GreenChill research, the average supermarket loses about 25 percent — or about 875 pounds — of its refrigerant supply because of leaks. When you multiply this across many stores in a grocery chain, the costs can be significant — not only in terms of the cost of the refrigerant, but with associated labor costs. There is also a potential loss of business because of food disruptions and food quality issues that may arise.

Refrigerant leaks also have an environmental impact. Most commonly used refrigerants are greenhouse gases and some are ozone-depleting substances. Assuming a leak rate of 20 percent across a chain of 100 typical supermarket stores, the amount of refrigerant leaked annually is equivalent to the emissions of 24,000 cars or 10,600 homes.

The EPA has had regulations in place for a number of years as part of the Clean Air Act. Now, the EPA has proposed an update to those regulations governing most refrigerants that could impact both contractors and retail operators. Contractors who keep up with how these regulations are changing can be better retailer partners by aligning their services to meet these changes. An effective leak detection program can help retailers manage and properly repair refrigerant leaks and avoid costly EPA settlements.

The goal should be not only to establish proper leak detection response protocols, but also to institute proactive measures that minimize or eliminate leaks altogether. A zero-tolerance policy for leaks is ideal. Accurate detection methods, reliable notifications and continuous monitoring are the key elements needed for effective leak detection programs.

To learn more about refrigerant leak detection for contractors, read the full Contracting Business article here.

 For more than 20 years, Emerson Retail Solutions has been helping businesses like yours safeguard food, reduce energy consumption, protect the environment and optimize business results. To learn more about our technology solutions and services for retailers, visit our website.

 John Wallace
Director of Innovation
Emerson Climate Technologies Retail Solutions

Importance of Effective Leak Detection Explored in Recent E360 Webinar

In the fifteenth installment of Emerson Climate Technologies’ E360 Webinar series, Director of Innovation John Wallace presented “Understanding Refrigerant Leak Detection and Implementing Effective Programs.” The informative Webinar introduced the impacts of leak detection, provided an overview of current and proposed regulations, and discussed the key elements and technologies used in a leak detection program.

To place  leak detection in the proper context, Wallace explained that an average supermarket has approximately 3,500 pounds of refrigerant on-site, of which approximately 20 percent is lost each year to leaks. While the annual economic cost is nearly $5,000 for an individual store, across a chain of stores this impact becomes much more significant — $500,000 for a 100-site supermarket chain. In this scenario, that environmental impact is equivalent to 124,500 metric tons of CO2: the emissions of 24,000 cars or 10,600 homes. Wallace explained that refrigeration racks and cases are among the largest contributors to supermarket refrigerant leaks. He also provided links to the EPA’s financial impact calculators so that attendees could perform this analysis for their specific scenarios.

Wallace explained that understanding the regulatory landscape is equally as important. The EPA has announced a significant new alternatives policy (SNAP) proposal to amend Section 608 of its Clean Air Act, lowering its existing 35 percent leak detection threshold to 20 percent in industrial process refrigeration and commercial refrigeration. The SNAP proposal also calls for quarterly inspections for systems containing at least 500 pounds of refrigerant. Wallace pointed out the potential for inspections and reminded attendees to familiarize themselves with the EPA’s specific proposal to make sure they know the potential impacts to their particular application.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is also part of the leak detection regulatory landscape. Similar to Section 608, CARB is a state-specific measure that requires periodic leak inspections, reporting and follow-up actions. For systems containing more than 2,000 pounds of refrigerant charge, CARB has mandated the use of Automated Leak Detection (ALD) equipment to ensure ongoing, proper leak detection procedures. Wallace explained how the EPA’s SNAP proposal to Section 608 and CARB both shared some key characteristics, and that ALD equipment would be critical to detecting leaks, issuing notifications, and continuous monitoring and reporting.

Wallace presented the best practices of an effective leak detection program, starting by establishing a zero-tolerance policy that stresses the importance of detecting and minimizing leaks throughout an organization. Then, through utilization of leak detection technology, organizations can begin to correlate leak occurrences to specific equipment, analyze data to identify trends and implement corrective actions. Early detection and proper maintenance procedures are also critical to minimizing leak rates.

Finally, Wallace also talked about the technologies available to help organizations minimize the impacts of leak detection and help them achieve regulatory compliance. He discussed the two primary technology categories and their characteristics, all of which potentially meet CARB’s ALD requirement:

  • Direct — directly monitors the concentration of refrigerants in the air; made up of both active and passive types that can connect to a site monitoring system to provide notifications:
    • Active — centralized system with tubing technology that “sniffs” multiple zones
    • Passive — zone-specific infrared technology
  • Indirect — monitors and interprets the status and operation of the refrigeration system. This method generally uses existing sensors and hardware.

To learn more about leak detection and view this Webinar in its entirety, please visit our website.

Six Arguments that Make the Case for Case Control

In the U.S., the vast majority of refrigeration cases are controlled via circuit control. Yet, implementing individual case control leads to lower energy costs for retailers. At our 2014 Technology in Action Conference, we brought together three retail end users who are currently using case control in their supermarkets for a panel discussion on this topic. We addressed the benefits and challenges of installing case control, as well as asked the panelists to share their personal experiences with actual deployments.

During this discussion, a consensus emerged among the panel of retailers – each of whom is based in the Northeast region of the U.S., where there is currently a high concentration of case control stores. Each of the panelists shared that their companies are implementing case control in some way – as they remodel stores and build new facilities. As advocates for case control, they all agreed that its benefits and savings outweigh the potential challenges.

John Wallace (second on left) of Emerson Climate Technologies moderates a panel discussion on case control with retail end users (L to R): Steve Mitchell of King Kullen, Frank Vadino of Cold Technology and Kevin St. Phillips of Price Chopper.

John Wallace (second on left) of Emerson Climate Technologies moderates a panel discussion on case control with retail end users (L to R): Steve Mitchell of King Kullen, Frank Vadino of Cold Technology and Kevin St. Phillips of Price Chopper.

Below are six arguments – and some tips for successful implementation – from actual end users that make the case for case control:

  1. Case control installation is cost-effective. Installation with case control will be less expensive than the costs seen with a conventional mechanical valve store. With case control, you are able to drive down the electrical installation costs. Stores with conventional valves may also take longer to set up. Less time is spent on the case installation and set up with case control because a lot of the work can be done ahead of time; this allows the other store teams to work in conjunction with the case installation. You can set shelves, bring in groceries and burn off cooking equipment while the installation happens, rather than waiting until a case is full to the load line and environmental conditions are set.
  2. A kickoff meeting with prospective bidders is a crucial first step for a new project. When bidding a new project, it helps to ensure all parties involved understand the plan and specifications. A kickoff meeting allows you to sit down and explain the design methodology and how it differs from conventional systems. If you expect to see lower electrical installation costs, make sure you state this to the prospective bidders. It’s also important to have quality instruction documentation to support your project expectations.
  3. Training is critical when adopting case controls. Everyone involved needs to know how to use the equipment. Set up training for the mechanics so that they not only understand how the controls work, but also explain why you’ve elected to use case control. Making sure they understand the concept and getting the mechanics on board with case control can go a long way in helping them take ownership of the startup and maintenance of the equipment.
  4. When ordering new cases, have the controls mounted in the cases by the manufacturer. With high labor costs, you’ll see savings with ordering the controls already installed in new cases. You will still need to allocate time after the cases are installed to make sure that all connections are tight and the wiring is set up correctly, but opting for manufacturer installed controls will also allow for quicker installation.
  5. Use case controls to better manage your facility and your maintenance teams. Case controls provide a better level of visibility and control of your facilities. The data collected provides valuable information to help evaluate a problem and diagnose it properly. If something isn’t working correctly, technicians are able to call the supervision team, who has access to the system remotely, to help walk them through the issue. Technicians can also access system information on a smart phone or tablet while in the field. And, you can set restrictions to allow varying levels of access to the system information – or you can override the system, when needed. Electronic expansion valves can also help reduce truck rolls and decrease the inventory needed on technician trucks.
  6. There are different strategies for successful case control conversion. As case control is adopted by more retailers in the U.S., we’re seeing different approaches to case control conversion by various organizations. Some have opted to switch their stores to case control as they remodel, retrofitting the cases in any stores going through a remodel with electronic controls at that time. And for larger remodels, they may order new cases with the controls factory installed. Another method is to go into existing stores with conventional systems for an energy conversion project and retrofit the cases with electronic controls; this may be done with a controlled conversion, switching a few racks in a store at a time, or by converting the whole store. And with new builds, many opt to simplify the electrical construction by installing case control from the start.
John Wallace (far left) of Emerson Climate Technologies with retail customers (L to R): Frank Vadino of Cold Technology, Steve Mitchell of King Kullen and Kevin St. Phillips of Price Chopper.

John Wallace (far left) of Emerson Climate Technologies with retail customers (L to R): Frank Vadino of Cold Technology, Steve Mitchell of King Kullen and Kevin St. Phillips of Price Chopper.

For more information on Emerson Climate Technologies offering of case controls for supermarkets and convenience stores, please visit the XM Series Case Control page on our website.

John Wallace
Director of Innovation, Retail Solutions
Emerson Climate Technologies

Five Keys to Success for Convenience Stores Using Control Systems

I’ve recently written about savings opportunities and the benefits of control systems for convenience stores. To follow up on these previous posts, I’ve included my thoughts below on three features to look for in state of the art systems and the five keys to success for convenience store controls.

In creating our new small format control system, ecoSYS Site Supervisor, we learned more about the way people interact with the product, which ultimately changed our design techniques from engineering-centered to human-centered design. We spent a lot of time talking to people who actually use the product to better understand their interaction to create a system that works for them. This insight helped me shape my views around a state of the art control system.

Five Keys to Success for Convenience Stores Using Control Systems

What does a state of the art control systems look like? The three key features you want to look for are:

  • User interface: Ideally, the user interface is web-based, allowing facility managers the ability to view the technology anywhere, including on mobile devices. Customizable user interfaces and role-based user management give the person accessing the system a better user experience.
  • Alarm flexibility: Remote alarm notifications, through SMS and email, can signal a problem when a facility manager is offsite. Smart categorization for alarms is also beneficial, allowing the user to customize the alarms with names used by the organization.
  • Enterprise management: A web-based or server-based system provides the ability to capture data from all stores, which can be analyzed for operational performance. You can also view and control the systems in all stores across an enterprise.

Once you’ve identified the need for a control system within your enterprise, and you’re ready to implement controls, successful engagement with the system is even more important. Below are my five keys to success for convenience stores using facility controls:

  1. Think through who needs to interact with the system: Who would you like to have access to the control system – store personnel, on-site technicians, or maintenance and energy managers? Think about this first before deciding if access will be available for everyone.
  2. Standardize the system configurations: Make configurations for HVAC and lighting schedules, refrigeration control settings and additional monitoring points as similar as possible throughout all stores. There will always be some differences to account for, but standardization across an enterprise is helpful for everyone to understand the system capabilities and their actions.
  3. Determine how you want to handle alarms: It’s important to plan the way alarms will be managed before startup. Determine whether you will avoid nuisance alarms. Review thresholds and critical vs. noncritical alarms. Think through alarm notifications, schedules for off hours vs. peak hours, and the differences between HVAC and refrigeration alarms.
  4. Insure all data is used appropriately: Analyze the information collected through the system to identify problem areas. Alarms and other relevant data can be used to target maintenance and equipment replacement.
  5. Place a high importance on training: Do not underestimate the need for a thorough, simple training program for all people who will interact with the system. Set up training before the systems are installed, and schedule ongoing training as needed.

What have you found to be most successful? Please share your experience in the comments below.

John Wallace
Director of Innovation, Retail Solutions
Emerson Climate Technologies

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