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[New E360 Webinar] Attract the Next Generation of HVACR Technicians

RajanRajendran2 Rajan Rajendran | V.P., System Innovation Center and Sustainability

Emerson’s Commercial & Residential Solutions Business

Every year on June 26, Emerson pauses to recognize World Refrigeration Day (WRD) and celebrate the people and technologies responsible for creating and maintaining temperature-controlled environments. To commemorate this year’s WRD, we will be hosting an E360 Webinar on Wednesday, July 7 at 9 a.m. EDT/6 a.m. PDT that will focus on the importance of attracting and recruiting the next generation of HVACR service technicians. Our E360 Webinar will build off the theme of WRD 2021, Cooling Champions: Cool Careers for a Better World, by exploring the emerging career opportunities available in the HVACR technician profession.

For more than a decade, the commercial refrigeration industry has faced a growing challenge finding qualified service technicians to service and maintain an increasingly complex variety of refrigeration architectures. As the previous generation of technicians retire and fewer candidates enter the field, our industry faces an urgent need for a new generation of skilled technicians. Emerson has long been a champion of bridging this career gap by highlighting the abundance of opportunities for young people seeking a viable long-term career path outside of a four-year college education.

This E360 Webinar is part of our continued commitment to solving this industry-wide dilemma. We will begin by discussing related industry trends and highlight the many positive aspects of an HVACR technician career, including:

  • Leveraging advanced technologies and modern tools
  • Equipping technicians with skills that allow them to immediately earn a competitive wage
  • Providing co-op opportunities that allow technicians to earn a paycheck while learning their trade
  • Earning more money than people with higher levels of education
  • Learning skills that contribute to making the world a better place
  • Inspiring passion in HVACR professions
  • Educating, recruiting and retaining technicians

After exploring current trends and opportunities, the webinar will feature a roundtable discussion with global Emerson stakeholders about strategies for recruiting the next generation of HVACR technicians. Panelists will include:

  • Joe Healy, director, application engineering (technical support) — Asia and MEA
  • Trevor Matthews, HVACR training & development specialist (marketing/business dev) — Canada
  • Alonso Amor, director of engineering services (technical support); Carlos Obella, VP, engineering services and product management (technical support) — Latin America
  • Don Gillis, technical training specialist (education/training); Becky Hoelscher, director, aftermarket sales (outside sales); Jennifer Butsch, director, regulatory affairs (marketing/business dev); Nicholas Didier, mechanical technician (R&D/engineering) — U.S.

As a recent vocational school graduate and participant in Emerson’s pre-apprenticeship program at The Helix Innovation Center, Nicholas Didier will close out the webinar by discussing his unique vocational and career path, including his recent distinction as a “20 under 20” award winner.

To celebrate WRD with Emerson and learn about how we’re helping to recruit the next generation of HVACR technicians, register for this important webinar.

 

 

 

European Retailer Selects A2L as the Basis of Its Refrigerant Transition

RajanRajendran2 Rajan Rajendran | V.P., System Innovation Center and Sustainability

Emerson’s Commercial & Residential Solutions Business

As the transition from hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants with high global warming potential (GWP) continues in the U.S., commercial refrigeration stakeholders are actively pursuing emerging low-GWP alternatives. Among these include a variety of synthetic and natural options, from A1s with a familiar footprint to mildly flammable A2Ls to the naturals A3 (R-290) and CO2 — all of which can meet very-low GWP thresholds but have varying characteristics which dictate system design architectures. In our most recent E360 Webinar, a leading European retailer provided details about how they chose an A2L refrigerant as the basis for their organization’s refrigerant transition.

Although A2L safety standards have yet to be finalized in the U.S., the case study presented by Brian Churchyard, senior manager of engineering and energy of UK-based ASDA stores, provided a useful framework for how U.S. retailers could follow a similar path to regulatory compliance and sustainable refrigeration. He detailed ASDA’s journey toward lower-GWP refrigeration, which ultimately concluded in the selection of A2L refrigerant R-454A with a GWP of 238.

Creating a new refrigeration design standard

Churchyard explained how ASDA formed a collective working group comprised of numerous agencies, private businesses and industry experts to conduct a detailed assessment of A2Ls. The group developed a design standard for the safe application of their chosen refrigerant, which was based on existing data from the use of R-290 (even though A2L flammability levels were well below those of R-290).

After comparing the performance of A2L refrigerants to other alternatives through numerous trials, the ASDA team concluded that their new design standard achieved their objectives of lowering capital investment, energy consumption, lifecycle costs and carbon emissions. It’s important to note that while R-454A does not have the lowest GWP of the available A2L alternatives, it offered performance improvements that helped to meet these sustainability goals while adhering to the EU’s F-Gas regulatory requirements.

Moving to an A2L also required a reduction in refrigerant charge, which dictated that ASDA would also need to transition from large, centralized rack systems to smaller distributed remote systems. Churchyard said that other benefits of a decentralized approach included limiting the potential for leaks while eliminating risk by having a single point of failure.

Focus on safety and leak mitigation

Of course, safety is a primary concern when using a flammable or mildly flammable refrigerant, and minimizing leaks was an essential part of ASDA’s design strategy. Churchyard stressed that leak prevention was a top priority in all their refrigeration system trials — whether it was an A1 HFC, CO2, hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) or A3 refrigerant. Preventing leaks not only minimizes the potential for emissions, but also ensures that the system is operating at full capacity and efficiency.

Churchyard said that in the event of a leak, display cases are equipped with a modular alarm system integrated into the case controller. If leakage is detected within a case, the system will activate an alarm that effectively triggers a shut-off valve that stops refrigerant flow to a particular display case. In addition, leakage thresholds are set at such a low level as to prevent the potential for A2L ignition. Quality inherent among system joints, connections and proper installation was a major collective focus of the new design standard, which included remote distributed refrigeration plants and their associated display cases.

Churchyard said case upgrades were often the first part of their refrigerant transition strategy. When store operators identified existing HFC cases that needed to be replaced, the first step was to upgrade to cases that were compatible for A2L use — even though they were still using an A1. Then, when the distributed A2L refrigeration plants were installed, these stores could safely transition over to the use of the R-454A A2L refrigerant.

ASDA has been leveraging this strategy since 2019, when it was recognized as the first retailer to adopt an all-A2L refrigerant strategy. To learn more details about ASDA’s successful refrigerant transition, please view this webinar.

The Helix: Bold Collaboration & Disruptive Innovation

RajanRajendran2 Rajan Rajendran | V.P., System Innovation Center and Sustainability

Emerson’s Commercial & Residential Solutions Business

When Emerson first opened The Helix Innovation Center, we envisioned it as a catalyst to advance research and drive innovation for the global heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) industry.

In only a few short years, it has surpassed our best expectations, quickly becoming a place where industry experts can come together and work collaboratively to confront and solve some of the biggest challenges facing not just our industry, but our communities and the entire planet.

A perfect example of this is the work we’ve done at The Helix in regard to sustainable supermarket refrigeration. We recently introduced a new distributed scroll booster refrigeration architecture for retail operators that will help them meet their sustainability goals without introducing unnecessary serviceability complexities.

The Copeland™ scroll booster architecture helps reduce emissions from refrigeration systems by utilizing reduced charges of lower global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants and system design strategies that maximize energy efficiencies. It is designed for maximum application flexibility and optimized for use with a low-pressure refrigerant, R-513A.

This flexible architecture fills an urgent need within the food retail market, which is looking for commercially viable technology and equipment that not only delivers efficiency and simplicity, but also provides a positive impact on the environment. Until now, there has not been a single system architecture that addressed the wide range of sustainability objectives, as well as system cost and long-term serviceability considerations.

The combination of high performance, sustainability and serviceability made the distributed scroll booster an ideal choice for the Gem City Market, a new small-format supermarket that opened this April in a food desert in Dayton, Ohio.

The work being done at The Helix became a focal point for the project as Dayton community members, city officials and commercial refrigeration industry leaders came together to identify a solution that met the market’s configuration of the distributed scroll booster system that met the store’s unique footprint, floorplan and refrigeration requirements.

Special thanks to business partners Chemours and Hussmann, and my own company, Emerson, for donating expertise, resources and equipment for this important installation

This is a great example of why we built The Helix. There is no shortage of great ideas, innovative technology and dedicated commitment in the industry. Our innovation center provides an ideal place where are these elements can come together to achieve great things for our industry and our communities.

 

 

 

[New E360 Webinar] Preparing for the Safe Use of A2L Refrigerants in Commercial Refrigeration

RajanRajendran2 Rajan Rajendran | V.P., System Innovation Center and Sustainability

Emerson’s Commercial & Residential Solutions Business

The recent passing of the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act is accelerating the phasedown of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants and renewing the search for viable refrigerant alternatives, including those classified as A2L (mildly flammable) and A3 (highly flammable). But while A2Ls are among the leading alternatives capable of achieving regulatory requirements, the safety standards governing their use in the U.S. have yet to be finalized. Our next E360 Webinar — which will take place on Thursday, May 27 at 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT — will feature a panel discussion about how A2Ls have been successfully deployed in regions where they have already been approved.

Around the globe, the phasedown of HFC refrigerants is prompting a transition toward alternatives with lower global warming potential (GWP). While A2Ls and A3 have been approved for use in Europe and are now widely adopted in commercial refrigeration applications there, the development of safety standards is ongoing within the U.S.

Currently, several industry working groups are evaluating A2Ls and A3s in equipment and field applications, including UL 60335-2-89 (the equipment standard based on IEC 60335-2-89) and ASHRAE-15 (the application standard updated for commercial refrigeration based on ISO 5149) — both of which are approaching the final phases of approval.

Our upcoming E360 Webinar will explore one European retailer’s sustainability journey from HFCs to low-GWP A2L refrigerants. As part two of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute’s (AHRI) webinar series, How to Not Only Survive, but “Win” the Refrigeration Industry HFC Phasedown, this webinar will provide an opportunity for the U.S. to learn from their experience and prepare for a future with A2L refrigerants.

The webinar will include the following experts and practitioners:

  • Helen Walter-Terrinoni of AHRI
  • Lauren MacGowens of AHRI
  • Tim Anderson of Hussmann Corporation
  • Stephen Spletzer of The Chemours Company
  • Brian Churchyard of ASDA (a European retailer)

Attendees will learn about the key points of the European retailer’s journey:

  • Defining sustainability goals and objectives — and meeting them
  • Transitioning from A1s (HFCs) to A2Ls
  • Applying A2L systems in a safe and effective way
  • Understanding the impacts on store and equipment design, training and maintenance
  • Imparting lessons learned along the way

To learn more about the status of U.S. safety standards and how to use A2L refrigerants safely and effectively in retail applications, register for this informative webinar.

 

[E360 Webinar Wrap-up] Refrigerant Rulemaking Recap: Regulatory Uptick Expected for 2021

RajanRajendran2 Rajan Rajendran | V.P., System Innovation Center and Sustainability

Emerson’s Commercial & Residential Solutions Business

 

The commercial refrigeration and air conditioning sectors are currently experiencing an active period of refrigerant rulemaking. As we move through the first quarter of 2021, our industry is evaluating a variety of regulatory activities and climate initiatives — at both the state and federal levels — that govern the transition to lower global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants and the safe use of flammable alternatives. I recently co-hosted an E360 webinar with Jennifer Butsch, Emerson’s regulatory affairs director, to discuss current developments and explore their potential impacts on our industry. We were joined by Helen Walter-Terrinoni, vice president of regulatory affairs for the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI).

As global regulatory efforts to phase down the use of HFC refrigerants continue in earnest, the transition to alternatives with lower GWP is gaining momentum in the U.S. At the state level, California is preparing for its next phase of rulemaking, while more U.S. Climate Alliance states leverage the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Rules 20 and 21 as the bases for their own environmental initiatives. In addition, a new presidential administration and the passing of new federal legislation represent significant shifts in U.S. regulatory dynamics — resuming our global participation in combating climate change and giving the EPA authority to govern HFCs.

But the progression of refrigerant rulemaking along both state and federal lines continues to create complexity for an industry that seeks guidance in understanding and applying an ever-evolving, complex mix of regulations.

California Air Resources Board (CARB) Seeks to Finalize Proposals

In 2019, California was the first state to adopt EPA SNAP Rules 20 and 21 in their entirety. Since then, CARB has developed additional proposals to meet its stated 2030 emissions-reduction targets. For commercial refrigeration, these proposed refrigerant regulations target the installation of new refrigeration systems greater than 50lbs:

  • 150 GWP limit for systems installed in new facilities
  • In existing facilities, food retailers must choose from one of the following company-wide reduction targets:
    • Reduce their weighted average GWP below 1,400
    • Achieve a 55% or greater reduction in their greenhouse gas potential (GHGp) below 2019 baseline levels by 2030
  • Other GWP limits for systems in existing facilities include a 750 limit for ice rinks and a 1500 – 2000 limit for industrial refrigeration

In air conditioning applications, the CARB proposal targets a 750 GWP limit across multiple end uses in the coming years:

  • 2023: room AC and dehumidifiers
  • 2024: AC chillers (consistent with SNAP Rule 21)
  • 2025: residential and commercial AC
  • 2026: variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems

CARB has also introduced its Refrigerant Recycle, Recovery and Reuse (R4) program, which proposes new air conditioning equipment in 2023 and 2024 to use reclaimed R-410A refrigerant in an amount equal to 10% of equipment operating charge in California. In addition, CARB has stated that it will expand its R4 program by introducing new rulemaking this year.

U.S. Climate Alliance States Adopt Legislation

Among the 25 member states that have joined the U.S. Climate Alliance, nine have finalized legislation for adopting SNAP Rules 20 and 21 into law. Like the original EPA rules, the timings of enforcement dates are end-use specific and designed to be phased in over several years. But because the start dates of these rules differ among the nine member states, our industry faces an increasingly complex patchwork of compliance schedules.

As Walter-Terrinoni pointed out in the webinar, the prospect of new federal legislation may give these and other states the option to pursue a consistent, nationwide approach to the refrigeration phase-down. States could place their focus on the local level, where they can further the advancement of building codes and safety standards.

Federal HFC Phase-down Takes AIM

Regulatory activity is also picking up at the federal level, starting with the EPA’s proposed SNAP Rule 23, which reaffirms its commitment to approve low-GWP refrigerants. The proposal lists several mildly flammable (A2L) refrigerants, including R-452B, R-454A, R-454B, R-454C, R-457 and R-32 as acceptable, subject to use conditions in new residential and light commercial air conditioners and heat pumps. For retail food refrigeration — medium-temperature, stand-alone units — SNAP Rule 23 lists A1 refrigerants R-448A, R-449A and R-449B as acceptable, subject to narrowed use limits. Emerson and other industry stakeholders have asked for further clarification on these restrictions, as these A1s have already been listed as acceptable without limitations in many other commercial refrigeration applications.

As part of major pandemic relief legislation, the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act was passed and signed into law in late 2020. This legislation gives the EPA the authority to phase down HFC production and consumption limits in a manner consistent with the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol within nine months. It also authorizes the EPA to regulate HFCs through sector based rulemaking and establish standards for HFC management — servicing, repair, recover, recycle and reclaim — similar to CARB’s R4 program. This is welcome news for our industry, as it paves the way for a federally guided, low-GWP refrigerant transition, which would minimize the complexities of differing state-led regulations.

Under the new Biden administration, the U.S. has rejoined the Paris Agreement and is taking steps to ratify the Kigali Amendment. These are among many early indications of this administration’s commitment to combat climate change at home and abroad.

A2L, A3 Standards and Codes Progress

With the industry moving toward the use of flammable A2L and A3 refrigerants to achieve lower-GWP goals, the technical committees and governing bodies who provide guidelines on how to safely use these refrigerants and related equipment are currently updating their safety standards. Among the updates that many are closely watching are the proposed changes to the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) 60335-2-89 standard, which would increase the charge limits in self-contained and remote refrigeration applications. While the industry expects this proposal potentially to be finalized by the end of the year, it’s important to remember that once established, these standards will take several years to make their way into the building codes and local standards needed to permit the widespread use of flammable refrigerants.

To learn more details about each of these important regulatory developments, please view our on-demand webinar.

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