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Multiplex Refrigeration System Lays Foundation for Café’s Green Mission

If you’re a restaurant owner who decides to put the word “green” in your name, sustainability better be a significant part of your culinary story. The Green Sage Café in Asheville, N.C., embraces this challenge with a green vision that permeates every facet of their operation.

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Owned and operated by Randy Talley and Roger Derrough, the Green Sage Café has three locations across Asheville. While their first café incorporated many green elements, its refrigerated fixtures each operated on independent compressors — a refrigeration architecture that Talley identified as an area for improvement in their second restaurant.

Talley leaned on his background in the natural foods grocery industry to find a better solution. There he had utilized rack refrigeration systems with minimal compressors to provide cooling for multiple fixtures. He wanted to implement a similar architecture — now commonly referred to as multiplexing — but wasn’t sure if this technology would translate into his foodservice applications. That’s when Talley tapped Refrigeration Design Technologies (RDT), experts in eco-friendly refrigerated system design, to implement a system that would take his second location to the next level of energy efficiency.

“Our goal was to create the greenest restaurant possible. We wanted to cut energy consumption in half without compromising the quality of the food we’re serving,” Talley said.

Keeping (Eco)-Cool Under Pressure

Brent Dyess, RDT’s president, knew that Talley’s lofty goals were within reach. Dyess selected RDT’s proven Eco-Cool refrigeration system based on the Copeland Scroll Digital™ compressor for the second Green Sage Café location. Eco-Cool was specifically designed to meet the demands of environmentally responsible foodservice outlets, relying on lean multiplex refrigeration architecture to deliver the highest degree of energy efficiency.

The Green Sage Café’s unique energy and environmental requirements made it an ideal candidate for the Eco-Cool system. The system minimizes the compressors needed to provide refrigeration, servicing eight fixtures in the café’s medium-temperature suction group with one 4 HP Copeland Scroll Digital compressor. With their ability to digitally modulate capacity from 10 to 100 percent, the Copeland Scroll Digital enables precise matching of refrigeration requirements to the variable operating loads typical of a foodservice application.

Surprising Energy Savings

Dyess originally estimated that the system would provide the restaurant up to 30 percent in annual energy savings. But when the Green Restaurant Association (GRA) evaluated the Green Sage Café’s environmental profile for certification purposes, they commissioned RDT to perform an independent, third-party study on the Eco-Cool system. The results were surprising.

The UL energy study simulated a foodservice application, comparing a multiplex system (with one Copeland Scroll Digital compressor servicing six fixtures) to a conventional system. The study replicated actual foodservice conditions, such as varying demands and frequent refrigerator door openings and closings. The data revealed that in 90 °F ambient conditions, the Copeland Scroll Digital-based Eco-Cool delivered 48 percent energy savings.

The multiplex refrigeration system also helped Green Sage Café owners check other significant items off their sustainability list. By placing the Eco-Cool unit outside the restaurant and removing condenser surface areas that are present on each fixture in conventional systems, they eliminated 53,856 BTUH of heat, or the equivalent of 4.5 tons of air conditioning. Not only does this contribute to the café’s eco-friendly footprint, it helps create a better dining experience for patrons and improved working conditions for the staff.

“If our customers see the value in reusing a natural by-product of the refrigeration system, then we recommend it,” Dyess said. “Green Sage Café had the vision and commitment to utilize every available natural resource.”

This blog is a summary of the article State of the Art Sustainability from our recent edition of E360 Outlook. Click here to learn more about our involvement with the Green Sage Café.

Is Your Convenience Store Missing Out on Savings Opportunities?

Small format retail facilities face different operational challenges than supermarkets or other large format retailers. Applying a control system can help turn the challenges or problems these facility managers face into opportunities to reduce costs and enhance operations.

Is Your Convenience Store Missing Out on Savings Opportunities?

Most convenience stores do not have system controls. In a typical convenience store, the HVAC systems, refrigerated cases and lighting are managed separately and are not connected. The refrigeration system is often stand-alone and while thermostats are used, they may not be programmed to the correct settings. Manual processes may be in place to manage lighting controls.

For convenience store facility managers, your key problems likely include:

  • Limited visibility into store operations: If you are responsible for multiple stores, you may not have the oversight to know what is happening in all of your locations at any given time.
  • Difficulty of enforcing store policies: You may have established business policies around lighting and thermostat settings, but how do you know that they are being enforced by the store manager and followed by personnel in a single store?
  • Poor maintenance: Many facilities use a “run to fail” maintenance strategy, meaning that the equipment generally will fail without warning, leading to emergency repairs or replacements on short notice.
  • Energy leakage: If a mechanical problem or personnel issue causes a store to stray from the policies put in place – for example, settings on a thermostat are changed or canopy lights are left on throughout the day – this can lead to energy usage that is higher than necessary.

If an average 5,000 square foot convenience store spends $62,000 annually on operational costs, they may spend 44.5 percent of the budget on energy and 17.5 percent on maintenance. If this was your store, how much could you save by addressing the problems above? A control system can provide a convenience store typically between five and 20 percent savings, depending on the current facility management in place.

A control system consists of three layers and understanding the system architecture is beneficial to realizing the ways it can improve efficiency, reduce costs and enhance operations. The three layers include:

  • Control: The control layer includes the electronic elements within your case that have control algorithms to affect the HVAC systems, refrigeration systems and lighting. The controls include the inputs and outputs, the sensors and transducers, and the equipment interface.
  • Supervisory: The supervisory layer provides visibility. This layer offers user management, user interface, access to monitor the system remotely, alarm management and data logging.
  • Enterprise: The enterprise layer is the connection from the sites to the cloud, where the data collected from the systems in your stores can be stored, compared and analyzed.

Many people think having controls and stopping at the first layer is enough, but that’s not the case. It’s important to apply the entire system to manage, monitor and optimize your small format facility.

Interested in learning more about control systems for convenience stores? Look for future blog posts on this topic here over the next several weeks. And, if you have specific questions, please email me at John.Wallace@Emerson.com.

John Wallace
Director of Innovation, Retail Solutions
Emerson Climate Technologies

Next MAKING SENSE Webinar: Is It Time to Re-think Low Condensing Refrigeration?

Faced with increasing electricity costs and the desire to implement sustainable practices, operations managers are constantly looking for ways to reduce energy consumption in their refrigeration systems — and cut costs. One potential way to limit energy consumption is through operating a refrigeration system at lower condensing temperatures. By lowering the condensing temperature 20 degrees, you can potentially improve system efficiencies up to 35 percent.

For the next installment of our MAKING SENSE webinar series — taking place August 20 at 2 p.m. EDT — we will take a closer look at implementing low condensing in refrigeration systems. If you’re ready to cut energy costs through low condensing operation, this webinar will explain exactly how to do just that.

While operators have attempted to lower condensing pressures in the past, they were met with limited success. This presentation will not only explain low condensing operation and its associated benefits, but will also expose common pitfalls and teach you how to avoid them. In this free webinar, you’ll learn:

  • What is low condensing refrigeration?
  • How do you implement low condensing operation in today’s refrigeration systems?
  • When can you expect a return on investment?

In addition, we’ll look closer at the potential challenges you may encounter, explore some ideal applications for low condensing, and discuss implementation details. As is the case with all of our MAKING SENSE webinars, presenters will answer attendees’ questions at the conclusion of the presentation.

The presenters of the live, low condensing webinar are three of Emerson’s most experienced practitioners of refrigeration system optimization: 

  • Mike Saunders, director of end user technical sales and support, Emerson Climate Technologies
  • Mitch Knapke, food retail market manager, Emerson Climate Technologies
  • Andre Patenaude, director of marketing, Emerson Climate Technologies Canada

Join us August 20 at 2 p.m. EDT for this free webinar and learn more about how we’re helping the refrigeration industry MAKE SENSE of the issues that matter most. Register now by visiting our website at www.emersonclimate.com/makingsensewebinars.

Craig Raney
Director of Marketing, Refrigeration
Emerson Climate Technologies

New Refrigeration Technology for walk-in beer keg coolers

The next time you are near Indianapolis, check out Sun King Brewery.  Emerson recently worked with Sun King Brewery (http://sunkingbrewing.com/) to fit new condensing units near the main entrance.  Since there wasn’t room to put the units in the back of the building, they needed quiet, reliable units that look good enough to be seen by visitors – and keep hundreds of barrels of beer fresh.  Read more about this case study

When you go, make sure that you sample their craft beers and take a brewery tour – and look for the new condensing units as you walk in.

Jason Prenger
Director – Refrigeration Engineering
Emerson Climate Technologies

Cleaning Up After Hurricane Sandy

It’s been one month since Hurricane Sandy roared across the northeastern edge of the United States wreaking havoc and, of concern to the HVACR industry, knocking countless air conditioning and refrigeration systems out of operation.

Emerson Climate Technologies recently released its position on flood damaged Copeland™ brand products to our wholesalers and contractors in order to aid them in the clean-up and rebuilding process. We’re recommending any flood-affected products be replaced as they could be a safety hazard or cause system reliability issues. While not under the best of circumstances, this does give the contractor the opportunity to upgrade older equipment to energy efficient systems that lower energy costs.

We at Emerson are looking to our wholesaler and contractor channels to let us know what equipment they’ll need to complete clean-up and rebuild projects over the coming weeks. As a call to action, Emerson Climate would like to receive feedback on model types, voltages, and applications to help us prepare our manufacturing plants to meet the needs of our customers. We’ll communicate this information through our channels to help support the work that is being done to get those systems up and running.

Karla Leskovsky
Social Marketing Manager
Emerson Climate Technologies

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