|Rajan Rajendran | Global Vice President, Environmental Sustainability
Emerson’s Commercial & Residential Solutions Business
June 26 is annual World Refrigeration Day: a day when the world recognizes the significant role that refrigeration plays in modern society. This year’s theme is “cooling matters”; at Emerson, we couldn’t agree more. World Refrigeration Day is a chance for us to reflect on the current state of the HVACR industry, the mega trends impacting the global refrigeration landscape, and how we’re helping to develop and advance ever more reliable and sustainable cooling technologies.
Refrigeration sits at the intersection among three environmental megatrends impacting our world today:
- Phasing down the use of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants with high global warming potential (GWP)
- Improving the energy efficiency of commercial buildings
- Reducing food waste while increasing global food security
Supporting next-generation refrigeration technologies
In commercial refrigeration, the HFC phasedown and equipment energy consumption are two key factors in lowering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, through what we refer to as the total equivalent warming impact (TEWI). Refrigerant leaks are direct contributors to GHG emissions, which is why each refrigerant has a relative GWP rating; the higher the GWP rating, the worse the direct GHG impact. The energy consumed by a commercial refrigeration system is considered an indirect contributor to GHG emissions. Combined, these direct and indirect emissions make up a system’s TEWI.
Commercial refrigeration stakeholders are becoming ever more focused on lowering their carbon footprints by reducing these direct and indirect GHG emissions. Many of our customers are setting Net Zero targets and pledging to meet both near- and long-term decarbonization goals. U.S. regulatory mandates are taking shape that will help to drive our industry toward achieving these goals.
At Emerson, we’re committed to leading the transition to lower-GWP, energy-efficient refrigerant technologies. We already have an extensive portfolio of CO2 and R-290 refrigeration components and system technologies to help our customers leverage these proven natural refrigerant options. We’re also actively preparing for the emergence of synthetic A2L refrigerants, which will fill a niche in commercial refrigeration by covering a wide range of applications. Regardless of which refrigerants align best with our customers’ operational and sustainability goals, we’re supporting equipment strategies to help them phase out legacy HFC systems and phase in their next-generation refrigeration technologies.
Today, an estimated 3.6 billion cooling units are in use globally — a figure that is expected to increase to 9.5 billion by 2050. Developing more energy-efficient cooling systems with the ability to optimize energy consumption, flex demand, and enable grid interactivity will be essential for achieving a greener future. Today, Emerson monitors over 70,000 refrigerated sites annually, underscoring the critical importance of our efforts to develop more sustainable ways to ensure essential cooling while minimizing peak energy consumption.
Preserving perishable foods
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, up to 40 percent of the total food supply is wasted in the U.S., with more than 30 percent attributed to food loss at retail establishments and consumer homes. To combat hunger, reduce GHG emissions at landfills, and maximize resource utilization, reducing food waste is among the most critical issues facing our world.
Perishable food preservation — in storage and in-transit — is the primary objective of our refrigeration efforts and cold chain business. We’re committed to reducing food waste through:
- Reliable Copeland™ compression technologies
- GO real-time tracking and monitoring devices
- Lumity™ E3 supervisory control and software platform, and connected control devices
- Internet of things (IoT) connectivity and data analytics
Our integrated solutions deliver maximum reliability and visibility to food quality and safety from farm to fork. We’re capturing the cold chain data that empowers our customers with the insights they need to extend the life of their perishable products, meet their sustainability goals, and drive bottom-line improvements to their businesses.
So as we observe World Refrigeration Day this year, let’s remember that “cooling matters” must also be balanced with sustainability efforts. At Emerson, this is an everyday guiding principle for our cold chain business.