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Refrigerant Regulations: 2018 Recap and 2019 Impacts

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

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

The year 2018 brought many changes to refrigerant regulations, with additional activity expected in 2019 and beyond. This blog highlights some of the key developments, which were presented in a recent E360 article. Read the full article here.

 

The regulation of refrigerants continues to be a source of great uncertainty in the commercial refrigeration industry. As global, national and state regulations have targeted the phase-down of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants in recent years, some in the industry have begun the transition toward alternative refrigerants with lower global warming potential (GWP). But these environmentally friendly options raise additional questions about performance and safety.

All in all, it’s a complex regulatory mix that got even more complicated in 2018. But we’re here to recap recent events and place them into a larger context.

The status of EPA SNAP Rule 20

In 2017, the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled to vacate the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Significant New Alternative Policy (SNAP) Rule 20. The court ruled that the EPA did not have authority to phase down HFCs under the Clean Air Act (CAA) — which was originally intended to eliminate ozone-depleting substances (ODS) — and thus could no longer enforce its 2015 GWP-based mandates.

In the absence of Rule 20, the commercial refrigeration industry has many questions about what the path toward a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future for refrigerants will look like. Industry calls to overturn the District of Columbia Court of Appeal’s decision were declined by the Supreme Court, which stated it would not hear the HFC case1. Currently, the EPA is drafting new regulations that will clarify its plans to move forward with SNAP. We anticipate details on their position early this year.

EPA rescinds other HFC-related regulations

The EPA has also indicated that it will no longer enforce refrigerant delistings and has proposed to roll back other HFC-related regulations2. In particular, the EPA has proposed excluding HFCs from the leak repair and maintenance requirements for stationary refrigeration equipment, otherwise known as Section 608 of the CAA.

California adopts Rule 20 as the basis for its initiatives

Regulatory uncertainty at the federal level is not preventing states from adopting their own refrigerant regulations and programs. California Senate Bill 1383, aka the Super Pollutant Reduction Act, was passed in 2016 and requires that Californians reduce F-gas emissions (including HFCs) by 40 percent by 20303. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has been tasked with meeting these reductions.

Since 2016, CARB had been using EPA SNAP Rules 20 and 21 as the bases of its HFC phase-down initiatives. Even after SNAP Rule 20 was vacated, CARB moved to adopt compliance dates that were already implemented or upcoming. The passing of California Senate Bill 1013 — aka the California Cooling Act — in Sept. 20184 mandates the full adoption of SNAP Rules 20 and 21 as they read on Jan. 3, 2017. The law is currently in effect and does not require additional CARB rulemaking to uphold compliance dates.

CARB is also proposing an aggressive second phase of rulemaking that would further impact commercial refrigeration and AC applications. CARB has held public workshops and invited industry stakeholders to comment on the details of this proposal.

Meanwhile, many other states have announced their plans to follow California’s lead on HFC phase-downs. The U.S. Climate Alliance, formed in 2017 out of a coalition of 16 states and Puerto Rico, is committed to reducing short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), including HFCs. Among these alliance states, New York, Maryland, Connecticut and Delaware have announced plans to follow California’s lead on HFC phase-downs.

Refrigerant safety standards and codes under review

Many of the low-GWP, hyrdrofluoroolefin (HFO) refrigerants are classified as A2L, or mildly flammable. R-290 (propane) is also becoming a natural refrigerant option for many low-charge, self-contained applications. Currently, national and global governing agencies are evaluating the standards that establish allowable charge limits and the safe use of these A2L and A3 refrigerants.

Internationally, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has proposed increasing charge limits for refrigeration systems in IEC60335-2-89 as follows:

  • A2Ls — from 150g to 1.2kg
  • A3s — 500g for factory-sealed systems, and will remain at 150g for split systems

These proposals are still under review and will likely be published sometime in 2019.

Kigali Amendment took effect on Jan. 1

The regulatory uncertainty in the U.S. can sometimes obscure international efforts underway to phase down HFCs. The Montreal Protocol has led the way on this effort for nearly a decade5. In 2016, 197 countries met in Kigali, Rwanda, and agreed on a global HFC phase-down proposal. Known as the Kigali Amendment, this treaty has been ratified by 53 countries (including the E.U.) and took effect on Jan. 1 for participating countries. The U.S. is still considering ratification.

As we move into 2019, there are many moving pieces on the regulatory chess board, but also some encouraging signs of progress. We will be providing the very latest regulatory updates in our next E360 Webinar. Register now to stay informed.

  1. https://www.achrnews.com/articles/140040-supreme-court-declines-to-hear-hfc-case
  2. https://www.epa.gov/section608/revised-section-608-refrigerant-management-regulations
  3. https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160SB1383
  4. https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB1013
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal_Protocol#Hydrochlorofluorocarbons_(HCFCs)_Phase-out_Management_Plan_(HPMP)

How Data Loggers Streamline Food Safety Compliance

JulianHough_Blog_Image Julian Hough | Product Marketing Communication Specialist
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Imagine if you had enough money to put 8.5 million people through four years of private college at an average annual cost of $30k. The same amount would buy a Prius at its sticker price of $23,810 — for roughly 40 percent of American families. That’s what $1.6 trillion buys, and the combined amount that Americans spent in 2015 on food and beverages in grocery stores and dining out.1

Today’s tech-savvy millennials are acutely aware of the food they consume. When an outbreak of foodborne illness occurs, the subjects of food safety and consumer health immediately become top news stories. And CEOs are taking notice. In a 2017 interview, McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook stated, “Food safety is McDonald’s number one priority.”2

Food safety regulations and compliancy

In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implemented the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) under President Obama’s leadership; these laws were updated in 2016 to enforce best practices. Industry standards such as Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls (HARPC) and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) were designed to help food processors identify, control and prevent hazards through a systematic approach. HACCP compliance is currently mandatory for meat, poultry, seafood, dairy and juice processors in the United States, as well as retail food services. Because of its success in the food and meat industries, HACCP plans are also being applied to non-food industries.

Under the existing FSMA 2016 mandates, FDA-registered food facilities, manufacturing facilities and processors must:

  • Establish and maintain food safety systems that comply with HACCP/HARPC plans
  • Verify the controls are effective by monitoring, testing and taking corrective actions and documenting the outcomes
  • Maintain risk-based supply chain programs for raw materials and ingredients and provide education and training to employees

With the goal of proactively preventing foodborne illness outbreaks rather than reacting after the fact, FSMA laws helped established a positive path forward. The rise of wireless data-logging technologies has since been embraced by a spectrum of processing facilities — from meat and dairy processors to laboratories — to help maintain compliance.

Why do you need data loggers? 

Data loggers have becoming essential tools that facility managers can use to independently verify information in food retail and processing facilities. By identifying environmental factors that could affect product quality and invalidate food safety plans, data loggers help facility managers meet compliance standards, as well as monitor other key facility metrics, such as: energy conservation, recordkeeping in a cold storage facility, or air handler cycle frequencies.

Traditional methods used to monitor critical limits and maintain an accurate recordkeeping system come with drawbacks. Typically, these are strip chart recorder (with moving parts) or a thermometer that requires an employee to manually check and document conditions. It’s easy to see how these methods are inadequate and threaten the integrity of food safety plans. Alternatively, data loggers do not rely on mechanical, moving parts or constant manual attention from employees.

Temperature monitoring is especially critical for compliance with USDA and FDA regulations. Data loggers can be implemented into HACCP plans to easily achieve this goal. Since each HACCP plan is unique to each facility, the data logging solution is dependent upon an end user’s specific application requirements. This not only saves, time, energy and money, but it also helps facility managers comply with new regulations.

How do data loggers work?

Data loggers are electronic measurement instruments that record environmental parameters such as temperature, humidity, pressure, pH and much more. Data is retrieved through a wireless connection or downloaded directly to a PC. There, records of the data are generated in graphical and tabular formats and include date and time stamps to fulfill compliance requirements. These records can then be saved electronically or printed to provide to the appropriate regulatory agencies to prove a facility’s compliance.

Data loggers are a cost-effective means of extremely accurate data collection and recordkeeping over long periods of time and in extreme environments. To ensure data accuracy, most data-logging companies provide services to maintain the correct and consistent calibration of devices. A calibration certificate indicates the date and condition of the services, providing the documentation required by most regulatory agencies to prove proper periodic calibration.

Choosing a data logger provider

For more than 130 years, Cooper-Atkins has built a reputation as a trusted provider of environmental monitoring solutions. As a leading manufacturer in the field, Cooper-Atkins recently added state-of-the-art, data-logging technology to its stable of HACCP-compliant, wireless monitoring products.

According to Scott D’Aniello, vice president of industrial and food processing for Cooper-Atkins, there is no room for guesswork in the food supply chain.

“Good data is essential to controlling production and creating a consistently high-quality product,” he said.

Cooper-Atkins was awarded the prestigious “Global Supplier of the Year 2015” by McDonald’s.

“This recognition speaks volumes about who we are and how we can help facility managers. Today’s technological innovations are helping to ease the burden and keep food safe for consumers,” said D’Aniello.

Click here to learn more about Cooper-Atkins data loggers.

[New E360 Webinar] Regulatory Update: Learn the Latest Rulemaking on Refrigerants

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

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Join us for our next E360 Webinar that will take a look at the latest refrigerant regulations impacting commercial refrigeration and AC applications on Tuesday, February 26 at 2 p.m. EST/11 a.m. PST for this informative update.

One of the greatest sources of uncertainty in today’s commercial refrigeration and AC industries is the topic of refrigerants. Regulations continue to evolve quickly, primarily aimed at phasing down the use of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants with higher global warming potentials (GWP), which are used in many applications. What’s particularly challenging is how these rules can differ from state to country to region, making it difficult to adopt a common standard.

Globally, these efforts are spearheaded by the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty in which participating countries are working toward a shared goal of HFC phase-down via mutually agreed upon timelines. In the U.S., the regulatory climate continues to be unpredictable, but states such as California are leading the charge on establishing regulatory standards.

With new updates taking place seemingly every month, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stay informed. That’s why we’re dedicating our next E360 Webinar to clearing the confusion in this turbulent regulatory climate. This webinar will be hosted by Emerson’s leading experts on refrigerant regulations: Rajan Rajendran, vice president, systems innovation center and sustainability; and Jennifer Butsch, regulatory affairs manager, air conditioning. Jennifer will present the latest updates to the refrigerant rulemaking while Rajan will offer his extensive insights on how to prepare for what’s on the horizon.

Attendees will learn:

  • How recent rulings have changed the scope of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program
  • How the California Air Resources Board (CARB) continues to leverage the original SNAP ruling as the foundation for its regional HFC refrigerant phase-down efforts
  • An update on the potential for U.S. ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol
  • Status of the standards governing charge limits and safe use of A2L and A3 refrigerants, including the potential impacts on building codes
  • How the vacating of SNAP Rule 20 potentially impacts Section 608 in terms of governing leak repair and maintenance requirements
  • Availability of new low-GWP refrigerants

Register now for this informative and free webinar.

Top 10 Emerson YouTube Videos for 2018: Lights, Camera, Expertise!

AndrePatenaude_Blog_Image Andre Patenaude | Director, Food Retail Marketing & Growth Strategy, Cold Chain

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

At Emerson, seeing is explaining. When you need to keep pace with new technologies, regulations and ideas in fast-moving industries, you want to hear from the experts. That’s why we regularly call upon industry leaders to join us in discussions about the future of our commercial refrigeration industry. You can find many of these discussions in videos captured from informative E360 Webinars and Forums. What follows is a summary of our top 10 most-viewed videos of 2018.

  1. E360 Webinar 13: Seven Keys to Servicing CO2 Systems

CO2-based refrigeration systems with R-744 are new to a lot of service technicians, which drew a large audience to this webinar about dealing effectively with the refrigerant’s unique properties. Starting with an overview of the systems themselves, the presentation walked step-by-step through handling critical and triple points, high and standstill pressures, cylinder storage, charging and system maintenance best practices.

  1. E360 Forum: Dallas | Food Industry Forecast: Key Trends Through 2020

After a long period of stable growth, the restaurant, foodservice and food retail industries face a set of new and disruptive industry trends, with new business structures, different operating environments and business practices that are rapidly driving change. This E360 Forum discussed these big trends: new consumer expectations, the demand for localized food, farm-to-fork transparency, the role of technology and Big Data, and deconsolidation into specialized niches.

  1. E360 Forum: Raleigh | Cold Chain Evolution

The pressure to create an unbreakable global cold chain has become critical for the food industry. Every year, 33 percent of all food spoils in transit — a loss of $1 trillion. Food safety is critical to a brand’s reputation, trust and profits. Global transport and international regulations have extended the cold chain to air, land and water. This E360 Forum discussed the cold chains of yesterday and today, and described how the rapid evolution to a digitally connected cold chain provides the potential for end-to-end optimization.

  1. E360 Webinar 6: Best Practices for Evaluating Compressor System Performance

Whether you’re a commercial refrigeration OEM selecting a compressor for a new system or a food retailer choosing a new chiller, there are a lot of compressor options from which to choose, often with very different performance attributes to consider. This popular webinar discussed factors such as temperature mid-points and dew points, compressor capacities, energy-efficiency ratios and other issues crucial to selecting the right compressor with the lowest cost of ownership.

  1. E360 Webinar 14: EPA’s Final Refrigerant Ruling: Its Impact on Your Business

The EPA’s 2015 final rule on the delisting of HFC refrigerants in commercial refrigeration and AC applications sent shockwaves throughout our industries. This webinar detailed which refrigerants were selected for phase-down and when, discussed how the ruling impacted various refrigeration applications, and covered viable refrigerant alternatives for OEMs, operators, and refrigerant manufacturers and contractors. For the latest rulemaking on refrigerants, please view this regulatory update session from our most recent E360 Forum.

  1. E360 Conference 2017 | Trends in Supermarket Refrigeration Architectures

If they haven’t already, the architecture, systems and refrigerants in your supermarket are going to change — significantly. Driving the change? The drumbeat of international, federal and state regulations already arriving. This high-level conference covered a wide range of architectures, equipment and refrigerant options, their complexity, costs and maintenance requirements, and four key operational considerations: energy, economics, the environment and equipment.

 

  1. E360 Forum: Anaheim | Trends in Refrigerant System Architecture & CO2

As ambient temperatures go up, condenser and refrigerator compression efficiency go down. With new refrigerants, including natural refrigerants such as CO2, high temperatures — and the refrigerants’ critical points — become major considerations. In this technical presentation, centering on CO2 refrigerant as an example, we discussed a range of system architecture options and new equipment and components that help CO2 refrigeration tackle high ambient temperatures while maintaining performance.

  1. E360 Webinar 16: Innovation in Refrigeration

This webinar’s short title encompasses the enormous problems facing our industry today, including: dynamic regulations, the need for an unbreakable global cold chain, the call for access to all data, and the needs of a rapidly changing industry. In this webinar, we learned that the process of innovation itself has to evolve to involve every link in the refrigerated equipment value chain. You’ll see these new approaches modeled at The Helix Innovation Center at the University of Dayton in Ohio, where we’re actively pursuing innovations in refrigeration technology through an inclusive, collaborative approach.

  1. E360 Conference 2017 | The Human Equation of Facility Management

This is a story about shortages. Facility managers have a shortage of resources across the board and sometimes have to outsource their facility services. These services face a shortage of technicians — and a big gap in expertise between experienced technicians and the new generation. Under these circumstances, how do you manage costs and ensure efficient responses to facility problems? This conference presented an answer: call on technology to become more intelligent and provide technicians the information they need to do more with less.

  1. E360 Forum: Anaheim | Converting Waste Into Renewable Energy

Ever give a thought to the garbage disposal in your kitchen sink? This presentation showed that it’s no longer a simple appliance, but an environmentally responsible tool that keeps food waste out of landfills, keeps methane out of the air, and creates a new, clean energy source — right from the food scraps going down your sink. InSinkErator, an Emerson company, works to transform water treatment plants into energy powerhouses by creating biosolids to produce energy and fertilizers without waste.

 

R-290 Condensing Units Deliver Refrigeration Efficiencies and Regulatory Compliance

anijayanth Ani Jayanth | Director, Product Marketing

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

This blog summarizes the Product Spotlight column in our most recent E360 Outlook, entitled R-290 Ready.” Click here to read it in its entirety.

9462-E360 Outlook-Propane Compressor-Facebook-1200x630

The growing demand for energy-efficient and environmentally friendly commercial refrigeration equipment has led to the resurgence of the natural refrigerant propane (R-290). With a global warming potential of 3, R-290 checks two key regulatory boxes: 1) it is listed as an acceptable refrigerant substitute by the EPA; and 2) it meets the DOE’s call for more energy efficiency in compressors and condensers. To support our OEM customers who are responding to this market demand, Emerson offers a line of condensing units designed to maximize R-290 efficiencies.

As a class A3 (flammable) refrigerant, R-290’s charge limit of 150g has largely constrained its use to smaller, self-contained applications. This makes R-290 an ideal candidate for use in stand-alone, reach-in applications, where the DOE has mandated 30–50 percent reductions in energy consumption as of March 27. This same class of equipment will also be subject to the EPA’s phase-down of commonly used hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants in 2019. The disparate timing of these regulations is forcing foodservice OEMs to consider meeting both requirements in the same design cycle. Currently, R-290 is a leading option for accomplishing both objectives.

Energy-efficient condensing units

Copeland™ M-Line condensing units provide all the technological improvements needed to help OEMs achieve regulatory compliance while giving end users optimal performance in low- and medium-temperature applications. Designed to deliver energy improvements up to 30 percent, M-Line condensing units are built on the following improvements:

  • Latest generation of Copeland hermetic compressors
  • Electronically commutated fan motors (an optional feature)
  • Condenser coil tubing design that enables additional coil rows

Next generation compression technology

Emerson has been testing alternative refrigerants for years to help OEMs make the transition to DOE- and EPA-compliant compression technology. Emerson offers A*E and R*T compressors rated for use with R-290 and available in fractional horsepower options to serve as the basis of Copeland M-Line condensing units. Designed with OEM and end user concerns in mind, these compressors deliver the following benefits:

  • Minimal sound output for quiet operation
  • More than 20 percent energy-efficiency improvements compared to R-404A
  • Little to no environmental impacts

Wider adoption of R-290 is evidence that the commercial refrigeration industry is becoming more comfortable with the natural refrigerant alternative. While OEMs and operators alike have accepted its 150g charge limit, even incremental charge increases would enable significant advances in system design and efficiencies. This charge limit is currently under review by building codes and standards makers. If (and when) charge limits are increased, Emerson will be prepared to make the necessary updates to our compression technology.

This blog summarizes the Product Spotlight column in our most recent E360 Outlook, entitled R-290 Ready.” Click here to read it in its entirety.

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