New waves of regulations and utility rebates are major
issues in the refrigeration sector.
When refrigeration contractors hear a lot of promoting of
technologies like scroll compressors, electronic-commutated motors, antisweat
heaters, and high-efficiency wall insulation, there may be more than just hype
to the talk. It may be the way refrigeration equipment like reach-ins,
walk-ins, ice machines, and display cases meet what are expected to be a
multitude of new energy-efficiency standards. And while there may be a number
of standards depending on the types and sizes of equipment, there will more
than likely be one constant - the standards will be tougher than ever before.
An update on the changes coming have been released in a
white paper from Emerson Climate Technologies titled, “Status of Energy
Regulations for Commercial Refrigeration Equipment.”
The paper was co-authored by Robert Lehman, product leader
for Emerson Intelligent Store architecture, and Brian Buynacek, a senior consultant
with Emerson Design Services Network, and released earlier this year. It looks
at a growing regulatory environment stretching back to 2001 with the
Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star® program enacting voluntary
energy-consumption guidelines for commercial refrigerators and freezers.
From there, the California Energy Commission used those
guidelines to mandate such standards in its state while outlawing the sale of
nonconforming products. Other states then started adopting the California
Then, it was noted, in 2005 the Air-Conditioning and
Refrigeration Institute (ARI) took a pro-active stand and recommended standards
to Congress “that were equal to the most stringent in California.” From there
came the national Energy Policy Act that included the ARI recommendations which
becomes law in 2010.
And “more regulations are on the horizon,” the authors said.
“Additional standards for ice machines are expected in 2010 and the Department
of Energy will make a ruling on display cases by 2009 that will become
effective in 2012.”
Since manufacturers must meet those standards to be able to
sell products, efforts are underway to fine tune equipment in an entire range
of refrigeration categories.
In the broadest sense, Lehman and Buynacek said, “Original
equipment manufacturers can comply with existing and pending energy-use
regulations by selecting the most efficient component products. For example,
the compressor can be responsible for up to 60 percent of a system’s total
energy use. Evaporator- and condenser-fan motors are the second largest
“Scroll compressors and electronic-commutated motors are the
most efficient compressor and motor options. Additional technologies, including
system controllers, component diagnostics, and monitoring software can also
help reduce overall product energy use.”
The white paper then offered perspectives on trends in
various refrigeration sectors.
Walk-in freezers and coolers are giving more attention to
insulation and fan motors.
The report noted, “Multiple energy standards define
allowable energy consumption for reach-in refrigerators and freezers. In 2010,
a national minimum level of reach-in energy performance preempting any standard
set by the states will be instituted. Also in 2010, new voluntary Energy Star
standards in reach-ins are expected to be set. This will be base lined to
capture the top 25 percent of energy performance after 2010.”
For walk-ins, which face similar standards, the authors
offered what they called “prescriptive standards or design guidelines.”
They suggested that walk-in refrigerator and freezer rooms
utilize automatic door openers, high-efficiency wall insulation, and
high-efficiency evaporator-fan condenser-fan motors. “Additionally,” they said,
“walk-ins with glass doors must use triple-pane glass and must control or limit
the total power used by antisweat heaters.”
In the ice machine sector, the issue was not only energy
usage “but also the efficient use of water to promote water conservation.”
Like much of the refrigeration sector, there are multi-tier
efficiency guidelines with those guidelines reviewed from time to time for
Ice machine manufacturers are paying as much attention to water
conservation methods as electrical energy conservation.
DISPLAY CASES, ETC.
In many respects, standards related to display cases, ice
cream freezers, and vending machines are on an even faster track for adoption.
According to the white paper:
“A DOE ruling is in process that covers remote and
self-contained display cases. The Analyses for Advanced Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking (ANOPR) will occur by April 2008. Testing will be performed using
the ARI-1200 procedure. The ruling is expected in 2009, after a Department of
Justice review and will be effective Jan. 1, 2012. The ongoing analysis reviews
design options, efficiency and cost tradeoffs, life-cycle cost and payback, and
the impact on manufacturers.
“New standards specifically for ice-cream freezers with
either solid or glass doors were introduced in the April 2005 release of the
updated CEC standards as well, with an effective date of January 2007.
“Specific vending machine energy-consumption standards were
also introduced in the April 2005 release of the updated CEC standards with an
effective date of January 2006. The formulas to calculate the allowable energy
consumption for vending machines are based on a unit’s rated capacity to store
The authors encouraged monitoring of utility companies who
might offer consumer rebates and incentives for the purchase of high-efficiency
commercial refrigeration equipment.
For those interested in downloading the white
paper, go to www.emersonclimate.com/energy.htm.