Trends to Tame Supermarket Energy Costs

September 7, 2009
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Trying to tame the energy costs in a supermarket becomes more and more critical every year as store owners try to show their greenness to environmentally conscious customers and also continue to try to meet stricter efficiency regulations.

Green stores draw a lot of good press - and more customers. At the same time a whole new wave of refrigeration specific efficiency standards are becoming realities. Also entering into the mix are programs such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design that is starting to catch on in the supermarket sector. And the sector has voluntarily teamed up with the Environmental Protection Agency for GreenChill that recognizes achievements in energy reduction.

When customers, store owners, and the government call for green efficiencies, the suppliers of virtually every component and control that goes into a supermarket’s mechanical refrigeration system get into the act.

For this special focus on Supermarket Refrigeration, The NEWS is drawing attention to more than a half dozen such suppliers of products in a series of mini-features. What readers will discover is that the trend these days is to look literally at every aspect of a system, from what may need to be totally reinvented to those that just need a tweak, along with every option in between.

For example, in terms of a whole new way of looking at refrigeration mechanicals, Hill Phoenix has installed compact chillers at a Harris Teeter Store in Charlotte, N.C. (see the feature article “Compact Chiller Goes Shopping”). “The technology is simple. It is like lining up several home refrigerators to make cold water,” said the company’s Brian Schwichtenberg. The design includes a multi-channel heat exchanger, which is actually three heat exchangers in one. The goal is to greatly reduce the amount of conventional HFC refrigerant needed in the store.

That chiller innovation originated in Sweden. Another new approach from across the pond involved insulated glass doors that are being used in thousands of stores in Europe and are making their United States debut through Remis America LLC in stores in Indiana and Florida (see the feature article “German Company’s Glass Doors Expand to United States”). “Our energy savings products will allow retailers throughout North America the opportunity to have a positive effect on the environment,” said Remis’ Jim Schwartz.

Also promoting energy savings was Master-Bilt with what it said was a new parallel rack refrigeration system (see the feature article “Parallel Racks Maximize Energy Savings”). The configuration is a multiple compressor refrigeration unit piped in parallel to yield smooth capacity control. One advantage said the company is the ability to match refrigeration capacity to actual load. Digital scroll compressors are used by Master-Bilt.

And speaking of compressors, Emerson Climate Technologies has in this issue of The NEWS information concerning its Intelligent Store Discus™ compressors (see the feature article “New Challenges Create New Technologies”). “With this compressor, there are potential annual store savings because of lower maintenance cost, greater refrigeration uptime, and reduced refrigeration leaks, said Emerson’s Kurt Knapke.

Then it gets really detailed. By switching over from an evaporator pressure regulator to an electric evaporator pressure regulator for controlling evap discharge temperature, leaks are reduced and temperatures are more constant, said Parker Hannifin’s Sporlan Division (see the feature article “The Hybrid Valve”). In fact, the switch from EPR to EEPR can be done as a retrofit on existing systems, and how it was done at a store in Louisiana is part of the report.

And what about refrigerants? Can savings be found there? Yes, says ICOR International as it describes retrofitting a HCFC-22 system at a grocery store with HFC-422C (see the feature article “Refrigerant Reduces Power Consumption”). “As the price of R-22 continues to skyrocket, refrigerant users and equipment owners are ramping up their system changeout or refrigerant conversion efforts,” said ICOR’s Gordon McKinney.

Finally, there is a story about how trying a lot of new and green ideas can lead to LEED certification at the highest level. A story from Danfoss (see the feature article “Supermarket Goes Platinum”) describes how a store in Augusta, Maine, achieved Platinum certification thanks to innovations ranging from recycling waste to glycol heat reclaim - and how controllers with 1,000 monitoring checkpoints keeps everything running as efficiently as possible.

Publication date: 09/07/2009

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