CHICAGO - California energy standards regarding refrigeration are expected to become federal mandates in 2010 and already a number of refrigeration equipment manufacturers are drawing attention to products that now meet those standards and mandates. That was evident among many exhibitors at the recent National Restaurant Association (NRA) Restaurant Hotel-Motel Show. “Saving money and cutting costs are crucial aspects of running a business in this current economic environment, and going green can accomplish both,” said Lorna Donatone, convention chair for the 2009 show and president of school services at Sodexo. “We were committed at the NRA Show 2009 to identify and showcase the most innovative products crucial to business success right now.”
Unlike air conditioning with its 13 SEER standard, refrigeration has a wide range of minimum standards primarily based on size and type of equipment. One theme at the expo was that specific products were already meeting the exact standard and in many cases exceeding them.
In noting efforts within Manitowoc Ice, John Sara, senior product manager for Manitowoc Ice said, “Dozens of energy-efficient Manitowoc ice machines have been added to the CEC’s (California Energy Commission) list of certified commercial-grade ice machines, bringing the latest numbers to over 175 models.”
CEC certification signifies that the customer is purchasing foodservice equipment that meets or exceeds the current efficiency standards of the CEC. Energy efficiency, water consumption, and ice harvest rates are taken into consideration during the certification process, Sara said.
He, like others, also noted the company’s involvement in Energy Star, the government-backed program helping businesses and individuals protect the environment through energy efficiency.
“Manitowoc ice machines have always been known for their low operating costs. Now, with ice machines being included in the Energy Star program, it will be even easier for customers to quickly identify the most energy-efficient models,” said Sara. The company also announced at the expo that it now offers 39 air-cooled, cube-style ice machines that meet Energy Star standards, based on maximum potable water and energy consumption limits.
Also at the expo, Ice-O-Matic® provided the information that 100 percent of its ICE Series™ Modular and Self-Contained Cubers qualify for CEC energy efficiency.
Additionally, the company said it has qualified for the Energy Star listing on more than 20 commercial ice machine models. These include modular units in air or remote cooled options ranging in daily ice production capacity of 249-1,650 pounds. Also included are several self-contained under counter units ranging from 112-228 pounds of ice production daily.
According to Kevin Fink, president of Ice-O-Matic, the improved energy efficiency means many Ice-O-Matic ice machines now qualify for energy rebates ranging from $75 to $500 per machine. The rebates, he said, are offered by select energy companies to commercial businesses around the country who purchase a qualifying ice machine, and who have an existing, qualified account with the participating utility company.
“The rebates can represent approximately 10 to 20 percent of the cost of an ice machine, and give businesses a financial incentive to purchase energy-efficient equipment,” he said.
In another environmental initiative, the company said it has partnered with American Forests’ Global ReLeaf to launch Green ReLeaf™, designed to lower the company’s carbon footprint. Over the next several years, Ice-O-Matic® will plant a tree for every ice machine it sells. The goal of the program is to plant 150,000 trees.
“The Green ReLeaf program is one part of our commitment to the global environment and a move toward sustainability in every aspect of our business,” said Keith Kelly, senior vice president of sales, marketing & engineering at Ice-O-Matic®.
At Scotsman Ice Systems, it was reported that “more than 50 Energy Star rated models (are) available. Prodigy® was one of the first models to exceed both the 2008 California Energy Commission and 2010 Federal Energy Efficiency regulations by up to 22 percent. This is made possible, in part, through an accelerated harvest feature that pushes ice off evaporator plates.”
In another environmental related announcement, the company said that in the fall of 2008 the Prodigy® Cube Ice Machine was recognized in the energy conservation pavilion during the National Association of Convenience Stores annual conference.
For its part, Master-Bilt promoted a range of aspects of its equipment as fitting new environmental initiatives.
“Master-Bilt recognizes the growing trend and demand for green equipment solutions,” said Bill Huffman, vice president of sales and marketing for Master-Bilt. “We are always looking for ways to provide products that will help our customers reap the environmental and economical benefits of energy-efficient equipment.”
Some of the equipment and technologies cited were LED lighting, modular multi-compressor refrigeration systems with two fans per condenser row for increased airflow across condensers while the horizontal airflow provides more efficient ventilation for condensers, and multi-compressor refrigeration units piped in parallel to yield smoother capacity control as compared to a single compressor unit. The parallel system units can match refrigeration capacity to actual load, which amounts to a 20 percent or more savings over a single compressor unit, Huffman said. He added that the lead compressor, a digital scroll, provides an even better match for capacity needs and results in another 3 percent energy savings over standard parallel units.
In its announcement, U.S. Cooler said that its products “conform to all regulations set forth in Section 312 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), a reference to the broad proposal “to move the United States toward greater energy independence and security, to increase the wide ranging legislation clean renewable fuels, to protect consumers, to increase the efficiency of products, buildings, and vehicles, to promote research on and deploy greenhouse gas capture and storage options, and to improve the energy performance of the federal government, and for other purposes.”
Eliason also caught that focus in noting its latest generation of cooler doors were called EISA. “This door meets all requirements of the act - so you can focus on your business, not on regulations.”