The natural beauty of the Palm Springs area will be part of the equation when supermarket engineers, contractors and technicians gather for the FMI Energy & Technical Services Conference Sept. 13-16. (Photos courtesy of Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism.)

When supermarket engineers, contractors, and technicians gather in Palm Springs, Calif., this Sept. 13-16 for the annual Food Marketing Institute Energy & Technical Services Conference, they will discover that much has changed in their industry since they last met a year ago. In fact some of that change may be going on right up until the presentations by a number of the speakers.

Take, for example, the talk on “Refrigerants - Trends and Opportunities” by Ted Gartland, director of refrigerant and regulatory compliance for Verisae Inc. In a phone interview in July, he said he would provide an update on the Waxman-Markey Climate & Energy Bill that had passed the U.S. House of Representatives during the summer and could be making its way to the Senate in early fall - in fact, possibly about the time of the conference. He noted that the legislation deals with issues related to global warming and offset taxes that could affect the costs of HFC refrigerants.

Also on Gartland’s list is an update on United States Environmental Protection Agency proposed rulings concerning HCFC allocations and the sale and distribution of equipment using that refrigerant. Final rulings were first expected in the summer, but in July Gartland said that may not happen until the fall.

Sharing the same topic and time slot at the FMI Energy Conference is James Lavelle, technical sales manager for National Refrigerants Inc. He said that he will be focusing on real-world retrofits in supermarkets where HCFC-22 is being taken out of systems and replaced with HFC-based alternatives, both those that work with mineral oil and those that need POE oils. He said much of his talk would be based on recent retrofit projects for which early returns will be coming in at the time of the conference. Among the alternative refrigerants being looked at, he said, are HFC-407A in medium and low temperature, and R-407C in medium temperature.

The famous Palm Springs tram will be one of the tour options available at the annual FMI Energy & Technical Services Conference Sept. 13-16 in Palm Springs.

In addition to oils, Lavelle said he would comment on other retrofit issues such as valve capacity, run time, and pressure drops. In fact, much of the conference will deal with environmental, economic, and regulatory issues such as energy supplies and prices; federal, state, and regional programs related to cap and trade; leak reduction; federal stimulus monies; renewable energy; and tax credits.

On the technical side will be refrigeration innovations and lighting cost saving measures. There will be a number of concurrent breakout sessions dealing with such topics as preventive maintenance, variable-frequency drives, utility incentives, energy reduction strategies, commercial equipment standards, and CO2 as a refrigerant.

The event will take place at the Hyatt Grand Champion Resort & Spa in Indian Wells (Palm Springs), Calif.

Registrations are still being accepted. Visit or contact Aileen Dullaghan Munster at for more information.

Publication date:08/03/2009