COLOGNE, Germany — Almost two-thirds of large supermarkets surveyed in northern and western European countries now use natural refrigerants in their stores, according to a report issued by Carrier Commercial Refrigeration. The research finds this trend is being driven by industrywide sustainability policies that are outpacing EU legislation. The study, developed in partnership with market development company Shecco, seeks to provide a clear picture of the key drivers for and against the adoption of sustainable refrigeration and refrigerant options, and the effects of legislation.

The study of mostly large food retailers in Germany, France, Denmark, Norway, and the U.K. found 65 percent of respondents had begun to implement natural refrigerant technology in their stores. Fueled by a combination of market and policy influences and technology advances, the shift to natural refrigerants has strengthened the position of many retailers relative to the newly revised European Union F-gas Regulation, which imposes a phasedown scheme and restrictions on use of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants.

“This research reflects the shift we’ve observed across the industry over the past two years,” said Thierry Jomard, president, Carrier Commercial Refrigeration, Europe. “What we’re seeing today is an intersection point between legislation and increased acceptance of how natural refrigerant technologies can contribute to the overarching goals of carbon footprint reduction and increased energy efficiency.”

According to the study, one of the key drivers behind the switch to natural refrigerants is retailers’ growing awareness of the link between carbon footprint reduction and business success. Survey respondents across all territories in the study rated carbon footprint reduction as “important.”

“Retailers increasingly recognize that natural refrigerants represent a future-proof investment in terms of legislative compliance,” Jomard said. “We’re seeing evidence now of early adopters looking even further ahead toward more holistic thinking about combining heating and cooling and using integrated system solutions to optimize overall energy management.”

Publication date: 9/29/2014 

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