BALTIMORE — Danfoss recently hosted its 25th EnVisioneering Symposium, “Refrigerants2Sustainability: Risks, Options, & Opportunities in Commercial Refrigeration,” which addressed how an increasing industry-wide focus on refrigerants and energy is driving changes in the design, deployment, and maintenance of refrigeration equipment and supermarkets.

“Regulations, both energy and refrigerant, are driving a shift in the commercial refrigeration market,” said Lisa Tryson, director, corporate communications and public relations, Danfoss. “The industry is facing an unprecedented number of regulations, which will change the landscape of approved technologies and impact supermarkets and commercial refrigeration equipment.”

Pamela Gupta, manager, greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction strategy section, California Air Resources Board (CARB), provided keynote remarks for the symposium with an introduction to the regulations and policies pushing industry in California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

According to Gupta, of all the hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) emissions released in the state, 86 percent can be attributed to refrigerants. Similarly, 36 percent of HFC emissions result from commercial refrigeration systems using more than 50 pounds of refrigerant. To help reduce the impact statewide, California has established reduction targets for short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), including a 40 percent reduction of fluorinated gas (F-gas) emissions by 2030, based on current (2013) levels. SLCPs also include methane and black carbon.

“If we can achieve significant levels of SLCP emission reductions globally, we can actually reduce or control global temperature rise by almost ½-degree Celsius by mid-century,” Gupta explained.

Some of the policy design considerations for reducing F-gas emissions include meeting states’ emission-reduction targets, ensuring the timely transition of R-22 systems to the lowest possible global warming potential (GWP) alternative, incentivizing improvements in energy efficiency, and providing flexibility for the industry to minimize costs and meet the objectives as cost-effectively as possible.

Measures under consideration from CARB include financial incentives for new, low-GWP (less than 150 GWP) commercial refrigeration systems; a ban on the sale of very high-GWP refrigerants, which are generally defined as having a GWP of 2,500 or greater; a phasedown of HFC production and consumption similar to the amendment proposed by North America to the Montreal Protocol; a prohibition of high-GWP refrigerants in new stationary refrigeration and air conditioning systems; and limits imposed on refrigerant GWPs, but this has yet to be defined.

Such regulatory actions in California could help to dictate the path forward for other states. However, as participants pointed out, there remains a sense of uncertainty within the industry about how to proceed, particularly as doing business across state lines means a complex Web of compliance — in conjunction with those set forth by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — and the lifespan of allowed substances is not guaranteed.

For supermarket end users, the goal is an end-game refrigerant solution — not interim, incremental changes.

For more information about Danfoss’ EnVisioneering Symposia Series, visit

Publication date: 11/30/2015

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