During the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020, Heatcraft Refrigeration Products helped Faber Street Foodworks LLC, a meal production and delivery company in partnership with by Grounded Ventures, build a $20 million, 56,000-square-foot food production facility in Union City, California.

The meal production company’s major client, a leading American health care provider, contracted them to provide patient meals to all its facilities in northern California, with a commitment to 100% local and sustainably produced food by 2025. This meant the meal production company needed a sustainable food preparation plant.

Creating a custom solution for a sustainable, 56,000-square-foot food processing facility was no easy feat, especially during a pandemic. California Air Resources Board (or CARB) regulations phase out the most conventional refrigerants for new installations due to their significant global warming potential (GWP). So low-GWP refrigerants and equipment were an absolute necessity. The facility also needed technology that could operate on CO2. The project partners were intent on future-proofing against HFC regulations and couldn’t use ammonia due to facility’s proximity to a highly populated urban area.

Heatcraft created a use case for low-GWP technology by dissecting the end-customer’s needs on equipment, temperature ranges, and regulatory compliance with CARB and the United States Department of Agriculture. They calculated the equipment’s energy efficiency for future rebates and total cost of ownership, and selected a complete CO2 solution to meet the facility’s cold storage equipment needs.

To meet industrial food processing standards, Heatcraft installed 36 Larkin model multi-temperature evaporators as part of a CO2 transcritical system. This allowed most of the load to be carried by the medium temp system (230HP), which allowed for maximum energy efficiency, reduced energy costs, and energy rebate qualification.

The project received a direct utility rebate of more than $45,000 based on the ability of Heatcraft’s eCO2Boost Transcritical Refrigeration System to provide 40 to 100% of the building’s hot water load.

Because of the project’s environmental benefits, the project received a $2 million grant to lower the capital cost of the installation. The CO2 evaporators, coolers, and rack demonstrated a 50% energy reduction, lowering energy costs instantly for the end-customer’s operations.

From start to finish, the new facility was built and operational in less than a year. By installing low-GWP, CO2 transcritical systems, the end-customer met CARB’s GWP regulations for industrial cooling and will be protected from refrigeration phaseouts in the future.

Photos courtesy of Heatcraft Refrigeration Products.