Is A Naturally Cool Video the Key to State Incentives for Low-GWP Refrigerants?

The regulatory landscape for commercial refrigeration is quickly changing as individual states begin to ramp up regulations to phase down hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants (HFCs). These high global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants have come into focus as one of the most effective ways for states to reduce their overall greenhouse gas emissions. However, these refrigerant regulations have significant financial implications for the supermarket industry. Incentive programs have the power to fast track the adoption of climate-friendly low-GWP refrigerants and more effectively accomplish state emissions reduction goals, but these programs need broader public support to get the funding they need.

The NASRC recently launched a new environmentally-focused movement called Naturally Cool to raise awareness about climate-friendly natural refrigerants and the environment. On Earth Day, we announced the first project of the movement, a high-impact educational video that will increase public awareness of natural refrigerants and the environment.

“Virtually no one outside our industry knows about the impact of refrigerants on the environment or the enormous burden supermarkets face in moving to climate-friendly refrigerants. As a result, financial support for the industry to adopt low-GWP refrigerant technologies has been limited.”

-Danielle Wright, Executive Director of the NASRC

We plan to leverage this increased public awareness to accelerate and add strength to our core initiatives that benefit the commercial refrigeration industry, such as our push for incentive programs that offset upfront costs of natural refrigerant technologies.

“The situation in California is a great example of how resources like our video could make a real difference,” said Wright.

In 2018, the California Cooling Act established an incentive program to help offset the cost premiums of low-GWP refrigerant technologies. However, despite support from the supermarket community, the incentive program went unfunded in the state’s proposed 2019-20 budget. We believe that is due, in part, to a lack of public pressure.

“California constituents can’t push for the incentive program to receive funding if they have never been exposed to this topic, and as a result don’t understand the need,” said Wright. “A simple resource to help folks understand the importance of this issue is a critical step towards establishing a well-funded and impactful incentive program.”

Impact starts with awareness, and we aim to accelerate our impact with this simple, 60-second animated video followed by subsequent projects under the Naturally Cool Movement.

“If done right, a video can be entertaining, educational, and easy to share,” said Wright. “It is the best form of media to get our message out to the broadest audience.”

We also launched a fundraiser and are asking for donations to allow us to develop and promote this educational resource, which can be accessed here: https://www.gofundme.com/naturallycoolvideo.

 Read more about the Naturally Cool Movement and how to get involved here: http://nasrc.org/naturallycool.

Call for Technical Papers - IIAR 2020 Conference & Heavy Equipment Expo

Share Your Expertise Through A Commercial & Food Retail Refrigeration Technical Paper At the Upcoming IIAR Conference & Expo

Gain recognition throughout the natural refrigeration industry by presenting a Technical Paper or Workshop at the upcoming 2020 IIAR Natural Refrigeration Conference & Heavy Equipment Expo in Orlando, Florida. The 2020 Expo will feature Heavy Equipment!

Technical papers explore technical or regulatory topics that are substantiated by original research and development with documented references. They describe actual situations where actions, testing, or data accumulation are used to prove or demonstrate the outcome of applied methods, and could be reasonably applied to other similar situations. For each year's conference, IIAR publishes the technical paper proceedings. 

Read more and submit your abstracts here.

NASRC Refrigerants Workshop Seeks to Align Climate and Energy Goals in California

San Francisco, California – On July 18, 2019, the NASRC and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) will co-host an educational workshop to help the supermarket industry prepare for California’s refrigerant regulations. Expert presenters will share insights on commercial refrigeration market trends, the latest technology solutions, and strategies to optimize energy efficiency in the context of new regulatory requirements. The workshop will bring together stakeholders from the commercial refrigeration, government, and utility sectors to discuss goals, define challenges, and identify solutions that meet the needs of supermarkets, comply with regulations, and increase energy savings.

 “This workshop will provide a platform to align the goals of various stakeholders and develop actionable solutions to the challenges faced by each group,” said Danielle Wright executive director of NASRC. “Bringing all stakeholders to the table is key to overcoming barriers to natural refrigerant adoption and making measureable industry progress.”

California is one of a growing number of states who have committed to phase down Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are potent greenhouse gases (GHGs) commonly used as refrigerants in supermarkets and grocery stores. HFCs are often referred to as super pollutants due to their rapid and severe impact on global warming. California has set goals to reduce state HFC emissions by 40 percent below 2013 levels by 2030, and has already established regulations to limit the use of high-GWP refrigerants. Additionally, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has announed new regulations that will ban the sale of virgin refrigerants with a GWP of 1,500 or more and will require all new systems to use refrigerants with a GWP of 150 or less starting in 2022.

For California supermarkets and grocery stores, the transition to low-GWP refrigerants is anything but easy in both new and existing stores. Natural refrigerants, including carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, and ammonia, are technically viable and “future-proof” solutions to all existing refrigerant regulations, but these new technologies often come at an upfront cost premium when compared to traditional refrigeration technologies. Furthermore, it can be difficult to asses the return on investment as the ongoing costs of maintenance and operations can also be higher for natural refrigerant-based technologies. 

The state has acknowledged the cost premiums associated with adopting low-GWP refrigerant technologies as well as the need for funding to support supermarkets as they transition. Last year, the California Cooling Act (SB 1013) established an incentive program to help offset the cost premiums associated with low-GWP refrigerant technologies. However despite broad support from the supermarket community, the incentive program went unfunded in the state’s proposed 2019-20 budget. Without financial support, supermarkets will continue to face uncertainty around how to fund this transition.

California utilities will also be impacted by the new refrigerant regulations. As new requirements go into effect and more low-GWP refrigerant technologies are installed, the baseline from which utilities measure energy savings will change. As a result, existing tools and programs will need to be adapted to address these new technologies. Natural refrigerant-based technologies have the potential to be energy efficient, but in many cases efficiency gains require increased system complexities that come at an additional cost. Utility incentives could play a key role in driving the adoption of low-GWP refrigerant technologies while ensuring energy efficiency. This would have a big impact on energy use throughout the state because not only are supermarkets more electricity-intensive than any other commercial building type, but their refrigeration system makes up the largest electricity load, using up to 60% of the store’s total energy.

“Optimizing natural refrigerants technologies to be energy efficient represents a win for all stakeholders,” said Wright. “Not only will this help offset upfront costs through opportunities for utility incentives, but it will also provide supermarkets with a return on their upfront investments through energy savings. This has the power to increase the adoption of low-GWP technologies and contribute to both direct and indirect state emissions reduction goals. We see this workshop as a critical step towards accomplishing all of these goals.”

The workshop is generously sponsored by Climate Pros, AHT Cooling Systems USA, Hillphoenix, and BITZER US. Attendees will include supermarket retailers, service contractors, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, government agencies, utilities, engineering & design firms, consultants, NGOs, and other stakeholders.

Click here for more information.

Thank you to our sponsors!

Dorin Joins the NASRC as A Silver Member

Compiobbi, Italy— Officine Mario Dorin, has joined the NASRC as a silver member. Dorin is a 100 year old company (established in 1918), and is still run by the Dorin family. The company has worked in the refrigeration industry since 1932, and began to manufacture semi-hermetic compressors in 1957. Today, compressors are the core to their business and are used in a wide variety of applications, including the food retail, transportation, agricultural, and pharmaceutical industries worldwide.

Dorin began to develop compressors for CO2 transcritical systems in 1991, and has since contributed to tremendous progress of CO2 refrigeration. Today, the company has over 60,000 Dorin CO2 compressors in operation around the world. Dorin has also actively contributed technical support to define engineering standards for CO2 throughout Europe. More recently, Dorin has begun to expand their presence in the U.S. market, where CO2 continues to be a large part of their business.

“The USA and North American markets are becoming more and more interested in natural refrigeration following the global trends of reduction of GWP of refrigerants. We have decided to invest in the North American market because we believe that our customers have the right to have closer support, especially now with the rise of CO2 as a refrigerant. Therefore, the establishment of Dorin USA LLC is the natural step to show our commitment to the American market players.”

-Giovanni Dorin, Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer for Dorin

Natural refrigerants, including carbon dioxide (CO2), ammonia (NH3) and hydrocarbons, have extremely low global warming potentials (GWPs), and as a result are considered “climate-friendly.” Recent regulations at the global, federal, and state levels have caused more supermarkets to consider natural refrigerant technologies.

However, only a small percentage of the U.S. market has adopted natural refrigerant equipment due to a unique set of market barriers, including upfront costs, lack of trained service contractors, and uncertainties around lifecycle costs. The NASRC works directly with Dorin and over 120 other industry stakeholders to address and remove these barriers. 

 “Dorin has shown great leadership in advancing natural refrigerants worldwide. We are very excited to leverage their expertise to accelerate progress in North America.”

-Danielle Wright, Executive Director of the NASRC

In addition to manufacturers like Dorin, NASRC members represent other commercial refrigeration industry stakeholders, including service contractors, consultants, engineering firms, trade associations, nonprofits, refrigerant distributors, and over 22,000 supermarket locations in North America.

More information about Dorin is available at www.dorin.com.

NASRC Member Discount: ATMOsphere America, 2019

NASRC members: Get $100 off of your ATMOsphere America conference ticket with the code NASRC!

This year’s conference will bring new and refreshed features enhancing the content, business case and networking aspects with a special emphasis on end user and contractor presentations.

The NASRC will be co-hosting a food retail panel at the conference to discuss end-users’ experience with planning, installation, and performance of different natural refrigerant systems.  Click here to learn more and see the draft program.

Key features and benefits of ATMO America 2019 include:

  • Free admission for industry end users and contractors

  • Travel fund of up to $1,000 for first-time end users

  • Best Practice Sessions: Private sessions for end users only, for end users to learn and share in confidence

  • End User Advisory Committee: Leading end users working with ATMO America to create an even better and more relevant content

  • Compact, 2-day program jam-packed with market trends, technology and policy sessions, panel discussions, keynotes, networking events, site visits, workshops and more

We hope to see you there!