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NASRC California Workshop Drives Incentives for Low-GWP and Energy Efficient Technologies

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San Francisco, California – On July 18th, the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC) organized a workshop aimed at aligning stakeholder goals and optimizing energy efficiency opportunities with low-GWP refrigerants. The workshop featured an update on refrigerant regulations from the California Air Resources Board (CARB), as well as an overview of low-GWP technologies that will help supermarkets comply with the new regulations. The intention of the workshop was to highlight the goals and challenges of key stakeholders and identify potential “win-win-win” solutions.

“We often hear that there is a perceived trade-off between GWP reduction and energy efficiency. But we see an opportunity to optimize energy savings with natural refrigerants, which represents a win for CARB, supermarkets, and California utilities. That was our primary goal with this workshop.”

- Danielle Wright, Executive Director, NASRC

The workshop was set in the context of California’s goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and to reduce HFC emissions to 40% below 2013 levels by 2030. To achieve these goals, CARB has proposed new regulations that would prohibit the use of refrigerants with a global warming potential (GWP) above 150 in new construction and ban the sale of virgin refrigerants with a GWP above 1,500 starting in 2022.

Though regulatory compliance is an important objective for supermarkets, they have a number of other goals to consider, such as keeping their products cold and their costs down. The pending regulations present a challenge for California supermarkets because many low-GWP technologies still represent a considerable cost premium. To really accelerate the adoption of refrigerant technologies below 150 GWP, supermarkets are going to need some financial support to offset cost premiums. 

The workshop featured several potential solutions to help overcome existing cost hurdles, starting with a state incentive program. This year, the California State Legislature allocated $1 million to the state’s low-GWP incentive program, which was established in 2018 under the California Cooling Act. This incentive program is intended to promote adoption of new low-GWP refrigerant technologies throughout California. CARB announced that they are currently working to design the program and are looking for input from stakeholders.

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In addition to state-level incentives, the workshop highlighted utility funding opportunities for projects that contribute to their energy efficiency targets. Workshop speakers discussed existing utility incentive opportunities that can apply to low-GWP refrigerant technologies, such as Pacific Gas and Electric’s (PG&E) custom incentive program and commercial whole buildings program. California supermarkets can participate in these programs to receive incentives for the energy and demand savings associated with projects using low-GWP refrigerant technologies. Customers of any investor-owned utility (IOU) can also take advantage of on-bill financing programs, which offer zero percent interest loans that are repaid through the customer’s utility bill.

A new financing mechanism that will leverage carbon offset credits for greenhouse gas emissions reductions from natural refrigerant projects was also discussed. In this scenario, the carbon offset credits would be purchased from a supermarket, reducing the upfront cost of a natural refrigerant project. The NASRC and Natural Capital Partners are partnering to pilot this carbon financing model with the hopes of scaling into a larger program. This funding source could then be coupled with state or utility incentives to make a low-GWP refrigerant project financially feasible.  

“Any one of these financial options may not be enough to allow a supermarket to move forward with a natural refrigerant system,” said Wright. “But combining a number of financial mechanisms may be the solution that allows supermarkets to adopt natural refrigerant systems that will not be subject to future regulations.”

NASRC intends to help drive each proposed solution forward with the goal of combining funding opportunities to minimize cost barriers and contribute to the goals of California supermarkets, California utilities, and CARB.

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The worship was co-hosted by PG&E and took place at their Pacific Energy Center (PEC) facility in San Francisco. Sponsored by Climate Pros, Hillphoenix, AHT Cooling Systems, and Bitzer US, the workshop was attended by over 100 California stakeholders, including supermarket retailers, service contractors, equipment manufacturers & suppliers, government agencies, utilities, engineering & design firms, consultants, and NGOs.

Check out more upcoming NASRC events here.

Rivacold Brings Natural Refrigerant Expertise to North America as New NASRC Silver Member

Atlanta, Georgia—Rivacold America has joined the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC) as a silver member. Rivacold is a manufacturer of refrigeration assemblies, including compressor receiver sets, open and housed condensing units, packaged and split systems, multi-compressor packs, air cooled and compact condensers, static evaporators, and unit coolers.

Established in Italy in 1966, Rivacold has grown to have a global presence and now offers a number of natural refrigerant technologies, such as CO2 condensing units and R290 packaged units for walk-ins. The company has engineered and installed hundreds of cost effective, efficient solutions utilizing natural refrigerants. More recently, Rivacold has begun to grow their presence in the U.S. market, where they are continuing to emphasize their natural refrigerant technologies.

“While we all continued to monitor the evolution of less environmentally impactful synthetic refrigerants, it became more and more clear that natural refrigerants have a long-term place in our industry. There is a visible trend today with multi-circuited parallel hydrocarbon and CO2 split systems, both of which Rivacold has great experience with. Therefore, when given the opportunity to be a part of NASRC and help accelerate the movement in the market to a more stable and responsible position, it only seemed …… natural and we look forward to getting more engaged.”

-Doug Schmidt, President, Rivacold America

Globally, the supermarket industry has begun to transition to climate-friendly refrigerants with low global warming potential (GWP). Natural refrigerants, including carbon dioxide (CO2), ammonia (NH3) and hydrocarbons, have extremely low global warming potentials and offer technically viable solutions in supermarkets. 

However, despite the growth in natural refrigerant adoption throughout Europe, natural refrigerants are not yet widely adopted in the U.S. due to a unique set of market barriers, such as upfront costs, lack of trained service contractors, and uncertainty around lifecycle costs.

The NASRC is a 501c3 nonprofit focused on taking action to eliminate the barriers slowing the widespread adoption of natural refrigerants in supermarkets and create a more climate-friendly future for refrigeration. The organization works with Rivacold and over 125 other industry organizations to take actions that overcome the challenges associated with naturals. 

 “We are excited to welcome Rivacold to our membership network. We look forward to leveraging their global expertise to add strength to our initiatives.”

- Danielle Wright, Executive Director, NASRC

In addition to Rivacold, NASRC is supported by a strong network of members, which represents over 24,000 supermarket locations in North America, major equipment manufacturers, service contractors, and other stakeholders.

“Our network of members is the driving force that propels our mission forward,” said Wright. “Together, we can move the needle on natural refrigerant adoption in the U.S., and we are pleased to have Rivacold participate in those efforts.”

More information about Rivacold is available at www.rivacold.com/ww/en.

Howe Corporation Joins NASRC As A Silver Member, Expanding Natural Refrigerant Equipment Options for Supermarkets

Chicago, Illinois—Howe Corporation has joined the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC) as a silver member. The NASRC is a 501c3 nonprofit taking action address the barriers slowing the widespread adoption of natural refrigerants in supermarkets to create a more climate-friendly future for refrigeration. 

Howe Corporation is a family-owned manufacturer of ice flakers and ice bins used in retail and industrial applications. The company was founded in 1912 when “artificial ice” began to gain traction over harvested ice imported by rail, allowing Howe Corporation to quickly grow as an industry leader. Since then, Howe Corporation has demonstrated great innovation along with a commitment to natural refrigerants through their CO2 and ammonia compatible flake ice machines and ice bins. Howe Corporation, as a leader in the market, has offered CO2 flake ice machines for commercial applications since 2009.

“We are proud to join the NASRC and emphasize our commitment to low-global warming potential solutions. The NASRC provides a forum for manufacturers, end-users, and other industry stakeholders to collaborate and develop solutions to remove barriers to market adoption of low-GWP technologies. We are proud to participate in this forum with our industry partners.”

-David Barrent, Vice President of Engineering and Operations, Howe Corporation

The supermarket industry has seen a recent increase in demand for low-global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant technologies. This has led to a rise in demand for natural refrigerants, which have negligible GWPs and are exempt from all existing and pending refrigerant regulations.

As the demand for low-GWP refrigerant technologies increases, a growing number of supermarkets are looking for equipment options that can be used with natural refrigerants. Howe Corporation is helping to ease the transition to natural refrigerants through their product offerings that are compatible with natural refrigerant technologies.

“No single refrigeration technology is going to be the right choice for every store. One thing supermarkets need right now is a variety of market-ready technologies that allow them to comply with refrigerant regulations without disrupting business as usual.”

- Danielle Wright, Executive Director, NASRC

Despite the growing demand for natural refrigerants, they are not yet widely adopted in the U.S. due to a unique set of market barriers. The NASRC is focused on removing those barriers to make natural refrigerants a strong economic choice for supermarkets.

The organization works directly with the strong network of industry stakeholders that make up NASRC membership to drive initiatives that address the upfront costs of natural refrigerant technologies, remove uncertainty around lifecycle costs, and ensure availability of service technicians who are qualified to handle natural refrigerants.

“We are pleased to welcome Howe Corporation to our network,” said Wright. “A number of our supermarket members are looking for equipment that help them seamlessly transitions to natural refrigerants, and Howe Corporation is a great example of a company providing those products. 

In addition to Howe Corporation, NASRC is supported by a strong network of members, which represents over 24,000 supermarket locations in North America, major equipment manufacturers, service contractors, and other stakeholders.

More information about Howe Corporation is available at www.howecorp.com.

NASRC Workshop to Address Challenges and Opportunities of HFC Phasedown in New York

Albany, New York – On September 27th, the NASRC and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will co-host a free educational workshop to help supermarket stakeholders prepare for future refrigerant regulations in New York State. The workshop will feature an update from the DEC on proposed regulation, expert presentations on low-GWP technology options, and opportunities for funding the industry’s transition.

“Our goal is to engage stakeholders early in the regulatory process and bring all parties to the table,” said Danielle Wright, executive director of the NASRC. “The sooner we can identify challenges, the sooner we can begin to work on solutions that will ultimately bring divergent goals into alignment.”  

New York is one of a growing number of states who have committed to phase down Hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants (HFCs) as part of their larger climate goals. For the time being, the DEC has proposed to adopt the vacated US EPA SNAP rules. However in June, the state passed what has been referred to as the most ambitious climate targets in the U.S., which include entirely carbon-free electricity by 2040 and economy-wide, net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“Given the state’s ambitious climate targets, we’re thinking big picture about what the regulations will look like in the future and what role energy efficiency will play,” said Wright.

Supermarket refrigeration represents an important opportunity to make considerable progress on climate goals. In addition to potential greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions from the use of low-GWP refrigerants, there is an equally significant opportunity to simultaneously reduce emissions and energy demand by optimizing refrigeration technologies for energy efficiency.

“We see a tremendous opportunity to align and make progress on the goals of all key stakeholders through this workshop. Reducing emissions from refrigerant leaks and increasing energy efficiency is a win-win, but it’s going to take a collective effort and dialogue between all stakeholders to get there.”

-Danielle Wright

This workshop will provide a platform to bring stakeholders together to discuss challenges associated with natural refrigerants and identify actionable solutions. The NASRC intends to implement those solutions to move the needle on natural refrigerant adoption and reduce the regulatory burdens for New York supermarkets. 

Workshop attendees will hear from expert presenters who will provide a comprehensive overview of low-GWP refrigerant solutions, the latest technology innovations, strategies to optimize energy efficiency, and opportunities for low-GWP financial incentives. The workshop will also provide stakeholders with an opportunity to engage in the regulatory process and provide input on New York’s phasedown plan.

The event is generously sponsored by CoolSys, Danfoss, and Dorin. Attendees will include supermarket retailers, service contractors, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, government agencies, utilities, engineering & design firms, consultants, NGOs, and other stakeholders.

For more information or to register for the workshop, visit www.nasrc.org/low-gwp-ny-workshop.

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.