NASRC Expo to Highlight Low-GWP AND Energy Efficient Refrigeration Solutions

Irwindale, California – On January 15th and 16th, North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC) and Southern California Edison (SCE) will co-host the first-ever Low-GWP & Energy Efficiency Expo, which will showcase the latest commercial refrigeration technologies and solutions that offer both low-GWP and energy efficiency benefits in new and existing facilities.

This event will build on a workshop NASRC co-hosted with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) earlier this year, which sought to align the goals of California food retailers, California utilities, and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) by optimizing for energy efficiency with natural refrigerants.

“After our July workshop, it became clear that food retailers, service contractors, government agencies, and utilities were looking for an easy way to identify technologies that are both energy efficient and compatible with refrigerants below 150 GWP,” said Danielle Wright, executive director of the NASRC. “Our goal with this event is to provide a platform to showcase these technologies in the context of California regulations.”

In 2017, CARB proposed new regulations that will require all new systems to use refrigerants with a GWP of 150 or less starting in 2022, causing many California grocers and food retailers to explore natural refrigerant technologies and solutions.

Natural refrigerants, including hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide, and ammonia, offer a “future-proof” solution in terms of regulations, but also present a unique set of challenges. Not only do these technologies often come at an upfront cost premium compared to traditional technologies, but a shortage of trusted data has led to uncertainty around energy performance and other lifecycle costs. What’s more, because natural refrigerants are not a “drop-in” solution, existing stores require a full system replacement, making a natural refrigerant “retrofit” unfeasible in most facilities.     

California utilities offer a variety of programs that can help finance the adoption of energy efficient refrigerant technologies, such as on-bill financing, emerging technologies funding, and custom incentive programs. By incorporating low-GWP refrigerant technologies into new and existing programs utilities can support CARB in reaching their emissions reductions targets and California food retailers to adopt low-GWP technologies without breaking the bank.

“Utility incentives and other funding sources that offset the upfront costs of these technologies have the power to increase volumes of adoption and drive us closer to reaching economies of scale where we see the costs of these technologies fall,” said Wright. “But for that to happen, utilities, government agencies, and supermarkets need to have a better understanding of which technologies below 150 GWP also offer energy efficiency benefits in both new and existing facilities.”

This free, two-day event seeks to provide clarity by highlighting a diversity of commercial refrigeration products that are compatible with refrigerants below 150 GWP and have proven energy efficiency benefits through a product expo, technomercials, case studies, and refrigeration “Shark Tank” sessions. Attendees will also hear updates on California refrigerant regulations, current and future offerings from California utilities, and 2022 Title 24 energy code impacts.  

This event will be attended by grocery and food retailers, service contractors, equipment manufacturers & suppliers, utilities, policymakers, government agencies, and other key commercial refrigeration stakeholders.

 Manufacturers interested in exhibiting should contact the NASRC at Exhibitor applications are due by COB Friday, November 15th. For more information or to register for the expo, visit

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 announced 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 assess 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.

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