low-GWP

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 info@nasrc.org. Exhibitor applications are due by COB Friday, November 15th. For more information or to register for the expo, visit www.nasrc.org/energy-efficiency-expo.

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

DSC01790.JPG

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.

DSC01836.JPG

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.

DSC01858.JPG

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.