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

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.

Click here for more information.

Thank you to our sponsors!

Free Natural Refrigerants Workshop Provides Insights for Commercial Refrigeration Stakeholders


Burlington, Vermont -- The state of supermarket refrigeration is changing rapidly. Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants are the most commonly used refrigerants today and have been named the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions globally. This recognition has caused an onslaught of new refrigerant regulations at the federal, state and local levels, causing many food retailers to rethink their refrigeration strategies. Natural refrigerants, including ammonia, carbon dioxide (CO2), and propane are considered “future-proof” refrigeration options, but are not yet widely adopted by the industry.  

On October 3rd, the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC), VEIC, and Efficiency Vermont, the statewide energy efficiency utility operated by VEIC, sought to provide insight on these future-proof refrigerants though a free Natural Refrigerants Workshop sponsored by Danfoss and True Manufacturing. The event was attended by roughly seventy commercial refrigeration stakeholders, including end-users, service contractors, manufacturers, engineering and design firms, consultants, nonprofits, utilities, and suppliers.

“The purpose of this workshop was to get commercial refrigeration stakeholders together in one room to discuss the many natural refrigerant options and the obstacles still facing the industry,” said Ali White, Energy Consultant at VEIC. “We often work in silos, so our objectives were to encourage the sharing of perspectives, to generate business relationships, and to increase the understanding of natural refrigerant technologies.”

Keilly Witman, owner of KW Refrigerant Management Strategy, facilitated the workshop. She set the stage with a discussion of the “mega-trends” influencing supermarket decisions, including growing urban populations, the changing function of brick and mortar stores, increasing regulations, technology advances that outpace codes and standards development, and human capital shortages.

For the remainder of the workshop, several commercial refrigeration manufacturers shared insights on natural refrigerant choices for new and existing stores, and how the mega-trends relate to each technology option.

Michael Lehtinen of Kysor Warren kicked off the manufacturer presentations with an overview of natural refrigerant rack options in new store construction, including CO2 transcritical, ammonia/CO2 cascade, and propane/CO2 cascade. Lehtinen echoed the sentiment that natural refrigerants are a future-proof option that present opportunities to get ahead of increasing refrigeration regulations.

Todd Washburn of True Manufacturing followed Lehtinen with a discussion of self-contained propane systems in new stores. He discussed the opportunities presented by this technology, including significant energy efficiency gains and increased merchandising flexibility.

The second half of the workshop focused on natural refrigerant options for existing stores, disputing the misconception that natural refrigerants are only a viable option in new stores. Efficiency Vermont started the conversation by announcing their exploration of a CO2 condensing unit pilot program in 2019 to test the potential energy savings this technology could offer to small-format stores. Though condensing units are available in other areas of the world, they are not in use in the United States, making this potential program even more exciting. 

“CO2 condensing units offer tremendous potential for commercial refrigeration applications, from large supermarkets to small-format convenience stores,” said Danielle Wright, Executive Director of the NASRC. “This technology makes the transition to low-GWP refrigerants more economically feasible by allowing for retrofit options and offering efficiency gains.”

John Prall of Embraco followed the announcement with a presentation on self-contained propane options in existing stores, including a walk-in remodel and a full store remodel to replace a rack system. He spoke of the benefits an increased propane charge limit would have on both the available options for remodels and the potential energy savings. There is currently an international proposal to increase the propane charge limit from 150 grams to 500 grams, which will go to a final vote in December or January.

David Tomicki of Hussmann followed Prall with a discussion around the use of CO2 transcritical systems in existing stores. He shared a case study of a Hannaford Brothers store in New England that adopted a CO2 transcritical system in an existing store, highlighting that these projects can be done without any down time, without impacting customers, and with minimal risk to products.

Peter Dee of Danfoss concluded the manufacturer presentations with a discussion of automated controls and the benefits they offer for all systems and equipment, including potential energy savings, reduced carbon emissions, and increased food safety and quality.

“It was great to attend the workshop in Burlington, Vermont to discuss natural refrigerants and some of the new technology and equipment that is available,” said Josh Smith, Manager of Refrigeration Services at Ahold Delhaize’s Retail Business Services. “I enjoyed being able to give feedback to manufacturers as well as discover new ways that we can incorporate natural refrigerants into future projects.”

The day closed with a discussion of the opportunities and threats presented by each mega-trend. There was an overwhelming sentiment from workshop attendees that though natural refrigerants present a number of opportunities, there are still hurdles that still need to be addressed to give natural refrigerants an equal spot on the market.  

Primary hurdles presented by the NASRC included upfront and ongoing costs, service readiness, and codes and standards. The NASRC is working directly with stakeholders from the commercial refrigeration industry to address these barriers head-on and put natural refrigerants on par other refrigerant options.  

FREE Natural Refrigerant Workshop: Mapping the Future of Refrigeration

Join the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC) and Efficiency Vermont for a FREE workshop that will map the future of refrigerant options in new and existing grocery stores.

The Natural Refrigerant Workshop that we hosted in Boise, Idaho earlier this year was so popular that we've been asked to do another. This workshop will build on the success of that event, but expand to focus on refrigerant options for existing stores. We’ll have fresh content and new presentations to continue building out the mega-trend timeline. Join us to get insights on the future of refrigeration that you won't hear anywhere else!

Attendees will hear from the nation's expert on refrigerant regulations and policy as well as experts from the country's leading engineering and manufacturing firms specializing in CO2, ammonia, and propane technologies. Together, attendees will map refrigerant choices in new and existing stores and what the future holds for each option.

Throughout the workshop, we will explore the “mega-trends” that are driving supermarket decisions now and in the future:

  • Government policies & regulation
  • Service technician training & availability
  • Energy use & other operating costs 
  • New technologies
  • Codes & standards
  • Population trends
  • Shifting function of stores

By the end of the workshop, attendees will have a comprehensive understanding of their refrigerant and technology options and how they will change in the future. This workshop is ideal for service contractors, food retailers from large chains to small independents and convenience stores, and other commercial refrigeration stakeholders.

Join us to equip yourself with the necessary information to make the right refrigerant decisions - today and tomorrow!

Light refreshments and lunch will be provided. A networking social will follow the workshop.   

Registration is required.

Space is limited, so don't delay!

Thank You To Our Sponsors!

ACHR theNEWS Covers NASRC Boise, Idaho Workshop

Screen Shot 2018-09-04 at 8.15.48 AM.png

In May of 2018, NASRC held a natural refrigerants workshop in Boise, Idaho. The event was a great success with attendance from about 60 commercial refrigeration stakeholders, including contractors, end-users, manufacturers, utilities, universities, nonprofits, and engineering firms.

ACHR theNEWs published a great article summarizing the workshop:


"The North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC) sought to provide some of that guidance in a workshop it recently offered. The speakers covered everything from current trends affecting the refrigeration industry to the various refrigerant options available for refrigeration systems. The lively interactive format prompted a lot of conversation — and debate — amongst attendees and offered greater insight into some of the complex issues that are associated with alternative refrigerants."