Contractor Insights: Allan Samuels

Contractor Insights: Allan Samuels

Allan Samuels

Clive Samuels and Associates, (CSA) Princeton, NJ, a business unit of Emerson Climate Technologies’ Retail division, has received a silver LEED certification for the mechanical, electrical and refrigeration system it designed for the Wild Oats pilot supermarket in Boulder, CO.

The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) presented the award under its new Retail Pilot rating system. The store is the first supermarket, and second overall store to receive the certification.

“Our entire organization is committed to providing products and services that enhance energy efficiency and sustainability for the retail market,” says Clive Samuels, company founder and executive vice president. “We’re truly excited to have contributed a design that helped Wild Oats achieve this highly-honored certification.”

The CSA system design will enable the Boulder store to achieve an estimated 25% reduction in energy usage. It employs a cutting edge refrigeration system, which minimizes the environmental impact of high energy use and traditional refrigeration systems with large refrigerant charges. By minimizing refrigerant charges, using alternative technology and paying careful attention to design, refrigerant use was cut by 76%.

Clive Samuels and Associates provides engineering services for retail, commercial and industrial customers in the U.S. and worldwide. Its services range from conceptual design and energy analysis to detailed HVAC, electrical, plumbing and refrigeration system design.

In the U.S., CSA operates two offices in New Jersey, another in Texas, and a new location in Pasadena, CA. Its projects include supermarkets, dry retail, mix-use centers, distribution centers, offices, hotels and industrial buildings. Approximately 25 employees are devoted to supermarket refrigeration installation in the U.S.

The CSA refrigeration system brought a 25% reduction in energy use to the Wild Oats store.

Contracting Business caught up with Allan Samuels, CSA’s executive vice president — who had just arrived in the U.S. after an overnight flight from one of the company’s European offices — to discuss the Wild Oats project, and trends in supermarket refrigeration.

“The Wild Oats project uses a glycol secondary system, with an integrated design that locates refrigeration equipment closely coupled with the fixtures,” Samuels explains. “With infrared leak detection, an extremely low leak rate and no CFC emissions, this system has earned all sustainable LEED points related to refrigerants, including a LEED point for ‘enhanced refrigeration management,’ which is based on the refrigerant type, its global warming potential (GWP), ozone depleting potential (ODP) and estimated leak rate.”

The refrigeration system uses water-cooled condensing, and the heat rejected from the system is used for heating the sales area during winter months. Heat pumps are operated in reverse mode to remove low-grade heat from the condensing medium.

Samuels says the most notable project challenges were related to enhanced fundamental system commissioning, a requirement for meeting LEED commissioning standards.

“It’s a fairly rigorous process. We had to work hand-in-hand with a third-party commissioning agent, and prove that all systems were operating as designed,” Samuels explains.

Allan’s brother, Clive Samuels, founded the company in the U.S. after working for a refrigeration manufacturer and various supermarket chains, and Allan soon joined him. Allan says both brothers, “had the refrigeration business in their blood,” as their father, Syd Samuels, was the Hussman representative in South Africa many years ago. Emerson purchased CSA six years ago.

Adapting to New Technology

Keys to CSA’s success include its ability to grasp the ever-evolving trends in refrigeration technology, and its ability to integrate refrigeration into mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) systems, a critical part of supermarkets today.

“We stay on the cutting edge of technology, to learn what works and what doesn’t work, and being a part of Emerson has given us a huge lift in knowing what technologies are available, and how well they perform,” Samuels says the key to attracting new talent to the refrigeration industry is found in what kind of picture you paint for the prospective employee, and CSA uses a “palette” of vivid colors.

“You have to communicate the exciting activity that is taking place in the engineering field related to new technology, the environment, and sustainability,” Samuels says. “This passion has to be conveyed to new recruits.”

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