Refrigeration: New Compressor Regs Begin Soon

Efficiency is evaluated on the system as a whole, including: doors, lighting, insulation, controls, fans and the condensing unit. 

January 25, 2017

In two months, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) mandate for a 30–50 percent reduction (on average) in energy consumption on new stand-alone commercial refrigeration equipment, as measured in kWh per day, will take effect. Efficiency is evaluated on the system as a whole, including: doors, lighting, insulation, controls, fans and the condensing unit. 

The compliance date for this efficiency reduction is March 27, 2017.

Emerson has made generational improvements to its compressors, specifically related to the A*E platform featured in the Copeland™ M-Line air- and water-cooled condensing unit, to help meet these efficiency reductions.

Affected equipment architectures for this March 27 compliance date include:

  • remote condensing commercial refrigerators and freezers;
  • self-contained commercial refrigerators and freezers, both with and without doors;
  • open display cases.

This means that all new equipment manufactured after this date will fall within the purview of this rule. And, with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to phase out commonly used refrigerants such as R-404A and R-134a in 2019, OEMs must factor this key design consideration into their engineering equation.

With condensing units accounting for up to 60 percent of energy consumption in a system and compressors acting as the condensing unit ‘engine’, generational improvements to compressors can have a significant impact on reducing energy consumption.

M-Line units now feature fourth- and fifth-generation hermetic reciprocating compressors designed for the highest efficiencies and are coupled with optimized condenser coils. The A*E**C4E and A*E**C5E compressors offer the same footprint; better sound; higher efficiency; and alternative refrigerant availability, which includes R-448A, R-449A, R-450A and R-513A.

After March 27, equipment manufacturers who are still offering reach-in units that don’t comply with the DOE rule may be subject to penalties. While many consider the DOE deadline on commercial refrigeration equipment a significant regulatory milestone, it’s important to remember that it’s one of the first steps the industry must take on this journey to compliance.

Among the challenges that still lie on the path ahead include:

• Jan. 1, 2018: DOE new efficiency targets on automatic commercial ice makers

• Jan. 1, 2018: EPA delisting R-404A for remote condensing unit architectures

• Jan. 1. 2019: EPA begins phasing out R-404A, R-507A, R-410A, R-407A/C/F and R-134a in stand-alone units

• Jan. 1. 2020: DOE new efficiency targets for walk-in coolers and freezers

Compressor selection will continue to play a large role in achieving these upcoming regulatory mandates. Emerson is committed to effectively navigate this shifting regulatory landscape and help guide the industry toward the next generation of refrigeration technologies and equipment architectures.

Ani Jayanth is marketing manager, foodservice, for Emerson.

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