For two years, the commercial refrigeration industry has been reeling from a one-two regulatory punch from the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. This convergence of aggressive regulations was unprecedented for our industry.
It has forced us to explore every possibility to engineer the next generation of refrigeration systems — those that are capable of achieving new levels of energy efficiency while using an emerging class of eco-friendly refrigerants.
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Not only has this process consumed much of our efforts here at Emerson Climate Technologies, it’s also been the topic of discussion and debate throughout the industry. It was partly the reason why we launched our E360 platform last year: to provide a forum for these important conversations to take place and help the industry achieve consensus on our approach to these regulations.
Given the complexity of the industry and the broad range of segments affected, there’s no question the final rulings are challenging to digest.
While the rulings do indicate some responsiveness to the industry’s collective comments and concerns — such as slight timing delays and some application-specific concessions — the larger time frame and the targets set forth are still very aggressive.
But now that the rulings are final, the industry begins the “action” phase of this transition. This is where the rubber meets the road.
Now’s the time for us to translate our proof-of-concept designs into tangible courses of action that lead us on the best path forward. The dialogue will certainly continue, but now it will be more focused on identifying the specific solutions that will take us into the future of commercial refrigeration.
More than ever, we will still need the combined input and knowledge of all industry constituencies. We’ll need to understand the efforts required by everyone in the value chain and agree on a direction that works for all parties.
There are still many questions and moving pieces in this process, and it may take a while for the dust to settle. But from a big picture perspective, the time to start putting plans into action is now.
John Rhodes is president of Emerson Climate Technologies' refrigeration business.