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Energy Efficiency in HFC-free Supermarket Refrigeration

Commercial refrigeration is estimated to globally produce annual GHG emissions in the range of 1-1.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, out of which direct emissions (from the refrigerant) range between 0.35- 0.46 GtCO 2 e and indirect emissions (those associated with electricity use) range between 0.65-0.85 GtCO 2 e. It is therefore clear that tackling the climate impact of refrigerants must be coupled with addressing energy efficiency and energy sources of refrigeration systems.

Given the relatively long lifespan of cooling systems in supermarkets, decisions being made now will impact the climate (and the bottom line for end users) for decades to come. To reap the highest rewards from investment in HFC-free technology, a rigorous integrated approach to equipment design and selection considering the entire needs of the store should be taken. This briefing is based on a review of technical options for energy efficient HFC-free commercial refrigeration undertaken by shecco. Food retailers should use the opportunity of the global HFC phase-down to simultaneously improve the energy efficiency of their refrigeration systems.

Members of the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) are key stakeholders in ensuring market demand for energy efficient HFC-free technology, encouraging development of new technology and system controls, sharing case studies and maintaining pressure on industry and policymakers to ensure the success of the HFC phase-down. Decisions concerning refrigeration systems must take into account the total life cycle cost (not just the initial upfront cost) and the full environmental impact. Making the right choices in terms of refrigerant, system design and maintenance practices will reap significant economic and environmental benefits in the future.

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Recent Blog Posts

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This month a new standards proposal under ASHRAE-15, represents some progress for uptake of climate-friendly hydrocarbon refrigerants to replace super pollutant hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The proposal allows hydrocarbons to be used in corridors and lobbies of commercial buildings like hotels. It allows up to 114 grams of propane where previously none was allowed at all. This will enable vending machines and most other light commercial refrigeration equipment like small one door beverage coolers containing hydrocarbons to be used in these spaces.
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Washington DC – A new paper published in Nature today warns that emissions from ‘banks’ of ozone-destroying CFCs, could potentially delay the Antarctic ozone hole recovery by about six years. The new paper, Quantifying contributions of chlorofluorocarbon banks to emissions and impacts on the ozone layer and climate, also estimates that future emissions from current CFC banks could lead to an additional 9 billion metric tonnes CO2e between 2020 and 2100.
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