Category Archives: Industrial HVAC

Energy Optimization

In Commercial Refrigeration and HVAC

It has been stated that 30% of the energy used to heat or cool a building or a commercial refrigeration unit is wasted.  This is caused byenergy optimization old commercial refrigeration equipment, inefficient HVAC equipment, leaks in the system, over-sized compressors, out of date refrigerants, and commercial refrigeration units that were not designed correctly from the start.  All of these issues can have drastic impact on a company’s bottom line due to the ever increasing cost of energy.

How Does Energy Optimization Work?

There are many ways to improve the efficiency of a commercial refrigeration or HVAC system.  Some of them are expensive and some of them are not.  The first step in improving the efficiency of your system and thereby reducing your energy costs would be an Energy Optimization Audit.

A technician certified in energy optimization can provide you with an audit that will clearly specify how to improve your heating and cooling efficiency.  Ways to improve your energy optimization could include the following:

  • Refrigerant Retrofits
  • Eliminating Leaks In Your HVAC, Ventilation & Commercial Refrigeration Systems
  • Installing Energy Efficient Lighting In Your Commercial Refrigeration Equipment
  • Installing Modern Control Units
  • Installing Variable Speed Motors On Heating and Cooling Equipment
  • Upgrading To More Efficient Compressors For Your Commercial Refrigeration & HVAC Equipment
  • Scheduling Regular Maintenance On Existing Refrigeration & HVAC Equipment

The recommendations from your Energy Optimization Audit can be simple and inexpensive ways to lower your energy costs or they could be more expensive.  Simple, inexpensive ways to improve the efficiency of your commercial refrigeration or HVAC system could include regularly scheduled maintenance and eliminating leaks.  More expensive recommendations to improve your energy efficiency could include replacing the compressors in your refrigeration equipment or HVAC system or possibly complete system upgrades.

The Results Of An Energy Optimization Audit

The bottom line is that energy savings means better business.  If you’re wasting energy, and therefore money, needlessly it will continue to be a drag on your company’s profitability.  An efficient business is a successful business.  An Energy Optimization Audit will give you the tools, resources, and possibly even rebates necessary to improve the energy efficiency of your business.

Finding a qualified technician to provide you an Energy Optimization Audit on your commercial refrigeration and HVAC system could be as easy as calling your energy supplier or contacting the company that provides your maintenance and service.

Section 608 Of The Clean Air Act

Refrigeration And Air Conditioning Service

The ozone layer protects the earth from the harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun.  So protecting it is vital, and proper refrigeration and air conditioning service is a vital part of this protection.  Many synthetic chemicals commonly used as refrigerants refrigeration and air conditioning servicedestroy the ozone layer if they are improperly released during refrigeration and air conditioning service.  These chemicals include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).  In fact, it is believe that release of these chemicals during poorly managed refrigeration and air conditioning service contributed to the “ozone hole” that now exists over the South Pole.

Additionally, many of these same ozone depleting substances (ODS) are believed to be greenhouse gases that are contributing to climate change.  So when they are irresponsibly released during shoddy refrigeration and air conditioning service there is a double hit to the environment.  These are the main reasons behind section 608 of The Clean Air Act which specifically prohibits the release of CFCs, HCFCs, their blends, and substitute refrigerants during refrigeration and air conditioning service.

Section 608 of The Clean Air Act has the following regulatory requirements:

  • Technician Certification-technicians performing refrigeration and air conditioning service must meet EPA certification criteria by passing an EPA approved exam.

  • Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Requirements-technicians must evacuate equipment to established vacuum levels during service and disposal of refrigerants.

  • Refrigerant Recovery and Recycling Equipment-equipment used during service must be certified by EPA approved testing.

  • Refrigerant Leaks-there are specific EPA standards that are enforced for leak repair during refrigeration and air conditioning service.

  • Refrigerant Sales Restrictions-sale of ODS refrigerants is restricted to certified technicians.

  • Major Record Keeping Requirements-all parties involved in refrigeration and air conditioning service must maintain records documenting dates, refrigerant charge amounts, and related service information.  This includes technicians, equipment owners, and operators of large refrigeration and air conditioning service and equipment sales companies.

  • Safe Disposal Requirements-when refrigeration and air conditioning equipment is taken out of service the final person in the disposal chain must ensure that all refrigerants have been removed from the equipment prior to disposal.

In support of Section 608 of The Clean Air Act the EPA is performing random inspections, responding to tips, and pursuing potential violations.  They are authorized to assess fines of up to $37,500 per day for any violation of these regulations.

It is vital that proper refrigeration and air conditioning service is performed on your equipment not only to protect the environment but also to avoid potentially costly fines.

A Costly Matter

Heating And Cooling Efficiently

heating and coolingAs much as half of the energy in homes and commercial environments goes to heating and cooling the structure.  When perishable items or food items requiring to be held at temperature are involved then the heating and cooling costs go up even more.  So making smart decisions on your heating and cooling equipment is vital to keep overhead down.  Take these steps to maintain your heating and cooling equipment in proper working order and prevent unnecessary costs.

Change Filters In Heating and Cooling Equipment Regularly

Check filters in heating and cooling equipment monthly.  It’s especially vital to check filters in your heating and cooling equipment during heavy use months when they can cost you the most money.  Dirty filters can slow down the air flow in the heating and cooling equipment and make it run less efficiently.  A clean filter will also prevent the build up of dust or other particulates in the heating and cooling equipment which can lead to costly repairs down the road.

Perform Regular Maintenance On Your Equipment

Just like keeping your car in tip top running condition, heating and cooling equipment requires regular maintenance.  Performing regular maintenance will keep your heating and cooling equipment running efficiently and help prevent unscheduled, emergency repairs when you need the equipment to be working the most.

Install Programmable Thermostats In Your Heating And Cooling Equipment

Rather than manually setting the thermostat as needed, a programmable thermostat will allow you to schedule the settings on your heating and cooling equipment.  This will prevent overheating and under heating when you are away from the equipment.  While a programmable thermostat may cost more on the front end, it will provide you long terms savings for operating your heating and cooling equipment.

Seal The Ducts On Your Heating And Cooling Equipment

Ducting that moves air between your heating and cooling equipment can be huge energy wasters if they have leaks.  By sealing and insulating your ducts, you can save as much as 20% on your energy costs.  First seal the ducts for your heating and cooling equipment and then insulate the ducting .

Ask A Professional To Provide You An Energy Audit

Replacing hold heating and cooling equipment may seem expensive on the front end, but if it is not running efficiently due to wear and tear the smart move might be to spend money on replacing it.  A heating and cooling professional will be able to tell you where you’re losing money and how to improve your system.  While fixing existing heating and cooling equipment might be possible you might be better off in the long run with new equipment.

Call Sacramento Refrigeration for a FREE audit of your heating and cooling systems.  As professionals in the heating and cooling business we can tell you where your losing money and provide the best options for saving you money.

AB-32 And Your Commercial Refrigeration System

Global Warming And Commercial Refrigeration

The Global Warming Solutions Act, or AB-32, was signed into law in September 2006 by Governor Schwarzenegger as the linch-pin of his strategy to provide the state with a comprehensive program of regulatory and market based mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the state of California.  A broad base of California’s businesses were affected by the law on January 1, 2010 because of the impact the law has on specific commercial refrigeration gases that have been categorized as greenhouse gases.

commercial refrigerationThe Stationary Equipment Refrigerant Management Program covers all non-residential, fixed commercial refrigeration equipment and requires the reduction of refrigerant emissions from commercial refrigeration with high global warming potential.  In other words, AB-32 limits the use of chlorofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and hydrofluorocarbons.  While these substances were already regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through the US Clean Air Act, the Refrigerant Management Program as it relates to commercial refrigeration expands their control within the state of California.

Commercial Refrigeration Compliance

Beginning January 1st, 2011 all organizations within the state of California that have commercial refrigeration systems that use more than 50 pounds of high global warming refrigerant substances must be in compliance with the restrictions imposed by AB-32 and the Refrigerant Management Program.  For most small businesses that have commercial refrigeration or cooling systems this won’t be an issue, but for larger organizations like supermarkets, grocery stores, food processors, warehouses and other cold storage facilities, and manufacturers that use industrial process commercial refrigeration they will most likely be affected.

All facilities (large and small) will be required on January 1st, 2011 to initiate a leak detection, monitoring, and record keeping program for their commercial refrigeration systems.  This means a continuous monitoring system must be in place that alerts the organization of a leak.  The leak detection system can be a direct system that detects the presence of leaky commercial refrigeration systems or an indirect system that interprets measurements like temperature or pressure within the commercial refrigeration system.  Both options require that the owner of the system contacts a certified technician when needed to fix the leak as soon as it is detected.  As of January 1, 2011 all technicians  involved in servicing facility equipment must be US EPA certified and must follow required service practices when determining root cause and fixing the leak in the commercial refrigeration.

Commercial Refrigeration Cost Savings Potential

Overall, the opportunity for controlling the emission of greenhouse gases from commercial refrigeration systems can present a cost saving opportunity to organizations that use them.  It has been estimated that facilities that reduce their leakage of commercial refrigerants from 30% per year down to 10% can save approximately $2,200 per 1000 pounds of refrigerant per year.  Additionally, the impact to the environment from this program will be a drastic reduction in the contribution of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere by California organizations that utilize commercial refrigeration systems.

To learn more about AB-32 and it’s impact on your commercial refrigeration system click here.

Contact Sacramento Refrigeration to learn more about AB-32 and your commercial refrigeration system or for any other service or installation requirements.

Reducing Your Commercial HVAC Costs With An Energy Audit

Commercial HVAC Cost Control

commercial hvacDuring your next scheduled industrial air conditioning service, you might want to consider requesting an energy audit as well. While you may spend money on commercial HVAC services on a regular basis to ensure your commercial HVAC system is operating properly and not burning energy inefficiently it is important to also know how well your building is holding the heat that your commercial HVAC system is producing.  If your building is not holding the hot or cold air your commercial HVAC system is producing, then you’re throwing away money through the leaks. If the service technician tells you your HVAC system seems to be doing well each time you have an industrial air conditioning service inspection but your energy bills seem too high, then energy leaks might be the main culprit.

Energy Leaks in a Commercial HVAC System

Even though energy leaks are usually discussed regarding loss of heat during the winter months, they can also negatively affect the indoor air temperature during the hot summer months. A building energy audit will determine whether or not you structure is properly insulated and can be one of the most important commercial HVAC services you invest in. A proper energy audit can detect exactly where in your building is lacking insulation and sealing. They can also show you how to save money on hot water and electric bills. Maintaining the temperature within a building which has not been properly weatherized is like trying to regulate the temperature in a room with an open window. To achieve a comfortable temperature, you have to spend a considerable amount more on commercial HVAC costs than if the window was closed.

Weatherizing a building is inexpensive when you take into consideration how much money you’ll be saving over time in heating and air conditioning. To determine what your building’s specific weatherization needs are, an energy auditor will use a blower to determine how much air can get out through a door and how tightly sealed the building is. Using a calibrated blower can tell you exactly how much air is getting out through the cracks.   After the building is weatherized the auditor will retest the building to ensure the efficiency issues have been resolved.  A reduction in your commercial HVAC bill will also tell you things have improved.

Ways To Detect Leaks In Your Commercial HVAC System

commercial HVACInfrared cameras and infrared thermographs can also be used to detect energy leaks.  These will show the temperature differences in various areas of a building. By pointing out where the hot and cold spots are, you can then determine where your energy from your commercial HVAC system is leaking. Again, the auditor should use these tools before and after the building is weatherized to ensure that the leakage problems have been fixed.

All buildings have energy losses. In homes, this is usually in attics and chimneys. Basements can also be sources of lost energy through joists and other structural joints. To reduce energy losses from your commercial HVAC system be sure to keep windows and doors closed when the system is running. The efficiency of the boiler and chiller can also help you cut energy losses and costs.  Using an auditor can help you determine how to reduce big energy losses as well as small energy losses.  So even minor fixes like gaskets behind outlets will have a positive impact on your energy costs and will help your commercial HVAC system run as efficiently as possible.

Contact Sacramento Refrigeration to schedule an energy audit of your commercial HVAC system.