In Commercial Refrigeration Equipment
Natural refrigerants are non-synthetic substances which can be used as cooling agents in commercial refrigeration equipment and air conditioners. These include naturally occurring substances like water, air, CO2, ammonia, and hydrocarbons like propane, butane, and cyclopentane. While they have been used for years as refrigerants they are only just now beginning to replace synthetic refrigerants in commercial refrigeration equipment.
Why Natural Refrigerants For Commercial Refrigeration Equipment?
While the Montreal Protocol addressed ozone depleting refrigerants like HCFCs and CFCs, it failed to address global warming potential of the proposed substitutes like HFCs. Increased scientific evidence has also shown that HFCs had huge potential to contribute to the greenhouse gas problem. So replacing HCFCs and CFCs with HFCs only displaced the problem. The only real solution to address both the ozone damaging and greenhouse gas problem created by refrigerants is to use natural refrigerants, including in commercial refrigeration equipment which is one of the largest consumers of refrigerant chemicals in the world.
The Economics Of Natural Refrigerants
Natural refrigerants are inexpensive to produce, in most cases even less expensive than HFCs; natural refrigerants are extremely energy efficient when used in large scale systems; and the disposal cost of natural refrigerants is negligible when compared to HFCs as well as older refrigerants like HCFCs. The major issue for commercial refrigeration equipment is the increase in capital expenditure required for small and medium businesses to convert to a natural refrigerant system. This is the major issue preventing wide spread adoption for natural refrigerants in commercial refrigeration equipment. Unlike retrofitting commercial refrigeration equipment with non-ozone depleting refrigerants, all natural refrigerant systems require a complete overhaul of the commercial refrigeration equipment.
In spite of the economics of this issue, there is a worldwide push to switch to natural refrigerants in commercial refrigeration equipment. As of 2005, more than half of all synthetic refrigerants ever produced were in the atmosphere (AFEAS Alternative Fluorocarbons Acceptability Study, 2007). To reduce the Global Warming Potential and provide zero ozone depleting potential as required by the Montreal and Kyoto Protocols, commercial refrigeration equipment will eventually have to be cooled by natural refrigerants. It is estimated that if commercial refrigeration equipment in the United States alone was converted to natural refrigerants, the industry would be able to reduce emission of CO2 and other greenhouse gases by 22 million metric tons annually.
When considering replacing your commercial refrigeration equipment, choosing to go with a natural refrigerant system will be environmentally friendly, meet current or future EPA requirements, and in the long term be a the right choice economically.
Commercial Refrigeration Service And GreenChill Compliance
GreenChill is a partnership between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and food retailers who use refrigerated equipment to reduce refrigerant emissions and thereby decrease the damage they can cause to the ozone layer. As part of this process, retailers are also encouraged to update their refrigerants during commercial refrigeration service to non-ozone depleting substitutes in their refrigerated equipment.
Commercial Refrigeration Service And Refrigerant Conversion
Conversion from older refrigerants in refrigerated equipment like HCFC-22 and other HCFCs is a major part of GreenChill Compliance. HCFC-22 is known to cause significant damage to the ozone layer when it is inadvertently released during commercial refrigeration service. To prevent this in the future the GreenChill Partnership as well as the Montreal Protocol, a treaty signed by the United States, has called for the phase out of HCFC-22 and other damaging HCFCs. This will force the transition to newer, non-ozone depleting refrigerants during commercial refrigeration service.
As of 2015, there will be no import or production of ozone damaging HCFCs except for refrigerated equipment manufactured before 2010. While retailers who own older equipment will still be able to get their refrigerant recharged during commercial refrigeration service, by 2020 two of the most widely used HCFCs (142b and 22) will no longer be imported or produced. By 2030 it is expected that all damaging refrigerants are eliminated in refrigerated equipment in the United States because there will be no import or production of any HCFCs by 2030. At that time, almost all commercial refrigeration service will be done on equipment using non-ozone depleting refrigerants.
Two Main Approaches For Retrofitting Refrigerated Equipment During Commercial Refrigeration Service
The first approach to retrofitting retail refrigerated equipment during commercial refrigeration service involves replacing the refrigerant only. This approach is more cost effective and results in minimal changes to the refrigerated equipment. The second approach involves installing new mechanical systems during commercial refrigeration service which is obviously more costly. In addition to migrating to a non-ozone depleting refrigerant, the commercial refrigeration service could include installing new compressors, condensers, and cases.
Regardless of which approach is undertaken any retrofit should include improving the leak tightness of the refrigerated equipment during the commercial refrigeration service. Emissions of the refrigerant whether old or new is still a large issue because even if they are non-ozone damaging refrigerants newer refrigerants like HFCs are still considered greenhouse gases. So to prevent exchanging one environmental problem for another refrigerated equipment owners need to use the retrofit conversion process during commercial refrigeration service as a way to reduce refrigerant leaks and prevent refrigerant emissions.
Proper commercial refrigeration service of your refrigerated equipment has never been more important. Not only are there reliability issues that need to be considered, but preventing damage to the environment during commercial refrigeration service needs to be addressed as well.
Commercial Refrigerator Service
Refrigeration equipment is a vital part of any food service establishment’s operations, so commercial refrigerator service should not be taken lightly. When looking for a technician to provide your commercial refrigerator service, you’ll want to find one that has certified training in the service of refrigeration equipment. The non-profit organization North American Technician Excellence, or NATE, specializes in certifying technicians in commercial refrigerator service and the field of refrigeration equipment.
Why A NATE Technician For Your Commercial Refrigerator Service?
NATE certification tests represent real working knowledge of HVAC and refrigeration equipment. They provide testing that allows technicians to be certified in specific knowledge areas like commercial refrigerator service. The NATE testing process recognizes different levels of expertise and includes a core exam and a specialty exam in a field like commercial refrigerator service. This exam process simplifies the field of refrigeration equipment into different knowledge areas. So technicians become experts at specific fields rather than becoming a jack-of-all trades in HVAC and refrigeration equipment.
Staying Up To Date In The Field Of Commercial Refrigerator Service
The HVAC and refrigeration equipment fields are constantly changing. So it’s important for commercial refrigerator service technicians to remain up to speed with the latest developments. Changes like new refrigerants for your refrigeration equipment, new codes and standards for commercial refrigerator service, and changes in engineering and technology require that your commercial refrigerator service technician remain up to date. To accomplish this, NATE requires re-certification testing to keep technicians on the cutting edge of the refrigeration equipment industry.
An up-to-date NATE certification provides a wealth of benefits to HVAC and refrigeration equipment technicians and the companies they serve. You wouldn’t go to a doctor that quit studying medicine after medical school. So why would you call on a commercial refrigerator service technician whose knowledge about refrigeration equipment is out of date? When you contact a NATE certified commercial refrigerator service technician, you can be comfortable in knowing that they have invested the time and energy into achieving and maintaining their certification in refrigeration equipment and commercial refrigerator service.
When looking for someone to provide you with quality commercial refrigerator service, take the time to look for a technician that has been NATE certified. NATE certified technicians are skilled professionals who have proven their knowledge of HVAC and refrigeration equipment by successfully completing NATE certification testing in specialized areas like commercial refrigerator service.