New regulations are underway regarding commercial refrigeration standards for the supermarket industry. The Department of Energy’s (DOE) new regulations, known as Commercial Refrigeration Equipment Final Rule, took effect January 1, 2012. Aimed at reducing future energy consumption of commercial refrigerated food and frozen merchandisers, the rule sets forth a new standard of energy efficiency equipment specifications for products manufactured or imported into the U.S. from this year forward.
What does this mean for our grocery retailers?
The answer is: mostly great news! To begin with, under the new rule, retailers will be guaranteed to receive better energy performance from their equipment. Retailers should see payback very quickly due to energy reduction costs resulting from the use of equipment that meets these new specifications. However, retailers may see the elimination of some options on display cases due to their higher levels of energy consumption. Some examples of this are electric defrosting on medium temperature cases, door heat in frames on medium temperature cases and high heat options on doorframes.
Under the new rule, all future energy consumption levels of cases will be developed using ASHRAE testing standard 1200. This standard, based upon research that has found it is a better use of energy to control store conditions, assumes a store is operating at a 75°F temperature with a relative humidity of 55% or lower, since lower store temperature and humidity levels improve display case performance. It also assumes that the increase in HVAC energy costs is more than offset by lower display case energy consumption.
While the new DOE standard applies to all 50 states, a pending California Energy Commission (CEC) standard may offer a more strict set of regulations. For example, one idea is the proposed elimination of open-front, low-temperature freezers. While the federal standard would likely allow them as long as the energy consumption is below the TAEC (Total Allowed Energy Consumption), they may not be allowed under the stricter mandate. Additionally, the CEC standard also moves the liability from case manufacturer to retailer. This means that is the retailer would be liable for using an open case that does not meet the new requirements after the law goes into effect.
Heatcraft is proud to have been working far in advance of 2012 to ensure our products are providing the best energy-efficiency for our customers. More than two years ago, we launched our highly popular Kysor/Warren STRATUS Merchandise Display Case line, which focused on a more energy-efficient design of equipment, including making EC motors standard.
To learn additional details regarding certification, compliance, and enforcement regulations for consumer products and commercial and industrial equipment, visit the DOE’s Certification and Enforcement Web page.