Grocery - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Energy Efficiency, GHG Emissions  -  September 8, 2016

Midwest grocer adopts eco-friendlier refrigerant

A Wisconsin-based chain of grocery stores is incorporating new refrigeration equipment into the building of its newest store that will utilize a refrigerant blend promising increased energy efficiency.

For Festival Foods, a family and employee-owned business, the decision played into its goal of reducing its environmental impact while increasing its energy efficiency, according to an Aug. 17 news release from Honeywell International Inc., which makes the refrigerant. Dubbed "Solstice N40," Honeywell says the hydrofluoro-olefin blend refrigerant reduces the global warming impact associated with traditional refrigerants. 

Festival Foods plans to utilize the new equipment at its new Somers, Wisc., store to start out; if the technology is deemed successful, the company plans to design all new stores to use Solstice N40.

"We are excited to further our efforts in energy conservation with the addition of this new equipment,” Festival Foods President and CEO Mark Skogen said in the announcement. "By designing our refrigeration systems to work with Solstice N40, we expect to increase the energy efficiency of our Somers location by 3% or more when compared to other Festival Foods locations. That’s a big win for the environment, and it will lower our energy costs as well.”

The R-448A refrigerant is intended for use in low- and medium-temperature refrigeration equipment such as supermarket refrigerated and freezer display cases, according to the news release. The equipment being utilized by Festival Foods was designed by Zero Zone Inc.  

Honeywell says in supermarket trials conducted in the U.S. and Europe, Solstice N40 demonstrated 3% lower energy consumption in low-temperature applications and 5% to 16% lower energy consumption in medium-temperature applications compared to R404A. 

Use of traditional HFC refrigerants, increasingly, has been under scrutiny for its impact on global warming; the U.S. EPA has created new rules aimed at phasing out commonly-used high-GWP refrigerants for supermarket refrigeration. By July 20, 2016, R-404A and R-507 will be unacceptable in retrofit systems under the EPA rule, and by January 1, 2017, for new supermarkets.

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