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In some sectors like food retail, food processing and manufacturing, distribution and storage, refrigeration can account for a significant proportion (50-90%) of overall site energy costs.  Against these high costs, even a small reduction in refrigeration energy use can offer significant cost savings resulting in increased profits.  It doesn’t need to be expensive.  Up to 20% can be cut in many refrigeration plants through actions that require little or no investment.  Here are six easy ways to reduce the energy used by your refrigeration system.

  1. Regular inspections - Get into the habit of inspecting your system - early warning signs allow you to take action before any problem gets worse. Look for ice build-up on evaporators, debris on condensers, broken fans, and snow and ice in cold stores.  Bubbles in sight glasses can indicate a refrigerant leak.  Marking pressure gauges for summer and winter can help you identify when compressors are working too hard.  Listen for unusual noises, which could suggest damaged fans, out of balance motors, worn bearings or short-cycling compressors.  If you’re familiar with your own refrigeration plant you’re more likely to recognise when it is working well and when it needs attention.
  2. Regular maintenance - Refrigeration systems need regular maintenance to ensure they continue to perform efficiently and reliably.  Ensure that your units are regularly serviced and check that condensers and evaporators are kept clean and fans and defrost systems are working correctly.  Set up a maintenance contract with an accredited F-Gas registered service provider to ensure that your plant is safe, efficient, leak free and reliable.  This will also reduce the cost of breakdowns and emergency service calls.
  3. Know your controls - Get to know your system controls - Most refrigeration systems are automatic, with controls that switch the compressors and fans on and off.  Basic controls work off a thermostat, while more advanced controls monitor factors such as the cooling load, the build-up of ice, ambient weather conditions and can even optimise your systems performance to reduce your energy usage even further.  If you can, only cool to the temperature that you need.  Every 1°C saved could reduce your energy consumption by 2%.
  4. Reduce the load & minimise wastage - Only refrigerate your product, space or process where you really need to. Many applications (such as factory production areas) only require refrigeration at certain times.  No matter how efficient your refrigeration system is, it will still use energy, so if you don’t need refrigeration, turn it off.  Where refrigeration is required, keep it at the highest possible temperature.  Turning up the thermostat will reduce the load on the refrigeration system and cut energy costs.  Reduce infiltration by improving door management, using night blinds or strip curtains and switching off lights in the cooled space out of hours.  Larger systems will benefit from using free cooling, raising process temperatures and improving control of other equipment such as pumps and fans.  Invest in sound pipe insulation. Insulation that is badly applied and maintained adds to your energy costs, through lost cooling capacity and reduced compressor efficiency.
  5. Better housekeeping - Don’t overstock cabinets. Keep air grilles clear. Close blinds and night covers. Close doors and maintain door seals.  Don’t overfill – Cool air needs room to circulate.  A unit will be most efficient if it is not overfilled.  Product should not block the grilles at the front of a retail display cabinet or obstruct the airflow to and from the coolers in cold rooms, as this will increase energy consumption and compromise food temperatures.  Keep doors closed - Make sure doors aren't left open for longer than absolutely necessary. Loading and unloading tasks should be carefully organised.  Make sure the product loaded hasn’t been warmed up by being left in an ambient temperature
  6. Improve layout and location of systems and units - Keep refrigeration units far away from any sources of heat (including direct sunlight) and draughts. Severe draughts can increase the energy consumption of open fronted display cabinets by up to 95%.  Cabinets located near doorways or ventilation grilles can draw cold air into the shopping area.  Leave adequate space around the unit's vents so it can draw in and expel air.

The Carbon Trust refrigeration technology guide introduces the main energy saving opportunities for businesses and demonstrates how simple actions can save energy, cut costs and increase profit margins.

If you’d like to find out more about how to reduce the Energy Costs of your Refrigeration System be sure register your interest at and subscribe to our updates.

Let’s take a look at some of the refrigeration and air conditioning courses available and how you can go about enlisting to ensure compliance with the F-Gas regulations or as part of a Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump (RACHP) apprenticeship.

Choosing the best training course in the RACHP industry should not be a difficult process.  There are many courses available, so we thought it would be a good idea to provide a brief guide in the selection process when deciding which course is best for you to ensure compliance with the F-Gas regulations or if you are considering a RACHP apprenticeship.

F-Gas Qualifications
Since July 2011 all personnel carrying out installation, maintenance or servicing of stationary refrigeration, air-conditioning or heat pump equipment that contains or is designed to contain F-Gas refrigerants must hold the relevant designated qualifications stated in regulation EC303/2008

There are four categories of F-Gas certification:

Category I - certificate holders may carry out all of the following activities for any size of stationary RACHP systems containing HFC refrigerants - leakage checking, refrigerant recovery, installation, maintenance and servicing

Category II - certificate holders may carry out refrigerant recovery, installation, maintenance and servicing, in relation to stationary RACHP systems containing less than 3 kg of fluorinated greenhouse gases (or less than 6 kg for systems that are hermetically sealed and labelled). Category II certificate holders may also carry out leak checks on any plant provided that it does not entail breaking into the refrigeration circuit containing fluorinated greenhouse gases.

Category III - certificate holders may carry out refrigerant recovery in relation to stationary RACHP systems containing less than 3 kg of fluorinated greenhouse gases (or less than 6 kg for systems that are hermetically sealed).

Category IV - certificate holders may carry out leak checks on any stationary RACHP plant provided that it does not entail breaking into the refrigeration circuit containing fluorinated greenhouse gases.

There are currently two approved providers for the Qualifications - City &Guilds and cskills (CITB)    

To comply with the F-Gas Regulation’s training and certification requirements the options are ONE of the certificates below:

City & Guilds

1 - F GAS and ODS Regulations (2079)

This qualification is a licence to practice for those working on fluorinated gases (F-gases) and ozone-depleting  substances (ODS) on stationary refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump system equipment in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

This qualification is for refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump system engineers working with fluorinated gas and ozone depleting substances.

2079-11 (category 1) Leak detection, recovery, installation, service & maintenance
2079-12 (category 2) Installation, service & maintenance of equipment with a charge of less than 3kg (6kg if hermetically sealed) and leakage checking2079-13 (category 3) Recovery of refrigerant2079-14 (category 4) Leakage checking

Level 2 Award in F-Gas and ODS Regulations (2079) - Qualification handbook

2 - Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (6187)
These qualifications cover all the essential skills you need for installing and maintaining refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump systems – see link further down page

(Category 1)

3 – Certificate of unit credit: Level 2 Handling Fluorinated gasses and Ozone-depleting Substances
6187-01 (unit 230/530) Installing, Testing and Maintaining Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Systems
6187-02 (unit 230/530) Installing and Maintaining Refrigeration Systems

(Certificate of unit credit: “Level 2 Handling Fluorinated gases and Ozone-depleting Substances – category 1 personnel (D/502/0629)” applicable on completion of units 230 and 530 of the 6187-01 or 6187-02 NVQ diplomas from The City and Guilds of London Institute)

4 - Refrigeration and Air-conditioning (7189)
A qualification in refrigeration and air-conditioning and heat pump systems which will help you gain employment and progress onto an NVQ.

These qualifications are intended for those wanting to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to enter the refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump industry.  They are also suitable for those already employed within the industry – see link further down page

(Category 1)

5 – Certificate of unit credit: Level 2 Handling Fluorinated gasses and Ozone-depleting Substances
7189-02 (unit 209/509) Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Systems
7189-03 (unit 209/509) Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Systems

(Certificate of unit credit: “Level 2 Handling Fluorinated gases and Ozone-depleting Substances – category 1 personnel (D/502/0629)” applicable on completion of units 209 and 509 of the 7189-02 or 7189 -03 NVQ diplomas from The City and Guilds of London Institute)

cskills (CITB)

Safe handling of refrigerants

J11 (category 1) Safe handling of refrigerantsJ12 (category 2) Safe handling of refrigerants - restricted to equipment with a charge of less than 3kg (6kg if hermetically sealed)

Recovery of refrigerants
 J13 (category 3) Recovery of refrigerants - restricted to equipment with a charge of less than 3kg (6kg if hermetically sealed)

Leak checking without system break in
J14 (category 4) Leak checking without system break in
Further information regarding course content can be downloaded here:  cskills F-Gas Regulations Options

Considering a RACHP apprenticeship?
There are two levels of Modern Apprenticeships:

  • Intermediate/Foundation
  • Higher/Advanced.

To achieve an Intermediate/Foundation Apprenticeship, qualifications at National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Level 2 are required, and for a Higher/Advanced Apprenticeship, qualifications at NVQ Level 3 are required. There are also additional requirements such as – functional skills or GCSE equivalents – see the RAC Apprenticeship Handbook from SummitSkills  : SummitSkills Apprenticeship Framework – Refrigeration and Air Conditioning

(In Scotland an SVQ is the equivalent of an NVQ)

The current NVQs available are:

City & Guilds

Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (6187)
6187-01 Level 2 NVQ Diploma in installing, testing and maintaining air conditioning and heat pump systems
6187-02 Level 2 NVQ Diploma in installing and maintaining refrigeration systems
6187-03 Level 3 NVQ Certificate in Installing and Commissioning Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Systems
6187-04 Level 3 NVQ Certificate in Servicing and Maintaining Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Systems
6187-05 Level 3 NVQ Certificate in Installing and Commissioning Refrigeration Systems
6187-06 Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Servicing and Maintaining Refrigeration Systems
6187 Level 2 Diploma - Qualification handbook v2
6187 Level 3 Certificate Diploma - Qualification handbook v2

Refrigeration and Air-conditioning (7189) is a qualification in refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump systems and can be suitable for those who are not yet following an NVQ.
7189-02 Level 2 Diploma in Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Systems
7189-03 Level 3 Diploma in Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Systems
7189-02 Level 2 Diploma - Qualification handbook v1-1
7189-03 Level 3 Diploma - Qualification handbook v1-1

Two useful qualification/careers maps are available here:

Summit Skills – Building Services Engineering (BSE) Career Map
ACRIB – Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Qualifications Route Map

EAL also provide theory qualifications in refrigeration and air-conditioning (not linked to the NVQs)
EAL Level 2 Certificate in Refrigeration/Air-conditioning Equipment Engineering Technology

To find out where you can study for any of the above courses, contact your local college or you can visit the City & Guilds  or cskills websites to find your nearest accredited training provider.

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The Voice of European Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Contractors (RACHP)

AREA was established in 1989 and since then they provide support and impartial advice as the ‘voice’ of 20 national trade associations from 17 European countries. AREA represents over 9,000 SMEs, employing some 125,000 people.

The President of AREA, Graeme Fox, recently took part in the XV European Conference on the latest technologies in air conditioning & refrigeration in Milan. During the conference Mr.Fox presented AREA's views on the latest developments of the F-Gas Regulation revision. with a special focus on three priority issues for the contractors: training and certification, the service ban and the pre-charging ban.

Air conditioning and refrigeration European Association

During his presentation, Mr Fox states concerns from contractors:

“Demonstration of knowledge is not necessarily training.  Training is costly for those contractors who have already registered and now must pass those costs onto their customers.  For those who didn’t register, they can now easily undercut.”

Contractors are calling for ‘mandatory competence assessments’ not ‘mandatory training’; and that competence can then be assessed by examination and testing, with modular tests for alternative gases with the renewal of certificates every five years. Knowledge is the important thing and that can be proved by testing and training should only be for those who cannot demonstrate the required level of technical knowledge.

He went on to say:

“Unprofessionally installed systems are not properly leak tested which leads to high rates of leakage – often total loss of refrigerant. Restricting the supply of gas bottles does not affect the unregulated sector because they tend to install small splits with all of the necessary refrigerant already charged at the factory”.

You can view the seminar Video recording here  and read through the full presentation here.

AREA represents contractors who are the essential link between end-users and manufacturers. They design, install and maintain RACHP equipment using every available solution with complete neutrality towards equipment and refrigerants, in the sole aim of ensuring the highest level of reliability, energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Contractors are responsible for the design, installation, maintenance and repair of RACHP equipment. These companies are the indispensable, competent intermediaries between component manufacturers:

  • compressors, heat exchangers, chillers, package units, counters, … (mechanical industry)
  • measurement, control and safety devices (electronic industry)
  • refrigerants, lubricants and insulation (chemical industry)

And end-users:

  • cold stores and freezers (food industry)
  • refrigerated transportation (food distribution)
  • food product wholesalers and retailers (food sales)
  • private persons (domestic and household applications)
  • industrial refrigeration, materials processing, manufacturing process
  • water and machine cooling
  • stationary air conditioning
  • mobile air conditioning
  • special applications (laboratories, medical, military).

AREA’s mission statement is to:

"support and initiate activities to promote the industry and its high standards of quality, in order to serve users' interest in a safe and uninterrupted usage of efficient refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump equipment, and to create and maintain a favourable business climate for European refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump contractors, in terms of quality, safety, employment, fair competition and profitability".

Their core objectives are towards the harmonisation of education & training / certification, the promotion of technical evolutions, environmental protection / tackling climate change / energy efficiency and making recommendations on and promotion of professional techniques & high-level standards.

AREA provide neutral expert advice around the following key issues:

Regulatory aspects
- F-Gas Regulation implementation and review
- Monitoring of ODS
- Energy efficiency
- Climate change
- Eco-design of energy-related products

Professional standards
- Heat pump installation
- F-gas leakage testing

Professional guidance
- Low GWP refrigerants

 Who’s who at AREA?

Who is AREA

If you would like to contact any of the AREA representatives, including Graeme Fox, please contact their office:

Air conditioning and Refrigeration European Association - AREA aisbl
Post address: Diamant Building (5th floor) • Bd A. Reyers 80 • 1030 Brussels (Belgium)
Tel. : +32 2 706 82 37

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Retrofits of refrigeration display cases with glass doors will lead to substantial energy savings, as it is anticipated that when carried out properly there will be a reduction in the overall case heat load by between 50-80% - when compared with open case performance.

Other system improvements such as upgrading to EC fan motors, installing LED energy-efficiency lighting, and raising case evaporating temperatures, can also reduce the heat load from the refrigerated display cases. it is important that the refrigeration system configuration is re-evaluated to match system operation to the load profile.

Improper reconfiguration of refrigeration systems is the predominant cause of case retrofit projects not delivering the expected results. Here, we take a look at some guidelines on how to properly reconfigure and re-commission refrigeration systems after retrofitting open cases with doors.

Let’s take a look…

  1. 1.       Load-Profile Evaluation

The first step in properly reconfiguring the refrigeration system should consist of a thorough analysis of the load profile for the cases. Ideally, such system analysis would have been performed as part of the initial engineering assessment in the preplanning phase of the retrofit.

Perform a detailed analysis that accounts for periods of maximum customer traffic and adverse ambient conditions. Maximum heat load estimates will be necessary to ensure that the reconfigured refrigeration system is still capable of delivering the needed cooling capacity under the most extreme conditions that it will encounter so as to ensure product freshness and food safety.

  1. 2.       Refrigerant Reclamation

When working with refrigeration systems, it is imperative that refrigerant leaks are prevented. Before any work requiring opening of the refrigeration system, refrigerant should be evacuated from the affected portions of the system. Refrigerant evacuated from the system should be reclaimed and/or recycled as per the appropriate refrigerant handling guidelines and f-gas regulations.

  1. 3.       Compressor Rack and Control Configuration

Proper modification of the compressor packs and adjustment of refrigeration system controls constitutes one of the most significant and important aspects of the retrofit process. Installation of doors on open cases, which are traditionally the largest contributors to the refrigeration system heat load, will result in markedly different operating conditions for the compressor packs. Failure to properly re-commission the packs to best match the case loads will result in a mismatch between the load steps of the pack and the actual loads from the cases, resulting in excessive compressor cycling. This mode of operation is much less efficient than the higher-duty cycle operation typically observed when the refrigeration system is matched to the load. Moreover, the added stress of starting and stopping (short-cycling) can lead to excessive wear and tear on compressors, resulting in shortened operational life and additional repair costs.

In addition to performing any necessary modifications to the compressor packs and controls to accommodate the new refrigeration load, the refrigeration contractor should take this opportunity to thoroughly inspect the pack and related equipment for any existing damage or wear and perform the necessary maintenance or repairs to ensure optimum performance. Standard maintenance checks of the compressors, in accordance with the recommendations of the compressor manufacturer, should be performed.

The contractor coordinating the retrofit operation should examine the following areas related to the compressor packs and refrigeration system controls.

  1. 4.       Compressor Pack Configuration

In many cases, the decreased load on the compressor pack due to the addition of display doors to open cases will necessitate physical changes to the packs in order to accommodate the modified refrigeration characteristics. Results of calculations of the case heat load under various sets of operating conditions, performed prior to case retrofit operations, should be the key driver for changes to the pack configurations.

In many cases, the reduction in peak heat load seen by the pack will be significant enough to warrant the disabling of one or more compressors on the pack. In this instance, care should be taken to ensure that the pack remains configured in a manner so as to provide appropriate capacity regulation in order to mitigate excessive compressor cycling and product temperature fluctuations. For example, on a pack with differently sized parallel compressors, it may be desirable to disable stages of the larger compressors first, while leaving the smaller ones in place to allow for more load control. Load steps should be compared against anticipated heat load increments, and further compressor changes may be required if the disparity is significant.

In addition to potential reconfiguration of the compressors themselves, additional modifications may need to be made to the following pack components to ensure optimal performance:

• Oil return: Attention should be paid to the suction risers in ensuring proper oil return. If the risers are not properly sized, the rate of lubricant return may be insufficient and damage to the compressors could occur. In many cases, the existing risers will be sufficient. However, the design engineer overseeing the project should verify that this is the case in order to maintain proper performance. If warranted, changes to the risers should be made based on the type of system, depending on whether it has a double riser configuration, or uses an oil separation system. After the retrofit, the contractor should observe oil levels in the separator, reservoir, and/or crankcase to ensure that proper oil return is occurring.

• Refrigerant charge: Charge level should be checked at the receiver and adjusted to ensure agreement between the level of charge and the system’s needs after the retrofit.

• Receivers: Standard maintenance checks should be performed.

  1. 5.       Controls and Calibration

After the necessary physical alterations to the compressor packs are made, existing control systems should be recalibrated to ensure proper performance. Controls that should be examined by the commissioning engineer include:

• Variable-frequency drive (VFD) systems;

• Cylinder unloading;

• Building energy management systems (EMS);

• Defrost control systems; and

• Other control systems and schemes.

  1. 6.       Saturated Gas Defrost

If the pack is equipped with the capacity to accommodate saturated gas defrosting of coils, the solenoid valve on the main liquid line or the discharge differential valves should be evaluated for compatibility with the new system operating parameters and adjusted or replaced if necessary.

  1. 7.       Heat Reclaim

If the pack contains the capacity to perform heat reclaim, calculations should be performed to evaluate the new heat output of the pack when operating in conjunction with the newly retrofitted cases. With reduced heat output, the existing heat reclaim coil could potentially prove to be oversized. If changes to the compressors have been made, this is likely.

  1. 8.       Refrigerant Piping and Expansion Valves

The significant decrease in refrigeration load due to the addition of doors on cases has the potential to affect many components of the refrigeration system, including the refrigerant line runs and the case expansion valves. Generally, the existing liquid and suction lines will remain appropriate in size to serve the retrofitted cases. However, attention should be paid to the suction riser in order to ensure adequate refrigerant velocity, and thus proper oil return. The design engineer coordinating the case retrofit should conduct sufficiently detailed system evaluation and flow calculations to ensure that the line sizes utilized will be capable of properly returning a sufficient capacity of refrigerant and lubricant while maintaining the desired properties.

Expansion valves attached to each individual coil in the display cases serve the critical function of controlling coil superheat, and will require changes to accommodate the markedly different refrigerant flow properties precipitated by the change in the case configuration during the retrofit. For expansion valves with removable orifices, a compatible orifice properly sized for the new refrigerant flow level may be available. In other instances, expansion valves will need to be replaced altogether. During system analysis and modelling, the design engineer should analyse the anticipated heat loads and refrigerant flow conditions, and choose properly sized valves for each display case accordingly. It is anticipated that expansion valves will likely need to be reduced one or two sizes to ensure correct superheat control at reduced refrigerant flow rates and increased evaporator temperatures.

If electronic expansion valves are in place, generally the valves will not need to be altered. However, the valve manufacturer’s literature should be reviewed in order to ensure the valves’ compatibility with the new system configuration.

Additionally, each case line-up contains a solenoid valve or evaporator pressure regulator (EPR if fitted) used to control case temperature. Solenoid valves used in either the liquid or suction lines can generally be retained, provided that the sizing of the lines is evaluated as described above to ensure a proper operating pressure across the valve. However, due to the fact that the reduction in load created by the retrofit allows for higher case suction temperatures, an EPR is preferred for optimal performance. Existing EPRs should be checked for proper performance at the new case loads. If possible, the common suction temperature downstream of the EPR should be raised in order to further reduce the power input requirement at the compressor rack.

  1. 9.       Condensers

Supermarket refrigeration systems generally use separate air-cooled condensers, most often located on the rooftop of the building, to reject heat to the ambient environment. In many cases, excess condenser capacity will already be accounted for by existing control and operation schemes. However, in some instances, removal of excess condenser capacity may be warranted. Additionally, operators in climates experiencing extreme winter cold or high summer temperatures should consider climatic factors when making modifications to their condensers.

  1. 10.   Discharge Risers

The discharge riser (the piping from the compressor rack outlet to the condenser) should be evaluated for proper sizing based upon the new system operating parameters. In many cases, the existing sizing will be adequate. However, if the retrofits were significant enough to create a sufficient impact on the given system, the line may need to be resized in order to ensure sufficient lubricant return to the compressor pack.

  1. 11.   Head Pressure Control

Condensers equipped with a head pressure control device, which regulates the head pressure to prevent it from falling below optimal condensing pressure during low ambient temperature conditions should be checked and resized if necessary.

  1. 12.   Subcooling

If the condenser features subcooling and the drop in case heat load is sufficient, the subcooler and the associated expansion valves may need to be resized.

  1. 13.   Condensing Units

In systems featuring condensing units, with a single display case being served by a dedicated remote condensing unit, the issue of load reduction is likely to have a more pronounced impact than in multiplex pack systems. This is due to the fact that the single condensing unit operates on demand based solely on the conditions in the case served, and is originally sized to the anticipated load of the case. Whereas a pack system often can be modified in a fairly straightforward manner to accommodate lower case loads (such as through disconnecting a compressor or adjusting existing controls), this may not be possible using the existing equipment in a dedicated remote-condensing unit. If the unit is left to run as is with a case load that is 50 percent or more below that for which it was originally designed, the condensing unit will be grossly oversized, and the result will be frequent compressor cycling. This will result in highly inefficient operation due to the high number of compressor and condenser fan starts and stops, as well as possible shortening of refrigerated product lifetime due to rapid warming and cooling cycles.

In light of the resulting discrepancy between case heat load and condensing unit capacity after a retrofit, one of two measures could be employed in order to bring the two values closer together. The first of these would be the employment of a suction line crankcase regulator or similar control device to hold the refrigerant flow so that the condensing unit experiences a reduced impact due to the decrease in load. However, since this step enables the condensing unit to operate in a manner similar to which it did with an open case, this means that the full energy savings will not be realized. Another measure, if feasible based on the physical size and location of the cases, is the consolidation of multiple cases onto single condensing units. In this instance, a condensing unit that was originally sized to operate a single display case could be reconfigured to serve two cases through rerouting of refrigerant piping and other adjustments. Proper calculations should be carried out in order to ensure that the existing condensing unit is capable of accommodating the peak loads of multiple cases.

  1. 14.   Electrical System

Retrofit operations, by design, have the intended result of significantly changing the electrical demand profiles of the display cases and refrigeration systems. Case electrical consumption may be reduced due to changes in lighting and fan power, while a compressor pack reconfigured for retrofitted cases may use, even in peak operation, far less electricity than it previously needed. While this is desirable from an energy-efficiency and cost-reduction standpoint, care must be taken to ensure that the building electrical system is still correctly sized for the refrigeration equipment per the relevant building regulations and safety codes. For example, existing circuit breakers may be grossly oversized and may not trip even in the case of an overload situation, which could present a serious safety hazard. A qualified engineer should be consulted to ensure that all building codes and electrical safety requirements are met, and that the building electricity supply and connections are properly sized for the new operating profile of the system. Display cases and refrigeration systems are generally labelled in a manner that reflects the necessary certification of the equipment. Changes to the physical composition of the cases by way of component swaps and additions, as well as changes to the case electrical system, would likely require recertification with these bodies. Similarly, any changes to the components of the pack may require recertification.

  1. 15.   System Recharging

Any work to the sealed portion of the refrigeration system will have required evacuation of the refrigerant in the system previous to the modifications being performed. Prior to restarting the system, the commissioning engineer should ensure that the areas of the system that have been evacuated are properly recharged to the necessary levels using the appropriate refrigerant. Particular attention should be paid to any system modifications that could result in a change in the required refrigerant charge. For example, due to the load reductions on the system, each case’s evaporator coil may require an increased charge, resulting in a need to add more refrigerant to the entirety of the system before it is returned to service.

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Systems manufacturers are on alert after talks of possible stronger enforcement of energy standards and refrigerant phase-outs.

Due to an increased emphasis on climate change and the reduction of greenhouse gases, a shift in focus on low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants is coming into force in the European Union. This is set to shape regulations and promote an evolution in OEM refrigeration equipment designs to meet standards.

Manufacturers are having to engineer systems with alternate refrigerants in mind as well as producing energy efficient designs, this in order to reduce GWP and meet increased consumer demand for energy efficient refrigeration solutions. After the Kyoto Protocol was introduced in 2006 the EU is facing even stricter environmental initiatives that seek lowering greenhouse gases.

HFCs are the most common group of man-made F-gases and are used in a variety of products, appliances and applications in the refrigeration sector. Whilst they are recyclable and energy efficient they also have a high GWP and therefore have been subject to regulations; the EU introducing theirs in 2007 to help them enforce F-gas handling procedures. However, this hasn’t stopped them rising by 60% since 1970.

More recently, the EU has focused on more drastic measure to lower greenhouse gas emissions, due to their upcoming target deadlines. Suggestions of near-term reductions will ultimately lead to eliminating high GWP offenders which in turn has led to an ‘alternative refrigeration’ discussion.

The compressor can be responsible for up to 60% of a system’s total energy consumption and therefore compressor technology is at the forefront of all innovations in energy efficient designs. To combat this problem, new models should contain technology which support the need for chlorine-free systems using either scroll or electronic-commutated compressors.

It is clear that energy efficiency standards will continue to be enforced and thus the EU, as well as manufacturers must be prepared to act quickly to new regulations that are introduced.


Read the original article here.

This blog article is brought to you by Fridgehub – a major new industry website for manufacturers, distributers, service providers, operators and consumers of refrigeration, air conditioning and heat-pump (RACHP) products and services.

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UK:  The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has published details of the latest data from their atmospheric observations programme, which helps to verify estimates of UK greenhouse gas emissions.

Observing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere - DECC maintains a research programme to monitor concentrations of atmospheric gases, in order to assess the state of the atmosphere, to inform the design of policies to reduce emissions of pollutants, and to help verify the UK Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory.

The UK Greenhouse Gas Inventory;

The GHG Inventory reports national GHG emissions each year, which the UK is committed to do: As a party of the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and to the Kyoto Protocol; Under the EU Monitoring Mechanism Regulation; and In the UK Climate Change Act the UK has committed to reduce its GHG emissions and the inventory provides vital data to report the progress in meeting these targets.

The Inventory is based on data from a range of sources, including data produced by the UK Government, other Government bodies and industry. It reports emissions of the six direct GHG’s under the Kyoto Protocol: carbon dioxide (CO2); methane (CH4); nitrous oxide (N2O); hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs); perfluorocarbons (PFCs); sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). The Inventory reports emissions from: Energy (all fossil fuel combustion); Industrial Processes (all non-combustion based emissions from industry); Solvents; Agriculture; Land Use, Land Use Change, and Forestry; and Waste Management.

DECC is collaborating with a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) GHG Emissions and Feedbacks Programme initiative  - GAUGE that aims to improve the quantification of UK emissions of the principle greenhouse gases through extended measurements and modelling, and will explore a range of techniques. The outcomes of this work could provide useful insights to DECC’s atmospheric observations programme and inventory verification.

This blog article is brought to you by Fridgehub – a major new industry website for manufacturers, distributers, service providers, operators and consumers of refrigeration, air conditioning and heat-pump (RACHP) products and services.

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BSRIA (owned by The Building Services Research and Information Association) has published a new guide to commissioning air systems.

The new Commissioning Air Systems guide explains how to commission ducted air distribution systems in buildings.  The commissioning process mainly comprises the setting to work of the system fans and the regulation (or proportional balancing) of system flow rates.

This new guide (BG49/2013) now replaces Commissioning Air Systems (AG 3/89.3) and Commissioning of VAV systems in buildings (AG 1/91). It explains how to commission ducted air distribution systems in buildings. The commissioning process mainly comprises the setting to work of the system fans and the regulation (or proportional balancing) of system flow rates.

A new edition of Commissioning Air Systems has been published for several reasons. Amendments to Part F and Part L of the Building Regulations require newly installed ventilation systems to comply with new standards and that reasonable provision for commissioning be made in order that systems don’t use too much fuel or power. Environmental assessment methods such as BREEAM, LEED and DREAM have focused the minds of building owners, operators, developers and designers on the benefits of a proficient, professional commissioning process. Technological advances in plant and equipment have also resulted in increasing importance being placed on commissioning.

This guide explains how to carry out procedures in order to comply with the standards outlined in CIBSE Commissioning Code A Air Distribution Systems (which sets out the normal standards of good practice accepted by the building services industry).

Chapters cover:

  • Design for commissionability
  • Commissioning facilities
  • The installation of commissionable systems
  • Site test instruments
  • On-site flow measurement techniques
  • Commissioning procedures
  • Example methods statements
  • Documentation (including editable proforma checklists in Excel)

Hard copies of the guide are now available for purchase at

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Retail giant Sainsbury’s has reached a significant milestone in its investment in renewable energy as it strives to cut CO2 emissions and reduce energy bills.  The retailer has installed 100,000 photovoltaic solar panels (22 mWp) across 210 stores - enough to cover 35 football pitches.

These will help reduce Sainsbury’s total CO2 emissions by an estimated 9,785 tonnes per year as it retains its status as the largest multi-roof solar panel operator in Europe.

Energy and Climate Change Minister, Greg Barker officially launched the retailer’s 12th Ground Source Heat Pump – another innovative technology that taps renewable energy from deep underground to provide energy efficient heating, hot water and cooling for the store.

Greg Barker said:

"Not only is Sainsbury’s increasing the amount of stores heated by renewable sources, it’s using solar panels on its roofs to generate energy too, with over 100,000 panels now up and running on over 200 stores.”

The roll out of Ground Source Heat Pumps at 12 stores follows Sainsbury’s successful world-first use of the geo-thermal technology at its Crayford store, enabling it to supply 30 per cent of its energy from on-site renewable sources.  It has also installed 74 biomass boilers since 2008, which use wood pellets - a renewable resource - to heat stores rather than using fossil fuel-based gas.

Paul Crewe, Sainsbury’s Head of Engineering, Sustainability, Energy and Environment said:

"We’ve achieved a 9.1% absolute reduction in electricity use over the past four years in our supermarkets, despite a 25% increase in space, and we’re really seeing the benefits from using our underutilised space for solar panels, and from the other renewable technologies we’ve installed.

"We believe they are fundamental to the sustainability of our business and there is a strong commercial case for using each technology.  They are helping us cut carbon emissions and energy bills and achieve the environmental targets we set ourselves in our stretching 20x20 Plan.  It’s good news for the environment and is supporting job creation in the UK’s renewable energy sector."

Sainsbury’s investment in onsite renewable energy technologies is part of its ambitious sustainability target to reduce its operational carbon emissions by 30% absolute (and 65% relative) by 2020 compared with 2005. This is part of a broader target of an absolute carbon reduction of 50% by 2030.

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The European Heat Pump Association (EHPA) has published a best practice guide to the heat pump industry.

The European Heat Pump Best Practice Guide was jointly conducted by EHPA and Delta Energy & Environment presents the heat pump ecosystem:  The guide includes European best practice examples showing pathways to successful and sustainable heat pump markets.  The Guide is aimed at all stakeholders inside and outside the heat pump industry, helping them to implement five guiding principles which will establish solid foundations for long term sustainable growth and maximise the market opportunities for heat pumps.  The Guide’s explanation on how this can be achieved is illustrated by experiences and case studies from various European markets.

Lukas Bergmann from Delta-EE comments:

“This Guide will help a range of stakeholders - from governments and policy makers to energy companies and technology manufacturers - to realise the significant potential for heat pumps. It provides readers with a simple set of principles that allow them to work towards making the story of heat pumps in their country a story of success. This Guide will be a useful tool for anyone connected to this industry”.

Click here to read the Best Practice Guide

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New alternatives to the existing F-Gas refrigerant handling qualifications are now available to refrigeration contractors according to leading F-Gas certification body REFCOM.

Refcom Secretary, Steve Crocker, explained:

“We had a situation towards the back end of last year and the beginning of this year where training providers were training apprentices, only to find that they couldn’t guarantee that the modules they were teaching were a recognised equivalent to the existing F-Gas qualifications.

“Qualification requirements are written down in law under the F-Gas Regulation so, if there are changes, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has to alert the European Commission (EC) to this.

“It is important for companies to understand that there are choices in terms of F-Gas qualifications. City & Guilds (C&G) has introduced two new qualifications and Defra has reassured me that they are valid for Company F-Gas certification.”

Defra told Mr Crocker: “Learners will be issued with a certificate of unit credit demonstrating that they are F-Gas Category 1 competent once they have successfully completed either units 230/530 together or units 209/509 together, consisting of a multiple choice test and practical test. They will not have to wait until completing all of the other units from the 6187 or 7189 NVQ diplomas.” The new qualifications join two existing qualifications – C&G 2079 Category 1 refrigerant handling and the Construction Skills J11 safe handling – that have been in place for the past four years. Mr Crocker added: “Instead of apprentices attending a three to five-day course for the existing F Gas qualifications, if employers want to send them to college to do an NVQ, they can complete specific modules (C&G units 230/530 of the 6187-01 or 6187-02 NVQ diplomas and units 209/509 of the 7189-02 or 7189-03 NVQ diplomas) that are a direct equivalent to the existing F Gas qualifications.

“When they go to college, they do these modules first so they become qualified under F Gas and the ODS (Ozone Depleting Substances) Regulations. This means they can legally work on systems more or less straightaway and are therefore more ‘useful’ to their employer. Once they have completed the modules, they finish the rest of the course over two or three years.”

REFCOM maintains a register of companies competent to manage refrigerants, including fluorinated refrigerant gases. It operates a certification body under the stationary equipment provisions of the Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Regulations.

On 4 July 2009, it became a legal requirement for all businesses that install, maintain or service stationary refrigeration, air conditioning and/or heat pump equipment containing or designed to contain F-Gas refrigerants to obtain an F-Gas Company Certificate.  Companies wishing to upgrade or to attain a full company certificate can visit for more information.

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