New federal rules aim to capture energy savings. Here’s what you need to know about them.
  by
Amy Bauer

     Florists in the market for walk-in coolers will find new features that may not be immediately apparent to the eye but that eventually may be apparent in their electric bills.

     New federal rules designed to increase the energy efficiency of walk-in coolers have been in effect since Jan. 1, part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which includes standards for everything from vehicle fuel economy and biofuels to home appliances. (See a summary at www.energy.senate.gov/public.)

conservation via coolers
     Allan Jett, sales support executive for SRC Refrigeration, Sterling Heights, Mich., says the biggest changes are 1) requirements for higher-grade insulation, 2) more efficient electrical motors and 3) better-insulated glass doors—triple pane versus double pane. Other requirements include 4) more energy-efficient lighting and 5) automatic door closers for most cooler doors. All of these measures aim to improve performance, thereby reducing electricity consumption.

     For example, an EC (electronically commutated) motor for the evaporator coil will run 40 percent to 60 percent less without affecting performance, explains Richard Rosenfeld, vice president of sales for Bush Refrigeration, Camden, N.J. The evaporator coil is the fan unit inside the cooler and absorbs heat and distributes humidity.

     The requirements apply to newly manufactured walk-in coolers in all industries, not just floral. They do not affect reach-in coolers or existing walk-in coolers.

     Karim Amran, vice president of Regulatory and Research for the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), says the law requires performance standards by 2012 that will set minimum energy efficiency requirements. These will be accompanied by some type of reporting mechanism that should help florists and other buyers better compare units, Mr. Amran explains. This could be similar to the hangtags in household appliances describing the average kilowatt-hours of energy used.

      ... For the rest of the story, look to the November 2009 issue of Florists' Review.

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