Today is a huge milestone in the progression of natural refrigerants in the United States. For the first time ever we now have an open-source, comprehensive installation specification for transcritical CO2 systems, complete with user guide.
With an enormous amount of support from the refrigeration team at DC Engineering—an engineering and design firm based in Boise, Idaho—NASRC worked with its OEM members to source existing specifications, compile them, work through the overlaps and discrepancies and come up with a non-branded installation specification available for any end-user, contractor or other party that wants to use it.
“This really is a huge step forward for the use of CO2 as a refrigerant,” says Tristam Coffin, director of sustainability and facilities for the Whole Foods Market Northern California region and an NASRC board member. “It’s not meant to replace the rack specification that comes from the OEM, but rather is meant to be a tool to help end-users and contractors alike make smart decisions and have the kinds of conversations that lead to efficient and cost-effective installations. It also is a great resource for anyone who wants to learn about the installation of a transcritical system, especially the aspects that really warrant focused discussions between equipment owner, installing contractor, and OEM.”
The North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to advancing natural refrigerants as a way of substantially reducing the environmental impact of refrigeration systems. We take action to further the uptake of natural refrigerants like CO2, ammonia and hydrocarbons through our progress groups, each focused on certain challenges that slow the transition to natural refrigerants. NASRC’s best practices “group,” led by Mr. Coffin, identified the need for a non-branded but complete CO2 spec as one of its first goals.
As the group was figuring out how to source existing specs, and who could really lead a process to create a neutral but comprehensive specification, NASRC member DC Engineering stepped up to the plate.
“We’ve designed enough stores with these [transcritical CO2] systems to know that there’s a real need for more guidance within the industry,” says Glenn Barrett of DC Engineering. “We were happy to help NASRC bring this project to fruition. Drafting specifications is part of what we do for our clients, and we think this non-branded spec can be a real asset to end-users.”
What’s so special about this installation specification you might ask? It’s similar to what you would get from the rack manufacturer if you purchased a transcritical CO2 system, but it’s not specific to a certain OEM. That means that the general guidance on installing a transcritical CO2 system is there. And with the user guide, you can identify the aspects of installation that really warrant in-depth conversations with whichever rack manufacturer you go with, and those are the same conversations you want to have with your installing contractor.
Bryan Beitler, VP of Engineering at Source Refrigeration and CEO of NASRC, knows first-hand how important it is to have those conversations. Source probably has more experience installing CO2 systems than any other contractor in the U.S., but complications still arise, “Every project is different,” he says, “and I think NASRC’s CO2 spec is a much-needed step toward identifying those differences up front, and making sure everyone involved in system start-up is on the same page.”
Read more: nasrc.org