Danfoss symposium explores the conditions of business strategy in commercial refrigeration

Danfoss recently held its 30th EnVisioneering Symposium, Refrigerants2Sustainability, in Orlando, Florida to explore the forces and ideas driving commercial refrigeration strategy. Specifically, the event convened leaders from across stakeholder communities to discuss the probabilities, possibilities, timelines, and new lights by which market players can gain greater clarity, build effective collaborations, and know better what action paths will best meet goals on both business and societal objectives. Since U.S. regulatory strategy has focused on transforming the refrigerant regime for its GWP impact, industry stakeholders have been exploring new directions and end game solutions on refrigerants. But when the courts recently placed a question mark over U.S. EPA’s SNAP regulations, the issue shifted — this time to questions like how far the country would move, what new investments would be genuinely necessary, and whether the basic strategic issues for refrigerants had again been put on ice. Such questions now form the framework within which industry refrigerant strategy will move forward. “There is a great deal of uncertainty today regarding regulations that has an overwhelming impact on equipment manufacturers, end users and contractors,” said Lisa Tryson, director of corporate communications, Danfoss, in her opening remarks. “The industry is looking for the end game in how systems will be designed, installed, and maintained.” This uncertainty is causing states, refrigeration equipment manufacturers, and end users to take individual actions to move toward low-GWP and energy efficiency technologies that stand to future-proof business and benefit the bottom line today. For example, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has already taken action to reduce HFC refrigerants by putting sales restrictions on very high-GWP refrigerants, prohibiting high-GWP refrigerants in new stationary refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, and providing (to-be-funded) financial incentives for new low-GWP systems. Likewise, retailer Target has set a goal of becoming HFC-free in food distribution centers and stand-along refrigerated display cases by 2020, are expanding their use of hydrocarbon R-290, and are continuing to use a CO2 cascade and HFO-blend self-contained application in small format new stores. At the same time, supermarket chain Giant Eagle is refocusing priorities to emphasize improvements in technology that can quickly yield positive energy savings, tighter temperature control, and improved food safety without dramatically changing its refrigerant strategy.

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