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Coborn’s New Concept Store is Cooler in More Ways Than Obvious

Coborn’s Inc. new concept store in Isanti, Minn., is helping it achieve energy savings of up to 16 percent and meet regulatory requirements well ahead of deadlines, in tandem with a new refrigerant.

As profiled as PG’s January 2017 Store of the Month, Coborn’s latest store was the perfect opportunity to create a bold new image and up its game in all of its offerings to shoppers. The result is a supermarket that delivers pretty much everything a supermarket needs to have these days to be competitive, engender consumer loyalty and deliver a top-notch shopper experience.

While refrigeration and lighting can account for more than 50 percent of a supermarket’s total energy use, Coborn’s required a refrigeration system for its new 51,000-square-foot store, where more than 50 percent of the floor space would be dedicated to fresh food. After evaluating a variety of refrigeration systems, St. Cloud, Minn.-based Coborn’s determined that  Honeywell Solstice N40 was best for the Isanti store, as well as for future new stores and remodels.

Boasting easier conversion, reduced costs and lower energy consumption than carbon dioxide, Solstice N40 is a reduced global-warming-potential (GWP), hydrofluoro-olefin (HFO) blend refrigerant which demonstrates 3 percent lower energy consumption in low-temperature applications such as freezer display cases, and 5 percent to 16 percent lower energy consumption in medium-temperature applications such as supermarket refrigerators.

“The decision to go with a Solstice N40 refrigerant system was easy because it was significantly more cost-effective than CO2 and offered terrific energy efficiency,” said Chris Braun, Coborn’s project manager for construction, refrigeration and maintenance. “In addition, we had very good experience with Honeywell products and technical support, so we were confident the system would perform.”

Coborn’s estimates showed that a CO2 transcritical installation would cost 20 percent to 30 percent more than a Solstice N40 system. In addition to the greater cost of design and equipment to support CO2, The grocer was concerned that there would be serviceability issues related to low availability of parts and a limited pool of trained technicians.

“Demand for energy-efficient refrigerants … is growing at an unprecedented rate, as the supermarket industry transitions to solutions that cut costs, meet regulations and achieve environmental goals,” said David Cooper, business director at Minneapolis-based Honeywell Refrigerants. “The ease of conversion from previous-generation refrigerants to Solstice N40 means that companies like Coborn’s can easily plan their future stores and retrofit an entire chain of stores in the short term, and realize significant energy savings in the long term.”

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