As a supermarket owner, it is important to ensure your business is both profitable and sustainable. One way to achieve this is by converting to CO2 refrigeration. With this eco-friendly alternative, supermarkets can enjoy several benefits, including lower energy costs, fewer maintenance needs and improved environmental sustainability. By investing in CO2 refrigeration, supermarkets can create a greener future for their food retail business and the planet.
What is CO2 refrigeration, and why is it important for supermarkets?
Grocery stores and supermarkets around the world are moving away from traditional refrigerants in favor of natural refrigerants with lower global-warming potential (GWP) like CO2. Instead of harmful greenhouse gases, CO2 refrigeration uses carbon dioxide, a natural and non-toxic refrigerant. By switching to CO2 refrigerant, grocery stores can lower their energy costs and decrease their carbon footprint.
Additionally, the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act (AIM Act), enacted in December 2020, proposes to phase down the production and consumption of potent greenhouse gases used in refrigeration and air conditioning – namely, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The AIM Act gives the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authority to regulate the supply and use of HFC refrigerants with high GWP. For supermarkets, this means the availability of common HFC refrigerants like R-404A and R-448A will become increasingly limited.
Environmental benefits of CO2 refrigeration
CO2 refrigeration offers numerous environmental benefits for supermarkets and the food retail industry. By using carbon dioxide as a refrigerant, grocers can significantly reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions. With a GWP of 1, CO2 refrigeration helps combat climate change and contributes to a healthier planet. CO2 refrigeration systems also have a lower impact on ozone depletion, reducing the environmental harm caused by traditional refrigerants. What’s more, use of CO2 refrigeration systems provides grocers with relief from leak tracking and other EPA reporting requirements.
The use of CO2 as a refrigerant in commercial refrigeration is expected to rise significantly in the United States over the next several years. By making the switch to CO2 refrigeration, food retailers can make strides in meeting their sustainability goals and complying with environmental regulations.
Financial benefits for supermarkets
When it comes to CO2 refrigeration, the benefits for supermarkets go beyond just being climate-friendly. With the cost of traditional refrigerants more than tripling over the past two years, this sustainable alternative also offers significant financial advantages. By switching to CO2 refrigerant, supermarkets can experience lower energy costs, as CO2 systems are more energy-efficient compared with traditional refrigeration methods. On average, CO2 refrigeration offers 10% more energy savings than HFC parallel-rack systems. Additionally, maintenance needs are reduced, resulting in a low total cost of ownership (TCO). CO2 refrigeration is not just a theoretical concept; it is a proven solution that can help supermarkets thrive.
Retrofitting your refrigeration
Replacing your existing refrigeration with CO2 refrigerant may seem like a daunting task, but supermarkets can take several steps to make the transition smooth and successful. First, it’s important to assess your current refrigeration system to determine the feasibility of implementing CO2 refrigeration. This can be done with the help of a reputable service provider with credible experience in CO2 systems. Collaborating with experts will ensure proper system design, installation and maintenance. By taking these steps, supermarkets can embrace a greener future and reap the many rewards of CO2 refrigeration.
As regulations become more widespread, CO2 systems offer tremendous environmental benefits and future-proof retailers’ investments. Interested in learning more about efficiency planning for both new construction and existing stores? Partner with Smart Care and create a plan to bring your vision to life.