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Survey examines retail response to HFC phase-down


O


ne year after the global Kigali amendment, new survey findings from


Emerson and international polling company ComRes have examined how European retailers are navigating away from HFCs towards lower global warming alternatives. The survey asked 140 retail sector professionals to comment on their preparedness for and awareness of more sustainable technologies, and the primary challenges associated with the shift away from HFCs. 81% of respondents said they viewed the shift away from HFCs as a positive change. However, the survey also showed the retail industry was lagging behind schedule due to a lack of clarity in regulatory changes and replacement technologies available.


Surprisingly, 40% of respondents said they were unaware of upcoming regulatory changes related to the phase-down of HFCs. Meanwhile, 44% said they either had not begun to make the shift, or were unsure. Where retailers have started to phase-down HFCs, notable priorities for selecting replacement refrigeration systems included safety (57% of respondents), energy efficiency (53%) and environmental sustainability (48%). Speaking about the survey findings, Eric Winandy, director of integrated solutions for Emerson Commercial and Residential Solutions, said: “European retailers are enthusiastic about the transition to low GWP refrigerants, but it is concerning that there is still a lack of understanding of the upcoming regulatory changes. It was also surprising that capital and operational cost does not rank as a key driver for retailers identifying replacement systems, as industry analysis shows there could be big


maintenance liabilities associated.” Among the three primary


alternative options available, CO2 technology was most commonly ranked as the preferred choice for replacing HFC systems at 38%, followed by hydrocarbons, such as propane, and HFOs. Despite CO2


systems being the


most popular choice, industry analysis shows that these could cost a medium-sized retailer as much as €51,000 more per store compared to hydrocarbon integral systems over a 10 year period.


Furthermore while CO2 is a


significant improvement over HFCs in terms of global warming potential (GWP), it is found to have lower energy efficiency performance and higher maintenance requirements than other alternatives. Challenges identified included operational expenditure and installation disruption which drew significant scores of 43% and 33% respectively.


Interestingly, however, cost alone was not identified as the main priority for selecting a new refrigeration system. The survey highlighted the desirability of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability, with energy efficiency scoring 48% and environmental sustainability 39%.


When asked what would encourage respondents to accelerate the replacement of HFC refrigeration systems with lower GWP options, depreciation schemes or other tax rebates were the most popular (43%), followed by finding less expensive low GWP options (40%). This places an onus on regulatory bodies to provide more incentives to retailers looking to make the shift, and to invest more in the research and development of new technologies.


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www.acr-news.com November 2017 11


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