HFC Refrigerant Regulations: What to Do as States Adopt SNAP Rule 20

When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced they were going to phase out hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants in 2015, many in the industry began preparing for the coming changes. The new proposed regulations under Section 612 of the Clean Air Act, known as SNAP Rule 20, established a schedule to phase out common HFC refrigerants such as R-22, R-124 and R-507.

However, when major chemical companies challenged the EPA in federal court in 2017, a judge ruled the EPA didn’t have the authority to mandate the changes. Attempts to appeal the court’s decision failed, and the EPA acknowledged they will not enforce the rule.

However, just because the rule was overturned at the federal level doesn’t mean you’re in the clear if you use these refrigerants.

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6 Hot Trends in Cold Storage Warehouse Construction

At Stellar, we construct a lot of cold storage facilities and distribution centers. In fact, over the years we’ve designed and built more than 10 million square feet of public refrigerated warehouse space.

My point? We notice patterns in consumer demand, common challenges and external factors that influence the market as a whole.

Here are six of the top things affecting the cold storage construction industry right now.

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[Infographic] Installing Packaged Refrigeration vs. Traditional Systems

Low-charge packaged refrigeration is a safe, innovative solution that uses CO2 or ammonia and a secondary refrigerant, such as glycol. This allows facilities to reap the benefits of ammonia’s excellent thermodynamic properties while minimizing the refrigerant charge and risk as the ammonia is isolated to one area and only the secondary refrigerant is circulated throughout the facility.

The system is “packaged” or “modular,” with refrigeration equipment built off site, mounted on a structural steel base, and then delivered to a plant as a self-contained, “plug-and-play” system.

One of the major advantages of a packaged refrigeration system is ease of installation. Here are some of the main reasons why:

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Is it Time to Upgrade or Replace Your Refrigeration Controls?

While new refrigeration control systems are significant capital investments, their value far exceeds their cost. In large food processing or cold storage facilities, refrigeration typically accounts for more than half of the facility’s total electric energy use. And with unplanned downtime costing many facilities tens of thousands of dollars per day, an aging refrigeration control system can put your business at significant risk.

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, it may be time to upgrade or replace your existing system:

  • Is your current control system more than 10-15 years old?
  • Have you experienced unplanned facility downtime due to refrigeration failures?
  • Are the individual components of your refrigeration controls system operating as islands, meaning they work independently and don’t “talk” to each other?
  • Are you still operating on a serial network that’s linear, making it difficult to expand your capabilities?
  • Do you have unstable suction and head pressures? Are you unable to trim fans and pumps via VFD control?

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