Skilled Trades

HVACR Innovation: Refrigeration Savings Opportunities

Skilled TradesJuly 30, 2015

During a presentation at this year’s Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Expo, University of Wisconsin-Madison research engineer Daniel Dettmers told attendees that big industrial refrigeration clients are prime candidates for energy-efficiency improvements. According to Dettmers, businesses that use significant quantities of refrigerant--like pharmaceutical processing plants--could save real money by having knowledgeable refrigeration specialists analyze their systems and recommend enhancements. By upgrading equipment so it runs more efficiently and for shorter periods of time, Dettmers says that you’re going to improve the system’s reliability.” The direct benefits of such an upgrade include longer equipment life, less downtime, and lower energy costs. There also would be indirect benefits, such as increased refrigeration capacity and safety, along with expansion capabilities without having to make major infrastructure changes. Among Dettmers’ top suggestions:

  • Reduce system head pressure for a low-risk procedure that usually delivers year-round savings.
  • Raise suction pressure to help boost capacity while providing one-to-two percent savings in energy usage for each pound of increase suction pressure.
  • Utilize heat recovery from the heated oil in the separator to provide underfloor heating. He says heat recovery technology installed during construction will provide significant benefits at little added cost.
There are challenges to overcome, however. All commercial cooling systems are different and are often designed or modified on the fly to accommodate new requirements. That’s where the expertise--and creative solutions--of refrigeration professionals are so valuable. Refrigeration specialists make up the “R” in HVAC-R (Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning, and Refrigeration). They help maintain climate-controlled environments in homes, businesses, offices, stores and hospitals. What refrigeration technicians do is complicated, to be sure--but also very fulfilling. It’s a combination of working with both your hands and your brain. If that sounds like something you want to do for a career, check out the HVAC & Refrigeration programs at Fortis today!