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ASHRAE Releases Commissioning Refrigeration Guide

Jessica Lyons Hardcastle

ashrae logoA new guide developed by American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers  outlines a process that could help supermarkets reduce energy costs related to refrigeration as much as 25 percent.

The “Refrigeration Commissioning Guide for Commercial and Industrial Systems” guide book, funded in part by the US Department of Energy through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, outlines the steps to proper commissioning of custom refrigeration systems.

The guide was designed to help achieve cost-effective and cost-efficient refrigeration systems for new projects, expansions, remodels and existing systems that simply need a tune-up. The guide also includes information on commissioning during planning and design, construction and installation, system start-up and first-year operation. A matrix is included to describe roles and responsibilities as well as examples of commissioning checklists and acceptance plans can be used for reference or template.

The EPA estimates that supermarkets use about 3 million kWh of electricity per year, 60 percent of which is attributed to refrigeration. However, commissioning in existing grocery stores can result in 7 percent to 25 percent energy savings per year, according to the Portland Energy Conservation Inc.  Based on these estimates, this commissioning guide can lead to substantial energy savings, if widely adopted, the ASHRAE says.

Commissioning of refrigeration systems is uncommon in the industry because of a belief that it adds costs and time without sufficient value, says Richard Royal, who served as chair of the committee that wrote the guide. But properly commissioned systems cut energy costs, are easier to maintain, help minimize liabilities from refrigeration leaks and reduce loss of product to system failures or unreliable performance, Royal says.

ASHRAE also is developing a guideline that addresses the commissioning process for existing systems and assemblies. The guideline describes the procedures, methods, documentation, requirements and physical activities of the commissioning process for existing buildings, systems and assemblies using the principles developed in ASHRAE Guideline 0-2005, The Commissioning Process.

The proposed guideline is open for public comment from Dec. 6 until Jan. 20, 2014. For more information, visit www.ashrae.orgpublicreviews.



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