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Refrigeration Equipment Activities

Logo: Energy Consult Pty Ltd

Proposed Activity: Temperature Mimicking Sensor

Activity Description

This activity involves installing a temperature mimicking sensor (TMS) or 'food simulant' device in walk-in cool rooms and freezers. The TMS is inserted over the thermostat to mimic the temperature of the stored goods, thereby introducing thermal mass around the sensor, reducing temperature fluctuations and as a result it reduces the cycling of the compressor and energy consumption.

The large majority of walk-in cool rooms and freezers are chilled by refrigeration equipment with controllers that sense and respond to the temperature of the refrigerated space rather than the product temperature. The temperatures sensed can fluctuate significantly as doors are opened and closed, and ambient air rushes in. With fewer fluctuations the compressor will potentially have less cycles per hour (e.g. 12 versus 20 cycles per hour), and as the start-up of refrigeration compressors uses (startup current that lasts less than a second can be as much as 3 times the rated current) more power than normal run operation, less and longer cycles per hour (delivering the same cooling energy) will save some energy. Further evidence though is required to establish the magnitude of energy saving potential from this effect.

The concept of this technology is it mimics the product temperature, which is typically higher than the coolroom or freezer and evaporator air off temperature. The proponents of this activity did not propose adjusting the controller set point (i.e. around 2oC), however it is not clear what portion (if any) of the energy saving claims of 10% to 30% is attributed to raising the set point.

Potential Specification

There are no standards or specifications that relate to the energy savings of this activity, as the savings would vary significantly depending on the size of the cool room, efficiency of the refrigeration equipment, thermal efficiency of the structure, effectiveness of the controller and application (produce, storage arrangement, air flow, etc.) or usage (number of door opening per hour, etc.).

The main suppliers of controls and sensors into coolrooms applications in Australia include Phasefale, Carel, Elliwell and other brands supplied by refrigeration equipment wholesalers. The features of these products range significantly from basic on-off thermostats to sophisticated PID (proportional, integral and differential) that use two sensors; one to measure coolroom temperature and one to simulate product temperature. These controllers are programmed to minimise overshoot and efficiently reach the desired set point, taking into consideration other important factors such as refrigeration defrost cycles. These specialised controllers with two sensors would deliver better energy saving results than a simple temperature mimicking sensor applied to a basic on-off thermostat.

The only technical standard found that relates to this activity is NSF Protocol P235: Temperature Mimicing Sensor.[9] The standard includes minimum sanitation requirements for the materials, design, construction, along with minimum performance requirements of temperature mimicking sensors. This protocol does not cover potential energy savings, however it appears to cover other important food safety considerations that should be considered as part of the product specification criteria.

As there are no Australian and/or industry product standards that specifically cover this activity, it is not possible to develop potential specification of this activity. At best a set of criteria covering both energy and food standards requirements might be developed for guiding the implementation of this type of energy savings project, but the assessment of energy savings would need to be undertaken with project-based methodologies.

Energy Savings and Additionality

This activity may have technical merit, however further technical evidence is required to support energy savings claims of 10% to 30%.

There is certainly significant energy savings potential from improving the control and performance of the existing fleet of walk-in coolrooms (possibly using this technology or different or a combination of techniques). The applicant states there are a number of TMS products available with products distributed in the UK, US and Australia, that the TMS has undergone testing in the UK, the US and in Australia, and a series of case studies and independent laboratory tests support the estimated abatement claims.

However, the estimates of 10% to 30% seem very high and experienced refrigeration practitioners suggest 5% to 10% is more realistic, but the energy saving potential depends on the existing cool room, controller and many other factors. It is possible that the higher energy savings are achieved by raising the set point by around 2oC, rather than because of the use of the TMS. (A report by the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) highlighted a significant opportunity for the food service industry to reduce energy consumption by up to 15% by managing Cold Chain temperatures more effectively without reducing food quality or food safety[10]).

Given the uncertainty concerning the energy savings from TMS, and the number of factors that could influence the potential energy savings from the use of a TMS, there is likely to be a large variation in any resulting energy savings. All these factors will make accurately predicting the energy savings from this activity extremely difficult, if not impossible. The use of TMS in the VEET scheme may therefore be better addressed through project measurement of energy and emission savings.

Implementation and Quality

This activity could be implemented by refrigeration mechanics or suitably briefed unskilled personnel that are aware of the OHS risks in these applications. Using qualified refrigeration mechanics who have an understanding of the applications, associated OHS risks (electrical devices, evaporator fans switching on automatically) and end users’ needs, would certainly enhance the implementation quality and minimise the associated risks.

One associated risk is that the controllers are also used to provide an alarm when the coolroom or freezer goes above a certain temperature. Introducing additional lag will delay the alarm and may provide less leeway for corrective action before the products spoil. Coolrooms and freezers are predominantly used in the refrigerated Cold Food Chain and in some instances can contain tens of thousands of dollars of produce. Warranty may need to be given by suppliers or installers to cover potential losses of produce.

Innovation and Industry Development

There is no innovation potential associated with installing these devices, the activity simply involves inserting a TMS over the existing thermostat.

Compliance and Verification Issues

One method to increase compliance would be to specify refrigeration mechanics as the accredited installers. In addition, further testimony (photographs, technician and forms) could provide further verification that the device was installed correctly and in use.

A refrigeration mechanic would certainly have a greater understanding of the applications and minimise associated OHS issues, however engaging refrigeration mechanics to complete verification work may be challenging.

Recommendation

It is not recommended that the installation of the temperature mimicking device be made and approved, deemed VEET activity at this time.

This activity needs further research to verify and quantify the actual energy savings potential. Energy savings depend on a wide range of factors and proper performance standards would need to be developed before this activity could be included as a deemed measure. At present the impacts from the installations of TMS will need to be measured using project measurement methodologies. Technical standards would also need to be developed that could support the defining of the activity.

Proposed Activity: Installing Timers and Energy Management Systems on Drinks Fridges

Activity Description

This activity involves the installation of two types of devices to reduce energy consumption on refrigeration equipment. The devices are:

  • A generic 24 hour or 7 day timer programmed to switch off the refrigeration appliance or equipment containing non-perishable products outside business hours. The installation of the timer is estimated to reduce equipment operating time by 9.5 hours per day (e.g. 11.00 P.M. to 8.30 A.M) seven days per week.
  • Purpose designed/built technologies - described as Energy Management Systems (EMS) - that are specifically designed for the intended equipment class, and designed to monitor activity and reduce energy consumption when the fridge is not actively being used. An EMS can have night setback features (i.e. raise set point outside business hours from 2-5oC to 7-11oC) rather than switching off, refrigeration load management capability and can include motion sensors or other means of establishing the level of activity such as a remote temperature sensor in the display case. These devices can have self learning features (i.e. fuzzy logic) that learn and adapt from activity detected from motion sensors or changes in refrigerant loads from a lack of activity (e.g. outside business hours). The motion sensors can also be used to switch lights on when passing traffic is detected.

The advantage of offering two types of energy saving devices is it caters for a wider range of installed equipment and abatement potential. The types of refrigeration equipment covered by this activity include:

  1. Water dispensers;
  2. Glass door merchandisers (GDM), and
  3. Refrigerated beverage vending machines (RBVM).

This activity has been discussed as three separate activities as the potential specifications, energy savings and implementation methods can vary significantly for each equipment class. The intended equipment can be found in a wide variety of locations and businesses including food retail, supermarkets, convenience stores, service stations, hotels, gymnasiums, offices and many more locations.

As there is considerable variation in the types of technologies available within these three categories of equipment, and the energy savings potential of the different technologies varies considerably, an introduction to the equipment is given for each activity, before a potential specification is provided. This is done to clarify why a particular version of the potential activity is being advocated, and to avoid in the discussion having to explain and discard additional varieties of the activity.

Proposed Activity: Water Dispensers

Equipment Variation and Potential Activity

There are a wide variety of water dispensers available, but they vary on two main dimensions - whether the dispenser uses bottled water or is “plumbed in”, and whether the dispenser provides cold water, hot and cold water, or hot water. This activity will need to concentrate on bottled water dispensers, as the variation in the designs and specification of plumbed dispensers makes it too difficult to forecast the potential energy savings from changes to these products.

Dispensers which provide hot water only are water heaters, and will almost invariably be plumbed. Though there may be potential to make energy savings through controlling the timing of the operation of these devices, such an activity is not related to installing drink fridge timers, so it is not explored further. That leaves cooling only and hot & cool water dispensers, and the analysis presented below in Energy Savings and Additionality shows that there is only significant energy savings to be had by installing controllers on hot & cool water dispensers. Consequently the potential specification is only for hot & cool water dispensers, though the small potential savings from cool only dispensers is further discussed.

Water dispensers could it theory be controlled by timers or by more sophisticated energy management systems and by systems using occupancy sensors. However, the difficulties with more sophisticated energy management systems and systems using occupancy sensors are the additional cost of these systems will out-weigh the energy cost savings, and the design of the dispensers does not facilitate location of the various sensors required by such systems. The market for water dispensers are also driven by cost, so the installation of internal energy management systems would not be supported by dispenser suppliers. Consequently the potential specification is only for the installation of timer devices on water dispensers.

Potential Specification

The potential specification of this revised activity might be:

“Installation of a timer device on approved combination hot and cold bottle water coolers to switch off the equipment during non-business hours”.

The potential specification would need to include:

  • The activity be limited to combined hot and cold bottle water coolers that refrigerates using the vapour compression refrigeration cycle (excludes thermo-electric cooling technology) and boils water with an electric heating element
  • Exclude all types of cold only water dispensers, as well as units that supply water at ambient temperature as well chilled water, and hot water only units
  • Requirement that units must not be plumbed in and includes bottle units with refillable filtration bottles.
  • Requirement that both hot and cold water temperatures are controlled with adjustable thermostats with water supply temperatures ranging from 5 to 10oC for cold water and 80 to 100oC for hot water.

Technical specification for a suitable timer will also be required, though at present such technical specification has not been developed. This would need to define the range of permitted settings (i.e. off for a minimum of 9.5 hours between 7 pm and 8.30 pm, 7 days per week) and require that the timer meet Australian Electrical standards and the timer not require resetting in the event of a power outage.

Features could be built into a bottled water dispenser that mimicked a 24 hour or 7 day timer. If the VEET activity was specified to cover new models with built in switch off timer features, as well as retrofitted timers, this would encourage this energy saving feature to become standard practice. This activity would need a process in place to guarantee the timer was programmed to switch off during the designated times and remain unchanged for its lifespan.

Energy Savings and Additionality

Water coolers have three distinct operating modes that consume energy at different rates, “Start up”; “Standby” and “Draw off and recovery”. The net energy savings of fitting a switch off timer is the difference between the start-up energy consumption and the standby energy consumption over the period the unit is switched off.

The energy consumption of cold water dispensers can vary widely due to usage rates, ambient conditions, feed water temperatures, chilled water set-point (i.e. factory set and adjustable from 5 to 10oC or more), design (i.e. standby efficiency, compressor size, tank capacity, thermal insulation on the tank, etc.) and rated capacity of the units. (As previously noted, the potential equipment specification has been confined to bottled water coolers in order to make it possible to calculate savings based on a deemed methodology.)

The energy saving benefit from fitting a switch off timer to a cooling only unit is very small, however the energy savings potential of this activity in a combined hot & cold unit is far more significant and hence hot & cold units are specified in the potential specification for this activity. The energy savings from switching off the individual boiling dispenser can be up to 10 times higher than the benefit from switching off the cooling dispenser. In addition, combined boiling and chilled water dispensers can consume up to 60% more power than the sum of energy consumed in individual boiling or chilled dispensers, due to greater heat losses between the adjacent tanks of hot and cold water.11

There are no Australian standards or test methods covering efficiency levels of water coolers, and relatively few overseas policies targeting energy efficiency of water dispensers. The US ENERGY STAR program rates bottled water dispensers based on a “Standby Energy Consumption” test. The standby energy consumption of an Energy Star rated cooler is ≤0.16 kWh/day versus a conventional unit of around 0.29 kWh/day. Hot and cold units have significantly higher standby energy consumption rates of ≤1.2 kWh/day for an ENERGY STAR rated model versus 2.19 kWh/day for a conventional model. The primary difference between that the ENERGY STAR rated units are better insulated and have higher efficiency refrigeration units than conventional units.12

A conservative estimation of the deemed energy savings has been calculated by assuming that the average bottle water dispenser in Australia meets the ENERGY STAR ratings, so the energy savings can safely be assumed to be obtainable from all water dispensers. The energy saving from switching off a cooling only bottled water cooler with a standby energy consumption of 0.16 kWh/day for 9.5 hours would be 23 kWh/year. The startup energy penalty of a typical cooling only unit (power input typically 50W to 100W) is around 6 to 12 kWh/year based on the compressor taking approximately 20 minutes to reach set point (i.e. 1.5 litre cold water tank and delivery rate of 5 litres per hour). The difference between standby and start up is around 11 to 17 kWh/year, which equates to only 0.1 t CO2-e over a lifespan of five years and too small to justify this activity.

Undertaking a similar calculation for a hot and cold unit with a standby energy consumption of 2.19 kWh/day and heating element of 450 to 575W will achieve net savings of around 1.5 t CO2-e over a lifespan of five years. If the energy wastage between the adjacent hot and cold water tanks were considered this saving would be significantly higher. The predicted energy savings from this activity would be additional to the BAU scenario as no major suppliers of bottled water coolers offer timed switch off features.

Industry sources suggest that hot and cold water dispensers represent around 20% of total bottled water dispenser sales and that current sales levels of all bottle water coolers are around 20,000 to 25,000 units per annum. In 2003 the stock of combined hot and cold bottled water coolers was estimated to be 40,000 Australia wide.13 If Victoria represents 25% of the fleet, this equates to a potential abatement of 15 kt CO2-e if timers were fitted to all hot and cold bottle water dispensers.

Implementation and Quality

For retrofitted timers, this activity simply involves plugging the pre-set timer into the wall socket and has the benefit of not requiring specialized skills for installation.

The deployment of this activity could be rapid, particularly if the activity was coordinated through companies that frequently visit bottled water dispensers to resupply water or service equipment. This would mean the implementation cost of this activity is likely to be minimal.

For the installation of water dispensers with built-in timers, manufacturers/suppliers would provide technical specifications that could be used to verify the dispenser model meet the activity specifications, and then all such model units installed would meet the activity requirements.

Innovation and Industry Development

There is limited potential for innovation associated with fitting a basic timer to bottled water coolers, however if an activity was created for new equipment to include an integral 24 hour or 7 day timer this could lead to a micro product innovation and encourage this feature to become standard practice for all bottled water coolers sold in Australia.

Switch off timers features are common on hot water boilers, however have not migrated to hot and cold bottle water coolers as they are a highly price sensitive appliance sold by specialists water companies, equipment manufacturers and even major retailers (i.e. Aldi, Office Works, etc.).

Compliance and Verification Issues

The compliance and verification requirements for a 24 hour or 7 day timer for combined hot and cold water dispensers could be similar to those outlined for standby power controllers including:

  • Site and authorised signatory details, serial number of the timer, type of equipment the timer is plugged into, etc.
  • Verification that the equipment is an approved type
  • The installer to provide the authorised signatory with product information including an explanation about how the timer works and warranty details
  • Confirmation from the installer and end user that the timers has been set up to switch off for a minimum of 9.5 hours per day outside business hours
  • Provide evidence that the device has been physically installed.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the activity of fitting a generic 24 hour or 7 day timer to combination hot and cold bottled water coolers become a VEET approved activity in the future, post-2012, when further information and clarification has been obtained.

Items that require further clarification in order to introduce this activity include:

  • Prepare a more detailed activity specification and implementation plan for rapid deployment of this activity through existing supply channels.
  • Combined boiling and chilled water dispensers can consume up to 60% more power than the sum of energy consumed in individual boiling or chilled dispensers. Preliminary abatement calculations did not include these losses. Explore to what extent industry has addressed this issue, and if a nominal allowance that reflects the typical stock should be included in the abatement value.
  • As suppliers of hot and cold water coolers are likely to fit timers to newly installed units as well, assess if there is merit in expanding this activity to cover new models with built in switch off timer features and what criteria would be required to guarantee the timer was programmed to switch off during the designated times.
  • The answers to these items would require further consultation with key industry stakeholders (i.e. Aquacooler, Zip Industries, Neverfail/Coca-Cola Amatil, Waterworks, etc.).

Proposed Activity: Glass Door Merchandisers (GDM)

Equipment Variation and Potential Activity

The ownership of the equipment varies between privately owned and those owned by beverage supplies. Privately owned equipment is common in the independent supermarket, master grocers and convenience store sectors, and such equipment is older and likely to be amenable to retrofitting of either timers or Energy Management Systems (EMS).

Beverage supplier owned equipment is often newer and more sophisticated, and may include communication links to advise suppliers on restocking requirements. Such equipment can not have simple timers installed, but the retrofitting of Energy Management Systems may be applicable. However, beverage suppliers have had programs in place to refurbish their existing fleet with EMS and more efficiency lighting technology for several years, so the market potential for this activity may be much less in this market segment. As timers or EMS will therefore not be suitable to be retrofitted to all equipment, it will be important to be able to define which models of equipment are appropriate for such installation.

Another issue is the technical specification of the features of the EMS. Certain minimum features in the EMS need to be defined in order to be assured that the installation of the EMS will create a minimum energy savings. These specification form part of the potential activity specification.

Potential Specification

The potential description of this revised activity might be:

“Installation of either a generic timer device on approved glass door merchandisers containing non-perishable products to switch off the equipment during non-business hours or the retrofit of a purpose designed Energy Management System approved for use with specified glass door merchandisers”.

The Energy Management Systems could include a range of systems that employ night set-back features and motion sensors coupled with fuzzy logic self-learning pattern capabilities, purpose designed to reduce the amount of energy used by the GDM.

The potential specification might be dissected into two parts and contain references to:

1. Installation of a generic timer device:

  • Being applicable to vertical refrigerated display cabinet with glass doors used to display and refrigerate non-perishable beverages within prescribed temperature limits (i.e. typically from 2 to 5oC).
  • The technical specification for a suitable timer is required and the range of permitted settings (i.e. off for a minimum of 9.5 hours between 7 pm and 8.30 pm, 7 days per week), plus that the timer would need to meet Australian Electrical standards and not require resetting in the event of a power outage
  • Contain a definition of non-perishable goods.

2. Retrofit of an Energy Management System:

  • Technical specification which defines the technical characteristics (i.e. night set-back feature and fuzzy logic with self-learning pattern capability) that the EMS must have in order to be approved as a EMS that will produce a minimum energy saving of 20%14.
  • Only the installation of approved EMS will be accepted as an approved VEET activity.
  • The EMS must have a turn up or night setback features (i.e. raise set point outside business hours from 2-5oC to 7-11oC) and a deemed turn up temperature, to be determined, or refrigeration load management features.
  • The EMS must have the ability to identify the level of activity with a motion sensor or a sensing probe used to sense the temperature inside the display case (some controllers use wireless sensors).
  • A list of GDM models and which EMS is approved for use by the equipment manufacturers will be required.

These devices can be plug in devices or retrofitted in the equipment. An example of a plug in device that includes these features is the DFx 2eRT. Other solutions could include controllers mounted in a junction box or retrofitted in the GDM. The list of approved products would need to detail the full product codes of controllers rather than the generic family model numbers as specialised energy management features are not typically standard features.

Further investigation is required with beverage suppliers to confirm what temperature setting or constraints may need to be considered for perishable or long life beverages.

For both timers and EMS activities, the following would be excluded from being used in this VEET activity:

  • All vertical glass door merchandisers with an existing Energy Management System
  • Open display cabinets (i.e. no doors) as they are poorly insulated, very inefficient and consume too much energy re-chilling the beverages.

Energy Savings and Additionality

The main energy saving opportunity with this activity is from switching off ancillary components such as the lights, fans and standby power as some of the compressor run time savings would be consumed bringing the product (beverages) back to temperature.

The magnitude of the energy savings depends on the size of GDM (i.e. 1 door, 2 door or >2 doors) and many other factors including the rated energy performance under test conditions, test temperature, insulation (cabinet and doors), equipment vintage, maintenance, door seals, controller (advanced or mechanical), lighting type (fluorescent T8 or T5, or LED), climate zone, air flow around condenser, end user behaviour (number of door openings, temperature of the beverage on entry), etc. In addition many of the devices operate in ambient or close to ambient conditions that are subject to seasonal variations and are typically harsher than laboratory test conditions.

Savings from a generic timer device

The proponents estimated energy savings potential for 1 and 2 door GDM to be 800 kWh and 1,200 kWh per annum respectively, based on installing a timer that turns the refrigerators off for an average of 9.5 hours per day, seven days per week. The carbon abatement for the 1 door GDM was estimated to be 3.9 t CO2 and the 2 door 5.8 t CO2, both calculated over a 5 year lifespan. The deemed lifespan of 5 year takes into account the expected life of the equipment and assumes that once the timers are in place, the devices are unlikely to be removed for an estimated 5 year period. These estimated savings were based on field trails undertaken by the proponents.

AS 1731 Refrigerated display cabinets covers glass door merchandisers and part 14 provides MEPS requirements and maximum energy consumption for high efficiency self-contained display cabinets for a range of refrigeration display cabinet categories. The efficiency levels in AS 1731 are expressed as the total energy consumption (TEC, kWh/day/m2) per 24 hours per total display area (TDA). The main categories covering GDM are IVC4. AS 1731 is currently under review by the ME008 standards committee.

Deemed savings can be estimated using this standard if we assume that the average efficiency level of a GDM is between MEPS and HEPS levels, and the typical TDA of a single door and twin door unit is 0.8 and 1.2 respectively. Switching the equipment off for 9.5 hours reduces the operating time by around 40%, however an energy penalty needs to be included that equates to around 10% for restarting requirements. The net savings equates to estimated energy savings of 1,200 kWh/year for the single door unit and 1,800 kWh/year for the two door unit. This equates to a carbon abatement potential of 5.8 to 8.8 t CO2-e respectively over a 5 year period. Providing the equipment did not have an existing EMS, the savings from the switch off timer would be additional to the BAU scenario.

Savings from retrofit of an Energy Management System

Estimating savings from specialised controllers is more complex as there are more variables to consider, however field trials from equipment manufacturers and owners demonstrate significant savings across large and diverse samples. For example, one trial consisted of 84 coolers, located in different trading environments, air conditioned and non-air conditioned, and fitted to different models and generations of equipment and resulted in averaging a saving of more than 20% of total energy consumption per annum.15 This and other research undertaken by GDM suppliers indicates a 20% or more saving for equipment fitted with appropriate ERM is to be expected.

Using the same assumptions as those used in calculating the energy savings for the switch-off timer, and assuming a EMS with an annual saving of 20%, the savings from ERM installations equates to a carbon abatement potential of 3.9 t CO2-e for the single door unit and 5.8 t CO2-e for the two door unit over a 5 year period.

Implementation and Quality

The activity of fitting a 24 hour or 7 day timer simply involves plugging the device into the wall socket and has the benefit of not requiring specialized skills for installation. However, the activity is not as straight forward as installing standby power controllers on TVs and videos, as it could involve moving a heavy 2 or 3 door drink cabinet that contains products for resale to consumers.

Options should be explored to minimise the OHS risk such as involving service agents or practitioners that are familiar with the equipment or excluding equipment over a certain size. This activity has been trialled in the supermarket industry with IGA stores and some lessons could be learned from this trial concerning any OH&S issues and with what cabinet types or sizes.

The ownership of the equipment is likely to affect the willingness to install timers and the resulting energy savings, as ownership often affects the age and efficiency of the equipment. A high proportion of GDM are owned by beverage suppliers (i.e. Coca-Cola Amatal and Schweppes-Pepsi) and they have had programs in place to refurbish their existing fleet with Energy Management Systems and more efficiency lighting technology for several years. However, some beverage display equipment is privately owned, particularly in the independent supermarket, master grocers and convenience store sectors. The deployment of timers could even be coordinated through independent chains and fitted by storeowners, providing the compliance and verification conditions were met.

Installers would need to check that the equipment does not contain perishable goods. Some types of orange or fruit juices may be an issue, and will need to be defined in the product specification for the activity. An option that could be considered is to combine a label with this activity along the lines of "Non-perishable goods only”.

Fitting of specialised controllers may require a technician, however some control devices simply plug into the wall like a timer and only require a wireless sensor to be fitted in the display case or the attachment of a motion sensor nearby to detect activity. There may be controllers that will require service agents or practitioners that are familiar with the equipment to perform this activity as an upgrade or retrofit. Using skilled practitioners will certainly minimise the OHS risk associated with the activity of fitting Energy Management Systems.

A potential concern was raised by the proponents associated with installing generic timers, due to the impact of switching off the refrigeration equipment mid cycle and the effect this may have on the compressor and components. Some energy management systems contain a current sensor which determines if the refrigeration compressor is operating, and will delay power-down. Consultation with several compressor (Sanden, Danfoss and Kirby) and equipment manufacturers (Coca-Cola Amatal), and the Air conditioning and Refrigeration Equipment Manufacturers Association (AREMA) suggested switching off the refrigeration equipment mid cycle is not a concern. The general explanation given is these refrigeration systems are designed to stop and start, plus they have capillary systems that allow the pressures to balance out and restarting several hours later is unlikely to cause any issues. The same technical explanation would apply to refrigerated beverage vending machines and water coolers.

Innovation and Industry Development

There is limited potential for innovation associated with fitting a basic timer to GDM, however there is potential to develop specialist bolt-on control devices or retrofit kits, which have been designed specifically for this application. Some of these already exist, but further improvements may be possible.

Compliance and Verification Issues

The compliance and verification requirements for a generic 24 hour or 7 day timer for GDM could include:

  • Site and authorised signatory details, serial number of the timer, type of equipment the timer is plugged into, etc.
  • Verification that the equipment is an approved type and has not been refurbished in a way that limits the energy saving potential of the activity
  • The installer to provide the authorised signatory with product information including an explanation about how the timer works and warranty details
  • Confirmation from the installer and end user that the timers has been set up to switch off for a minimum of 9.5 hours per day outside business hours
  • The installer would need to explain that only non-perishable goods can be used in the equipment and if deemed necessary place a non-perishable goods label on the equipment (placement to be determined)
  • Provide evidence that the device has been physically installed. The compliance and verification process for specialised EMS could include:
  • Verifying the EMS fitted is an approved device, as indicated by the list of approved EMS that meet the technical and other specifications
  • Verification that the equipment is approved by the equipment manufacturer for the specific EMS to be fitted
  • Confirmation that the activity detection device (i.e. temperature sensor or motion sensor) is set up correctly
  • Confirmation from the installer and end user that the EMS has been set up to achieve the deemed energy saving potential of the activity
  • A requirement that the installer explain that certain perishable goods cannot be used in the equipment

Further consultation with beverage companies is required to assess which beverages (i.e. fruit juices, long life products, dairy, etc.) may be affected (if any) and need to be excluded.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the activity of fitting either a generic 24 hour/ 7 day timer or a purpose designed EMS to glass door merchandisers become an approved VEET activity when further information and clarification has been obtained.

In order for the activity to become an approved VEET activity, it is recommended that:

  • Prepare a more detailed activity specification that provides greater detail of the target equipment (i.e. generic definition with a list of equipment to be included) and EMS specifications (including essential features, setup and minimum energy saving potential)
  • Prepare an activity implementation plan that enhances the opportunity of success and minimises the associated risks of implementing this activity. This would enhance the understanding and define what circumstances it is essential for a skilled practitioner undertake this activity, and how appropriate GDM for timers or EMS can be identified.
  • Further consult with key industry stakeholders (i.e. beverage companies, Independent Supermarket Chains, EMS suppliers and equipment manufacturers/suppliers such as Williams Refrigeration, Sanden, Skope Refrigeration, etc.) in order to provide clarification on potential OH&S issues connected with EMS installations, identify risks to GDM products or GDM functioning and how these can be reduced, reducing any other compliance and verification issues, and develop the list of approved EMS and the list of which EMS can be fitted to which GDM.

Proposed Activity: Refrigerated Beverage Vending Machines

Equipment Variation and Potential Activity

There are two major types of beverage vending equipment:

  • Closed RBVM
  • Glass fronted RBVM.

The most common beverage vending machine is the closed front machine, used to vend cans and/or bottles. With closed front machines, the product cannot be seen and the machine either has signage or a backlit panel on the front advertising the contents.

The use of timers on RBVM was considered but rejected due to the sophistication of current RBVM stock. More recently produced RBVM equipment can have stock and income management systems with GPS and communication technology. The use of a timer may interfere with these features or business practices. However, a specialised EMS specifically designed for this application and approved for use by equipment manufacturers could produce greater energy savings than a generic timer and would not interfere with the RBVM functioning.

The Energy Management Systems could include a range of systems that employ turn up or refrigeration load management features, motion sensors, purpose designed control algorithms and fuzzy logic with self-learning pattern capabilities to reduce the amount of energy used by the GDM.

An example of an EMS in wide use in North America is the VendingMiser. This device commonly incorporates a Passive Infrared Sensor (PIR) to power down the machine when the area surrounding it is vacant. It then monitors the room’s temperature and automatically re-powers the cooling system at one to three hour intervals, independent of sales, to ensure that the product stays cold. This product has been extensively field tested with independently documented energy savings of around 35% and more in specific applications.

Potential Specification

The potential description of this revised activity might be:

“Installation or retrofit of a purpose designed Energy Management System approved for use with specified Refrigerated Beverage Vending Machines”.

The potential specification might include:

  • Defining that the activity includes both closed and glass fronted RBVM.
  • A list of RBVM models and which EMS is approved for use by the equipment manufacturers.
  • A technical specification so the EMS will achieve the expected 35% energy savings, and the specification will need to include that the EMS must have refrigeration load management features, (i.e. raise set point from 2-5oC to 7-11oC or switch off outside business hours), motion sensors to detect activity levels and fuzzy logic with self-learning pattern capability.
  • Excludes all RBVM that are currently equipped with an Energy Management System.

Further investigation is required with beverage suppliers to define what will be deemed to be perishable products and which could be damaged through the changing of storage temperatures.

Energy Savings and Additionality

The main energy saving opportunity with RBVM is from switching off ancillary components such as the lights, fans and standby power as some of the compressor run time savings would be consumed bringing the product (beverages) back to temperature. However this is not the case with all designs – for example, equipment that only refrigerates the bottom drinks ready to be dispensed would require less energy to re-chill the beverages.

Efficiency levels of RBVM are covered under AS 4864, Part 1: Performance of refrigerated beverage vending machines and Part 2: Minimum energy performance standard requirements. The standard provides energy performance calculations in kWh/day based on vending machine capacity of 355 ml cans. These test methods and MEPS levels for RBVM were published in 2008, however they have not been subject to energy efficiency requirements in Australia. The MEPS requirements and high efficiency levels proposed are the same as US ENERGY STAR Tier 1 and Tier 2 respectively. In 2008 it was estimated that US RBVM manufacturers have about 80% market share of equipment sold in Australia and the majority of this equipment was US ENERGY STAR rated. However, the other 20% of annual sales are dispersed amongst small importers/suppliers and many small business vending operators who typically import less efficient equipment.16

For the purposes of calculating deemed carbon abatement we have assumed the average efficiency level of the existing stock targeted by this activity is equal to the MEPS level. A typical RBVM with a capacity of 425 cans that meets the MEPS level will consume 2,506 kWh/year under test conditions. When fitted with a specialised controller that achieved a minimum energy saving of 35%, this equates to a saving of 877 kWh/year and carbon abatement potential of 4.2 t CO2-e operated over a 5 year period. Providing the equipment did not have an existing EMS, the savings would be additional to the BAU scenario.

The majority of the fleet of RBVM is owned and leased out by the major beverage companies (Coca-Cola Amatil and to a lesser extent Schweppes-Pepsi) and independent vendor operators (i.e. Smiths Snack Vend, Dixie Narco, Royal Vendors-CoinCo, Automatic Vending Specialists, Brivend, Professional Vending Services, R.P Vending, etc.). In 2005 the installed stock of RBVM in Australia was estimated to be 100,000 to 120,000. Further consultation is required with the major equipment owners and the Independent Vending Machine Association to gain a better understanding of size of the fleet with potential for fitting Energy Management Systems.

Implementation and Quality

Products such as the VendorMiser, which has been widely deployed in North America have installation kits to simplify fitting and guidelines concerning how the motion sensor must be located. In some instances fitting or retrofitting a purpose designed controller will require service agents or practitioners that are familiar with the equipment to perform upgrades. Using skilled practitioners will certainly minimise the OHS risk associated with the activity of fitting Energy Management Systems.

The solutions and deployment of this activity is likely to be driven by the major market participants that own, lease and restock the equipment, and smaller independent operators with small fleets (on average ten machines) can mimic the major participants.

Innovation and Industry Development

There is some potential for innovation to develop specialist bolt-on control devices or retrofit kits which have been designed specifically for this application. Some of these already exist, but further improvements may be possible.

Compliance and Verification Issues

The compliance and verification requirements for fitting a specialised EMS to RBVM requires further consultation with equipment owners, manufacturers and suppliers. Some important considerations for implementation compliance will be as follows:

  • Obtaining site and authorised signatory details, serial number of the EMS, type of equipment the device is to be fitted, etc.
  • Verification that the equipment and EMS is an approved type and has not been refurbished in a way that limits the energy saving potential of the activity.
  • The installer to provide the authorised signatory with product information including a manufacturer’s manual about how the EMS works and warranty details.
  • Confirmation from the installer and end user that the EMS has been set up to achieve the deemed energy saving potential of the activity.
  • The installer may need to explain that certain perishable goods cannot be used in the equipment.
  • Provide evidence that the device has been physically installed.

Further consultation with beverage companies is required to assess what constitutes perishable products (i.e. fruit juices, long life products, dairy, etc.) that may be affected by temporary increases in storage temperature.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the activity of installing or retrofitting a purposed designed EMS to RBVM become an approved VEET activity in the future, post-2012, when further information and clarification has been obtained.

In order for the activity to become an approved VEET activity, it is recommended that:

  • A more detailed activity specification be prepared that provides greater detail of the target equipment (i.e. generic definition with a list of equipment to be excluded) and EMS technical specifications (including essential features, setup and minimum energy saving potential).
  • Prepare an activity implementation plan to enhance the opportunity of success and minimises the associated risks. This would aim to increase the understanding of OH&S issues and define in what circumstances it is essential for a skilled practitioner undertake this activity.
  • Research be undertaken to determine what constitutes perishable products used in RBVM.

Further consultation with key industry stakeholders (i.e. beverage companies, major equipment owners, Independent Vending Machine Association, EMS suppliers and equipment manufacturers/suppliers such as Williams Refrigeration, Sanden, Skope Refrigeration, etc.) will provide clarification on these items.

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