Practical Tips to Help Businesses Reduce Emissions
The cold chain industry both helps and hinders the fight against climate change. It helps reduce emissions by ensuring product shelf life is prolonged which reduces food waste and prevents additional food production to replace loss which would again harm the planet. But the cold chain also contributes to climate change through energy-intensive refrigeration and transport.
In the cold chain, refrigeration systems use between 60% and 85% of energy in temperature-controlled areas. Below, we outline four practical solutions to help businesses in the industry reduce emissions.
1. Ensure optimal HVAC and refrigeration plant conditions and utilise predictive maintenance to reduce operating costs and increase system longevity
Replacing current refrigeration systems with the newest technologies is not always possible. It might be too expensive or the generated waste might offset any benefits gained from the higher efficiency. Instead, businesses can take a few steps to improve the existing refrigeration system’s efficiency and longevity.
- Energy consumption of compressors and condensers can be reduced by using variable speed drives
- Compressor discharge pressure can be reduced by establishing floating head pressure control on the condenser that varies according to the changes in the ambient temperature
- Monitoring the condenser temperature differential allows to gauge the efficiency of multiple condensers. Early notifications can alert users if systems are not operating efficiently
- Adjusting trim heaters based on temperature and humidity rather than a time schedule will reduce power consumption
- Installing a defrost warning system that alerts users when consecutive defrost cycles have terminated due to time instead of temperature helps spot high energy use and potential equipment issues
- A night-blind detection system that generates an alarm if night blinds have not been deployed which would lead to an increase in energy use can help users rectify this issue
2. Implement intelligent controls and smart monitoring to help optimise plant conditions
Implementing intelligent controls to regulate temperatures helps achieve ideal conditions in cold storage and transportation. The effects will be greatest when a consistent control strategy is used for the whole HVACR system and across an entire estate since a common strategy facilitates installation and maintenance.
Connecting intelligent controls and smart monitoring via the Internet of Things (IoT) allows control of the whole HVACR infrastructure from a central device.
3. Installing automation software for HVACR control systems to optimise processes, remove human error, and help mitigate problems arising from labour shortages
Automation software enables efficient HVACR plant control to ensure facilities are operating at their best capacity. Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) software is an ideal option for businesses in the cold chain. It allows facility managers to be in control of all devices and it runs automatically once set up.
Any intelligent HVACR devices connected via the IoT can be automated. RDM’s PLC software has delivered energy savings to many businesses over the years, including a high-temperature cold storage facility for a cheese manufacturer. In this example, 30% energy savings were achieved through the installation of a high-tech refrigeration plant which was optimised using custom control algorithms.
4. Using remote monitoring to understand inefficiencies and define the scope for improvement.
Using remote monitoring software allows businesses to compare and analyse HVACR plant performance from different sites on a user-friendly dashboard. It helps spot issues before they become serious, prevent equipment failure and product spoilage, and ensure regulatory compliance.
Specifically, it can be used to monitor
- Cold storage temperatures
- HVACR system performance & alarms
- Refrigerant gas leaks
- Energy use
Monitoring these different aspects helps facility managers report on the different types of building emissions: embodied, fugitive, and operational. All three types need to be lowered to not only achieve a short-term reduction in emissions but to achieve the long-term goal of operating their business at net zero.
Download our whitepaper for a more detailed analysis of this subject. It also includes case studies with real-life examples of businesses in the cold chain reducing their carbon footprint.
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