Energy Efficiency

The 6 Important Steps You Must Follow to save money when upgrading a refrigeration unit

Upgrading old refrigeration equipment with new, high energy efficiency models which use less energy, is quieter, use a refrigerant that offers little to no global warming potential (GWP) and ozone depletion, is designed to better display prepared and fresh food, and will protect the food at a perfect temperature seems a no brainer. However, to reduce the cost of the upgrade and capture as much energy efficiency and financial savings as possible, grocery stores and convenience stores must follow the 6 important steps below:


Step 1: Research the Next-Generation Refrigerants That Deliver High Energy Efficiency


The North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council offers a wealth of resources to understand the urgency to transition to low-impact refrigerants as well as provides a list of state and local financial aid. Natural refrigerants, such as carbon dioxide, ammonia, and propane, are the most climate-friendly refrigerant alternatives and offer a future-proof solution to high-global-warming-potential Hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants (HFCs) commonly used in supermarkets.

Ask yourself: should you look for a temporary solution that converts R-22 or R-404A refrigerant with Mid-range GWP alternative refrigerants, such as R-448A and R-449A that will ultimately not comply with the 2020 AIM Act HFC phase-down? Or should you upgrade your refrigeration units altogether to new models that use Technologies using Zero and Near-Zero GWP refrigerants, such as CO2, Propane, and Ammonia?



Energy efficiency-Refrigerant_Hero Graph

Step 2: Research The Unit Format That Fits Your Store’s Operation


Many stores are switching to Self-contained Refrigerated Cases – Standalone or MicroDistributed Systems (MDS) that offer benefits such as regulatory compliance, reduced costs of installation, energy, maintenance, and service, as well as increased flexibility in merchandising.


STEP 3: Research Energy Efficiency State Incentives and Grants 


Some examples of funding that could cover as much as 100% of the incremental cost of upgrading refrigeration units to a CO2 system include state incentives for both GHG emission savings and energy savings, as well as additional grants awarded through the American Public Power Association’s (APPA) Demonstration of Energy and Efficiency Developments (DEED) program.

The North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council offers an easy-to-use US map that details the laws in place or in progress that regulate HFC levels

 While most states in the middle of the US offer no incentives or even indicate a commitment to upload the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, you can find 4 categories:


  • US Climate Alliance Member= NV, LA, MN, WI, IL, MI, NC
    • The state is a member of the US Climate Alliance, a coalition of states committed to upholding the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal of keeping temperature increases below 1.5 degrees Celsius. However, the state has not committed to regulating HFC refrigerants.
  • SNAP 20/21 Pending OR, NM, PA, CT, HI
    • The state has expressed intentions to introduce legislation to reduce HFC emissions, but no bills have been signed into law.
  • SNAP 20/21 Signed into Law: CO, VA, ME, VT, NJ, DE, MA, RI, MD
    • The state has enacted legislation that prohibits certain HFCs in specific stationary refrigeration and air-conditioning end-uses in alignment with the federal EPA SNAP Rules 20 and 21.
  • SNAP Plus Additional GWP Limits: CA, WA
    • In addition to enacting legislation prohibiting certain HFCs in specific stationary refrigeration and air-conditioning end-uses, the state has enacted stricter regulations aimed at curbing HFC emissions beyond EPA SNAP Rules 20 and 21.
Energy Efficiency _AIM ACT_Hero Quote

Step 4: Research How To Handle Your Old Equipment Before Upgrading To High Energy Efficiency Units


Never recycle or landfill old equipment, even broken units. This is ridiculously expensive and will quickly add to your operation’s carbon footprint. Instead, you should focus on re-marketing the units to small shops, restaurants, bars, and hotels that may be interested in purchasing one or two units.

Keep in mind: when you have thousands of units to get rid of across several states and are not particularly flexible on the timeline for the units to be removed, it becomes a particularly difficult puzzle that adds complexity to an already stressful store remodeling process.

This is where 1GNITE comes in. We have the network of buyers lined up and coordinate the pickup at the store on the exact day you need the units removed, and we get you fair market value for all the units. That alone can offset the equipment upgrade cost by several millions of dollars


Step 5: Track the Energy Consumption Of Each Unit Carefully


Check temperature settings. Freezers should be kept between -14 and -8 degrees Fahrenheit, and refrigerators between 35 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperature settings outside those norms will likely lead to wasted energy.

Use smart sensors to alert you when a unit is cooling too little or too much to address the issue immediately. Preventing catastrophic failure

Measuring energy consumption will allow you to verify the energy savings as well as properly report the equipment’s energy consumption which will be used to compile the organization’s carbon footprint


Step 6: Complete Regular Cleaning and Repairs


Regular cleaning of cooling unit coils improves heat transfer within the system, which is key to running an energy-efficient refrigeration system.

Check door seal integrity and keep doors closed as much as possible. By keeping doors shut as often and as tight as possible, grocery store owners and managers can reduce energy waste.

Store associates are already pulled in a lot of directions, and sending a highly qualified refrigeration technician to do simple tasks like cleaning coils or repairing door seals is an expensive proposition.

1GNITE offers a maintenance program that features scheduled deep cleaning, light repairs to clean the coils, checks for door seal integrity, and completing any other small repairs as needed, such as replacing door seal gaskets or replacing door handles.

The need to upgrade old refrigeration equipment  for high energy efficiency units is unavoidable. The longer you wait to get the process started, the more money you’re going to spend, and the more complicated the process is going to get. Don’t wait until the last minute to update your refrigeration equipment – call us today and let’s start planning accordingly.



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