EuroShop Retail Design Award winning projects: Coop Photographer : Marco ZantaGERMANY: Nearly two-thirds of food retailers in Western and Northern Europe have implemented natural refrigerant technology in store, a new study shows.

Produced by market development company Shecco in partnership with Carrier and launched at the EuroShop retail trade fair in Düsseldorf this week, the study, which looks at large food retailers in Germany, France, UK, Denmark and Norway, found all respondents were familiar with restrictions on F-gas use and had already, or would soon, implement appropriate strategies. At the same time, respondents indicated the selection of technologies is increasingly influenced by the belief that carbon footprint reduction is linked to their overall business success. 71% of respondents stated policies have been initiated at the highest levels of their organisations to drive carbon footprint reduction through refrigeration with the use of energy-efficient and low GWP refrigerants being identified as the most important environmental feature to increase a store’s energy efficiency. The respondents ranked refrigeration above lighting, overall energy management (including waste heat recovery), and fleet management in terms of environmental energy efficiency importance.

“While legislation can be a key driver in accelerating the pace of deployment of sustainability activities by retailers, more and more food retailers are proactively seeking new substances and technologies to align with their companies’ sustainability agendas, promising direct and indirect business value,” said Nina Masson, Shecco’s head of market research.

Natural refrigerant solutions rated as more desirable than HFC systems in the eyes of food retailers; with energy efficiency and performance being critical decision drivers. Respondents also saw legislation as an important driver in the decision-making process governing the purchase of new refrigeration technology.

Respondents placed natural refrigerants on par with HFC systems in terms of reliability and safety, which rated as the most important factors influencing the purchase of new refrigeration technology. Natural refrigerants were also considered to be on parity in terms of return on investment (ROI) and life-cycle costs.

“This research reflects the shift we’ve observed across the industry over the past two years,” said Thierry Jomard, president, Carrier Commercial Refrigeration, Europe. “What we’re seeing today is an intersection point between legislation on one side, and on the other side, increased acceptance of how natural refrigerant technologies can contribute towards the overarching goals of carbon footprint reduction and increased energy efficiency.”

The study also revealed a majority (51.7%) of respondents would be willing to shorten their investment cycles to promote the uptake of more environmentally-sustainable refrigeration technology. Moreover, nearly half of these respondents were willing to shorten investment cycles by more than two years to acquire the natural refrigerant technology.

“Retailers increasingly recognise natural refrigerants represent a future-proof investment in terms of legislative compliance,” Jomard said. “We’re seeing evidence now of early adopters looking even further ahead towards more holistic thinking about combining heating and cooling, using integrated system solutions to optimise overall energy management.”