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Workshop supports California supermarket HFC transition

USA: A workshop has been arranged to help California’s supermarket industry prepare for the state’s prohibitions on high global warming potential HFC refrigerants.

On July 18, green group the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC) and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) will host an educational workshop to help the supermarket industry prepare for California’s refrigerant regulations.

Expert presenters will share insights on commercial refrigeration market trends, the latest technology solutions, and strategies to optimise energy efficiency in the context of new regulatory requirements.

The workshop will bring together stakeholders from the commercial refrigeration, government, and utility sectors to discuss goals, define challenges, and identify solutions that meet the needs of supermarkets, comply with regulations, and increase energy savings.

The California Cooling Act affects new and retrofit equipment. Manufacturers cannot sell equipment using prohibited refrigerants that are manufactured after January 1, 2019. It is based on the vacated US EPA SNAP Rule 20 and 21, with the exception of motor vehicle air-conditioning. It prohibits high GWP HFC refrigerants, such as R404A and R507A, in supermarket systems, condensing units, and self-contained units.

“This workshop will provide a platform to align the goals of various stakeholders and develop actionable solutions to the challenges faced by each group,” said Danielle Wright executive director of NASRC. “Bringing all stakeholders to the table is key to overcoming barriers to natural refrigerant adoption and making measurable industry progress.”

For California supermarkets and grocery stores, the transition to low-GWP refrigerants is anything but easy in both new and existing stores. Natural refrigerants, including CO2, hydrocarbons, and ammonia, are technically viable and “future-proof” solutions to all existing refrigerant regulations, but these new technologies often come at an upfront cost premium when compared to traditional refrigeration technologies. Furthermore, it can be difficult to assess the return on investment as the ongoing costs of maintenance and operations can also be higher for natural refrigerant-based technologies.

The state has acknowledged the cost premiums associated with adopting low-GWP refrigerant technologies as well as the need for funding to support supermarkets as they transition. The California Cooling Act also established an incentive programme to help offset the cost premiums associated with low-GWP refrigerant technologies. However, NASRC reveals that despite broad support from the supermarket community, the incentive program went unfunded in the state’s proposed 2019-20 budget. “Without financial support, supermarkets will continue to face uncertainty around how to fund this transition,” it says. 

The workshop is sponsored by Climate Pros, AHT Cooling Systems USA, Hillphoenix, and Bitzer US. Attendees will include supermarket retailers, service contractors, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, government agencies, utilities, engineering & design firms, consultants, NGOs, and other stakeholders. For more information visit:

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