At Emerson Climate Technologies, we believe the three developments driving change in commercial refrigeration in 2014 are energy, refrigerants and operational visibility.

1) Energy efficiency has always been important to the bottom line of our customers. The industry is becoming more structured around energy. Federal minimums and energy benchmarks like ENERGY STAR will be increasing over the next few years. In food retail, California’s Title 24 and Emerson’s own benchmarks set new guidelines and targets for supermarkets. It’s clear customers and regulators alike remain appropriately focused on energy efficiency.

Emerson and our manufacturing partners are creating new solutions to meet these rising energy needs. (For example, our new 7–15 hp K5 Copeland Scroll platform provides a 10% reduction in energy usage costs for supermarkets and walk-ins.) Further, the benefits of capacity control are an untapped opportunity in refrigeration, so across the range we’re filling in the digital modulation options for every market.

2) Regulations are driving the continuing move toward low-GWP refrigerants, but the timelines established by the Montreal Protocol are long, and many customers are focusing on shorter-term voluntary solutions.

We have created a wide range of HFC and low-GWP options, and as the market begins to focus more on natural refrigerants, Emerson is introducing one of the industry’s broadest portfolios of products and solutions to operate and manage CO2 systems.

This will continue to be an evolutionary process. These are the next steps, but not the last steps. As technologies improve and new applications and system designs continue to emerge, the sheer number of refrigerant replacements and alternatives has become daunting to customers and contractors. We are working to bring great clarity to the options, and help customers make sense of capital investments, safety, and technology risks and benefits. Further, Emerson Climate, through its Underwriters Laboratories (UL) approved test lab — Design Services Network — is able to assist manufacturers with design, development, and testing for newly approved refrigerants.

3) Three trends in the refrigeration industry are now converging: Our customers’ need for real information — not just “data," simplifying life for our over-taxed contractor workforce, and the growing capabilities of our electronics.

The complex refrigeration industry has become even more complex, if that were possible. Today, Emerson Climate is working to help contractors, end users, and manufacturers “make sense” of it all in an objective way through a variety of webinars, presentations to industry groups, our Climate Conversations blog and other educational initiatives.

Don Newlon is vice president, marketing and general manager for the integrated product division of Emerson Climate Technologies.