• Steve Jackson

Industrial Refrigeration Systems and LED Lighting: The Benefits of Reduced Load Shedding

Updated: Dec 6, 2020

There is a failure of vision in industrial refrigeration engineering today. Tried and true concepts that have been ‘good enough’ for decades are past the point of simply being outdated. These standard approaches to refrigeration are now actively costing businesses who rely on cold storage their cold hard cash. Current engineering practices result in wasted energy and resources, and thousands of hours of unneeded maintenance time. And, they are unnecessarily polluting the environment.

PermaCold Engineering is aiming to change that. Both on behalf of our customers, and to lead the way for the industry at large, we are pursuing an effective new approach that employs the latest technologies and a unique perspective on engineering industrial-level refrigeration systems.

Doubtless, most customers will first focus on the fact that this new approach can add hundreds of thousands annually to their bottom lines. But at the same time, it is also vital in terms of environmental stewardship. PermaCold is leading the way and forging a new path in our industry, but the writing is on the wall. Our business will have to change its old ways of engineering refrigeration, either from customer demand or government regulations. Likely both.

The Engineering Opportunity

PermaCold Engineering was founded on the premise that standard industrial refrigeration systems were too often not properly analyzed and engineered to account for the unique facility needs, construction aspects, and local climate conditions. PermaCold’s original slogan was “refrigeration is an engineered product,” and that concept is more valid than ever. Recently, that mindset has led us to reimagine our entire approach to developing industrial refrigeration systems. The outcomes, the benefits to our customers, and the potential to change our industry as a result, are both groundbreaking and exciting.

What Is This New Approach?

PermaCold’s innovation in improving refrigeration systems – making them more efficient, sustainable and cost-effective – involves multiple factors. One is simply leveraging and utilizing to full effect the modern parts, components and refrigerants that have become available in recent years. But the key has been changing how our engineers fundamentally think about designing these systems.

Rather than viewing our job as designing and installing systems to refrigerate an industrial space, we realized it is more accurately about removing heat from the building to cool it. Taking this approach means we suddenly are considering factors such as unnecessary horsepower for the project’s size, or external climate. We’re looking at more streamlined systems that require less refrigerant, less piping to carry it, and less time to maintain it. But the focus to this new approach PermaCold is introducing hinges on one key, system-wide concept: “load shedding.”

Load shedding is term we’ve coined that boils down to this: if the actual focus for our job is removing heat from a building, then any factor that contributes heat to the system needs to be considered. That is, any element that sheds its energy load into my refrigerated space must be factored in. AND, it needs to not just be accounted for but addressed in the engineering phase to produce plans for a system that is exactly what the facility needs. No more, no less.

In essence, accounting for load shedding is the very heart of this new approach to industrial refrigeration engineering, because any added heat impacts the dynamics of the entire system. More load shedding means you need a larger and thus more expensive system, more chemicals, more time to maintain it, and more sewage waste and electricity to operate it.

So of course, the refrigeration equipment is in itself a load shedding factor, and thus designing more accurately engineered systems to meet specific facility needs is self-evident. Other factors can include building insulation, and more. But the single most significant factor, by far, that we have identified to reduce load shedding is lighting. Yes, lighting.

Lighting as a Load Shedding Factor (and the LED solution)

Older facility lighting – halogens, typically – put out a tremendous amount of energy. And because they are slow to warm up to full illumination, especially in the cold, they are almost always on 24/7, year after year. The load shedding, and the energy expense to run them, is enormous. So, PermaCold’s new approach is actually including lighting as a key component of our comprehensive engineering solutions. The results, and even better, the cost savings for our customers, have been significant.

Modern, industrial-grade LED lighting systems are helping revolutionize the performance and efficiency of our refrigeration systems. They emit just 90% of the heat of traditional warehouse or production facility bulbs, for the same amount of light. That also directly equates to energy use – they use 90% less electricity, but the reduced load shedding from LED’s goes even beyond that.

Because they instantly fire up to full illumination, they can be on only when the facility is in use. Whether turned on by motion-sensors, timers, or manually, having the LED’s operate only when staff actually need them further reduces the load shedding and our need to account for that in our system design. Even better, LED’s last many thousands of hours longer than halogens or fluorescents, won’t shatter, and lose little to no illumination power. So, add ongoing replacement cost savings and maintenance time (and safety) into the benefits column as well.

The Benefits to Our Customers – Bottom Line Savings

This new approach is far more environmentally responsible – no small accomplishment in itself. And all without sacrificing any reliability, performance or durability of the refrigeration system. But for PermaCold customers, once they see the bottom line savings, it becomes a no-brainer. Because not only are our systems more efficiently designed, the power savings from reduced load shedding (in particular lighting) are enormous.

When state of the art LED lighting is installed in conjunction with our streamlined and planet-friendly refrigeration systems, the combined effect doesn’t just pay for itself, it actually contributes to the bottom line, day after day, year after year. Even better, energy trusts, grants and other government subsidies and incentives usually defray a majority of the costs of the LED system components. Essentially, when engineered with our refrigeration systems, the LED lighting system costs nearly nothing – and the remaining capital costs are paid for within months from the power savings themselves.

Saving Money While Saving the Planet

The benefits of this new approach are obvious. The engineering advantages are terrific, and so are the cost savings. We are also proud of the positive effects this has for our planet: reduced requirements for how much chemical refrigerant is needed (coupled with our company shift toward non-toxic refrigerants like CO2), less use of materials of every type from steel to insulation, reduced water use and sewage waste, and of course a massively smaller electricity carbon footprint.

PermaCold is confident that our focus on sustainability will not only make a positive impact on the planet, it will produce long-term sales benefits and growth for our company, and eventually the industry at large.There is a failure of vision in industrial refrigeration engineering today. Tried and true concepts that have been ‘good enough’ for decades are past the point of simply being outdated. These standard approaches to refrigeration are now actively costing businesses who rely on cold storage their cold hard cash. Current engineering practices result in wasted energy and resources, and thousands of hours of unneeded maintenance time. And, they are unnecessarily polluting the environment.

PermaCold Engineering is aiming to change that. Both on behalf of our customers, and to lead the way for the industry at large, we are pursuing an effective new approach that employs the latest technologies and a unique perspective on engineering industrial-level refrigeration systems.

Doubtless, most customers will first focus on the fact that this new approach can add hundreds of thousands annually to their bottom lines. But at the same time, it is also vital in terms of environmental stewardship. PermaCold is leading the way and forging a new path in our industry, but the writing is on the wall. Our business will have to change its old ways of engineering refrigeration, either from customer demand or government regulations. Likely both.

The Engineering Opportunity

PermaCold Engineering was founded on the premise that standard industrial refrigeration systems were too often not properly analyzed and engineered to account for the unique facility needs, construction aspects, and local climate conditions. PermaCold’s original slogan was “refrigeration is an engineered product,” and that concept is more valid than ever. Recently, that mindset has led us to reimagine our entire approach to developing industrial refrigeration systems. The outcomes, the benefits to our customers, and the potential to change our industry as a result, are both groundbreaking and exciting.

What Is This New Approach?

PermaCold’s innovation in improving refrigeration systems – making them more efficient, sustainable and cost-effective – involves multiple factors. One is simply leveraging and utilizing to full effect the modern parts, components and refrigerants that have become available in recent years. But the key has been changing how our engineers fundamentally think about designing these systems.

Rather than viewing our job as designing and installing systems to refrigerate an industrial space, we realized it is more accurately about removing heat from the building to cool it. Taking this approach means we suddenly are considering factors such as unnecessary horsepower for the project’s size, or external climate. We’re looking at more streamlined systems that require less refrigerant, less piping to carry it, and less time to maintain it. But the focus to this new approach PermaCold is introducing hinges on one key, system-wide concept: “load shedding.”

Load shedding is term we’ve coined that boils down to this: if the actual focus for our job is removing heat from a building, then any factor that contributes heat to the system needs to be considered. That is, any element that sheds its energy load into my refrigerated space must be factored in. AND, it needs to not just be accounted for but addressed in the engineering phase to produce plans for a system that is exactly what the facility needs. No more, no less.

In essence, accounting for load shedding is the very heart of this new approach to industrial refrigeration engineering, because any added heat impacts the dynamics of the entire system. More load shedding means you need a larger and thus more expensive system, more chemicals, more time to maintain it, and more sewage waste and electricity to operate it.

So of course, the refrigeration equipment is in itself a load shedding factor, and thus designing more accurately engineered systems to meet specific facility needs is self-evident. Other factors can include building insulation, and more. But the single most significant factor, by far, that we have identified to reduce load shedding is lighting. Yes, lighting.

Lighting as a Load Shedding Factor (and the LED solution)

Older facility lighting – halogens, typically – put out a tremendous amount of energy. And because they are slow to warm up to full illumination, especially in the cold, they are almost always on 24/7, year after year. The load shedding, and the energy expense to run them, is enormous. So, PermaCold’s new approach is actually including lighting as a key component of our comprehensive engineering solutions. The results, and even better, the cost savings for our customers, have been significant.

Modern, industrial-grade LED lighting systems are helping revolutionize the performance and efficiency of our refrigeration systems. They emit just 90% of the heat of traditional warehouse or production facility bulbs, for the same amount of light. That also directly equates to energy use – they use 90% less electricity, but the reduced load shedding from LED’s goes even beyond that.

Because they instantly fire up to full illumination, they can be on only when the facility is in use. Whether turned on by motion-sensors, timers, or manually, having the LED’s operate only when staff actually need them further reduces the load shedding and our need to account for that in our system design. Even better, LED’s last many thousands of hours longer than halogens or fluorescents, won’t shatter, and lose little to no illumination power. So, add ongoing replacement cost savings and maintenance time (and safety) into the benefits column as well.

The Benefits to Our Customers – Bottom Line Savings

This new approach is far more environmentally responsible – no small accomplishment in itself. And all without sacrificing any reliability, performance or durability of the refrigeration system. But for PermaCold customers, once they see the bottom line savings, it becomes a no-brainer. Because not only are our systems more efficiently designed, the power savings from reduced load shedding (in particular lighting) are enormous.

When state of the art LED lighting is installed in conjunction with our streamlined and planet-friendly refrigeration systems, the combined effect doesn’t just pay for itself, it actually contributes to the bottom line, day after day, year after year. Even better, energy trusts, grants and other government subsidies and incentives usually defray a majority of the costs of the LED system components. Essentially, when engineered with our refrigeration systems, the LED lighting system costs nearly nothing – and the remaining capital costs are paid for within months from the power savings themselves.

Saving Money While Saving the Planet

The benefits of this new approach are obvious. The engineering advantages are terrific, and so are the cost savings. We are also proud of the positive effects this has for our planet: reduced requirements for how much chemical refrigerant is needed (coupled with our company shift toward non-toxic refrigerants like CO2), less use of materials of every type from steel to insulation, reduced water use and sewage waste, and of course a massively smaller electricity carbon footprint.

PermaCold is confident that our focus on sustainability will not only make a positive impact on the planet, it will produce long-term sales benefits and growth for our company, and eventually the industry at large.

_______________________

PermaCold Engineering, Inc. is an award-winning industrial refrigeration engineering and installation firm, founded in 1993 in Portland, OR. PermaCold is recognized for its expertise in designing systems for optimum efficiency, dependability and value, and provides customers with preventative maintenance and repairs, retrofitting services, consulting on efficiency and regulatory compliance, and more. PermaCold focuses on engineering energy-efficient, environmentally safe systems and is the industry leader in green industrial refrigeration. It is committed to pursuing the latest technologies and embodying its slogan of “Our Planet – Our Responsibility.” For more information on PermaCold visit our website at www.PermaCold.com

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