Close
 

Supermarkets in New Zealand are still using ozone-depleting gases

  • News
  • August 27, 2015
  • Sarah Dunn
Supermarkets in New Zealand are still using ozone-depleting gases

The ozone layer is a hot topic for New Zealanders and Australians as our proximity to a “hole” over Antarctica means we have relatively low ozone levels. Ozone absorbs ultraviolet radiation from the sun – our depleted levels coupled with the number of fair-skinned people in our population have lead to the highest death rate from skin cancer in the world, relatively speaking.

The release of CFCs has been controlled since the late 1980s by the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which New Zealand adopted in 1998. The Environmental Protection Authority says it is illegal to release these gases into the atmosphere - while CFCs are being phased out under the Montreal Protocol, it is not yet illegal to use them.

Countdown’s GM corporate affairs and strategy Richard Manaton says the supermarket chain has been modifying its equipment for a number of years as part of its sustainability programme, but changing laws provided the final push.

“In terms of CFC based refrigeration, we are exiting this equipment as the refrigerant gases to support them can no longer be imported into New Zealand under international convention.”

Manaton says fewer than 10 percent of its stores use CFCs in their refrigeration systems, and they will be upgraded “in the coming years.” A Countdown spokesperson anticipated that the chain would be completely free from CFC systems within the next two to three years.

Manaton says every time equipment is replaced or installed, more energy-efficient systems with more environmentally-friendly refrigerant gases are used, saying this has helped keep its carbon footprint to within 4 percent of 2006 levels despite a 33 percent increase in selling space.

According to Consumer magazine, CFC gases are no longer common in consumer appliances. These usually contain a refrigerant called R131a, which contributes to the greenhouse effect but does not damage the ozone layer. Some manufacturers instead use R600a, a flammable hydrocarbon which is more environmentally sound.

When asked by The Register about CFC gases, Foodstuffs NZ sustainability manager Mike Sammons chose not to speak about CFCs and instead volunteered information on Foodstuffs’ use of a chemically similar but less damaging group of compounds, HFCF or hydrochlorofluorocarbons. HCFCs have replaced CFCs in many applications but are also being phased out.

Sammons says HCFC-based systems are the norm in New Zealand supermarkets. By the end of this year, 12 of Foodstuffs’ 178 Kiwi supermarkets will use new carbon dioxide (CO2) based transcritical systems but 93 percent of Foodstuffs stores use either hybrid systems or ones based on HCFC technology.

Cost was formerly a factor in supermarkets sticking with older, environmentally damaging technology like CFCs and HCFCs, but Sammons says it is now about implementation issues.

“From a whole of life perspective its not so much cost, rather it’s more about suitability in terms of scale and technical issues especially if it’s part of a refurbishment.”

Sammons says environmentally sound, CO2 based transcritical refrigeration technology has only become commercially proven in the last few years, and Foodstuffs supermarkets are the first in the Southern Hemisphere to begin implementing the change to transcitical refrigeration.

“[It’s] a massive step forward, [with] the ability to reduce carbon emissions by 99 percent compared to the HCFC system.”

As more and more CO2 based systems are installed and equipment supplier technology increases, Sammons says, the perception that CO2 is only viable for large stores decreases. CO2 is now being used in domestic HVAC and Heat-pump DHW applications so is becoming more viable for all store sizes.

We asked Sammons about the positives and negatives of CO2 technology:

Pros:

  • As more and more systems are installed, component suppliers are enabling economies of scale and introducing better components and controls, as well as maximising the energy potential of operating a CO2 system
  • A transcritical system is 100 percent CO2, so only one gas is required on site and it operates on a direct expansion cycle for both LT and MT applications.
  • Typically a CO2 system has some energy saving advantages in cooler climates, combined with excellent heat recovery properties. Total store energy savings can be obtained in winter months in HVAC and year round via water heating.
  • Green image! It's non-toxic, natural and non-flammable so there are no adverse effects on the environment.
  • Its future is secure and it won't be phased out as other refrigerants have been in the past. It is the environmental choice for many refrigeration system applications.
  • High volumetric cooling capacity, so smaller piping, evaporators and compressors can be employed, however in summer months it operates at higher pressures.
  • It's a high density gas so all heat exchangers become very efficient.

Cons:

  • In summer ambient conditions the efficiency gains are reduced and, in some instances negated, compared to traditional HFC systems.
  • Special care in design needs to be made by experienced designers to avoid high energy costs, predominantly through smart control algorithms and additional control componentry. Transcritical CO2 is currently not recommended for warmer climates in the sub-tropical regions because of this.
  • Requires specific training in the maintenance of systems. Incorrect service and maintenance can lead to loss of refrigerant and wasted energy. Only use CO2 trained service technicians.
  • Operates at higher pressures so thicker wall piping and stronger components are required.  This offsets the reduction in pipe and compressor size so capital cost can be greater.
  • A subcritical system(Hybrid) still requires two gases on site with typically R134a (HFC) as the secondary gas which attracts a levy.

​ ​

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.

 
Sponsored content

Behind the music; Foley

New Zealand popsters Foley make glittering earworms that you’ve probably found yourself humming after a day out shopping. Their breakout hit Talk About It has ...

 
 

100 years later: Ford celebrates a century of brand loyalty

  • News
  • June 11, 2019
  • StopPress Team
100 years later: Ford celebrates a century of brand loyalty

Ford’s gone back in time in a new campaign to show how the brand has become embedded in Kiwi culture.

Read more
 
 

Costco plans on coming to New Zealand

  • News
  • June 11, 2019
  • Radio New Zealand
Costco plans on coming to New Zealand

Major American bulk retailer Costco is aiming to open a store in North West Auckland, creating 350 jobs.

Read more
 

Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

 
topics
Regional rollercoaster
What does retail look like in 2019 for ...
Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
Sisterhood
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...
 

Explore the June / July issue of NZ Retail

  • News
  • June 11, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Explore the June / July issue of NZ Retail

We’ve just sent the June / July issue of NZ Retail to readers. We’re continuing to innovate, rolling out a new design identity and a refreshed editorial outlook.

Read more
 
 

Queenstown to welcome in luxury car dealership

  • News
  • June 11, 2019
Queenstown to welcome in luxury car dealership

Hot on the heels of Queenstown’s growing tourism numbers, the city is now readying to welcome in its first luxury car retailer, catering to a growth in luxury international travellers and residents.

Read more
 

Retail shines at the 2019 Newmarket Business Awards

  • News
  • June 10, 2019
Retail shines at the 2019 Newmarket Business Awards

Another year has seen the celebration of some of Newmarket’s greatest businesses and individuals at the Newmarket Business Awards for 2019. This year, several retailers shone through as very deserving winners.

Read more
 
Next page
Results for
Topics
Jobs
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

Advertise
The Register

editor@theregister.co.nz

Content marketing/advertising? Email anita.hayhoe@icg.co.nz or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit

}