ORLANDO, Fla. -- Use of hydrochlorofluorocarbon and hydrofluorocarbon coolant gases has jumped dramatically in existing stores since production of chlorofluorocarbon gases was banned less than a year ago.
A survey of retail and wholesale executives revealed a sharp hike in reliance on low-temperature and medium-temperature HCFCs and HFCs in existing stores. For example, HCFCs now represent nearly 60% of medium-temperature coolants now used in existing stores, up from only about 35% a year ago.
Similarly, HFCs now account for nearly 30% of low-temperature coolants in existing stores, up from under 10% a year ago. CFC use for both low- and medium-temperature systems, on the other hand, has dropped substantially, from about 65% and 55%, respectively, of coolants used in existing stores a year ago to less than 35% and 25% today.
Those were some of the findings of a survey of about 65 food-industry executives at the recent Energy and Technical Services conference here, sponsored by the Food Marketing Institute, Washington.
The poll also showed a sharp increase in the number of firms implementing refrigerant management plans. When the same survey was conducted at last year's conference, 77% of respondents said their companies had a management plan in place. This year, that percentage jumped to 94%.
While companies are moving quickly to new generation coolants, a growing percentage of respondents believe that adequate amounts of CFC will be available to meet their needs. In 1995, 54% said they expected enough CFC coolants to be available to meet their needs, while 25% said they did not know. This year, 79% said CFC availability will not be a problem and only 6% said they weren't sure.
On the crucial question of whether further regulations will be imposed on HFC coolants, 56% this year said yes, vs. 63% a year ago.
"This year's results are significant because they show people are aware or concerned with how to handle refrigerants and the use of these chemicals in remodeled and new stores," commented Bill Burdwood, manager of refrigeration for Shaw's Supermarkets, East Bridgewater, Mass. "It shows more people are paying heed to what's going on, and they are planning for the future."