Hillphoenix has facilitated the installation of over 50 CO2 systems at supermarkets across the United States and suggests that it is only when retailers understand the ROI of a CO2 system that it will be possible to understand the amount of time and money that can be saved thanks to R744. Coming to terms with the ROI allows retailers to make strategic, forward-thinking decisions that not only meet today’s challenges but also help future-proof their business. 

ROI of a CO2 system

According to the Hillphoenix “DeCO2ded” white paper, a supermarket that replaces its traditional refrigeration system with a 100% CO2 system will over time save money, when taking into consideration the costs of the following variables: refrigerant, energy, equipment, systems installation, system maintenance and performance and regulation.

Offering real world calculations on CO2 systems currently in operation in three U.S. supermarkets, the cost/ benefit analysis in the white paper shows a positive return on investment across different size CO2 projects due to:

  • Reduced refrigerant costs: a store needs a start-up charge of 2,000 pounds (907kg) of refrigerant. Whilst an HFC-based refrigerant such as HFC R404A will cost $6 per pound (€5.65 per 0.45kg), CO2 refrigerant comes at only $1 per pound (€0.94 per 0.45kg). It can then be estimated therefore that CO2 will enable $10,000 (€9,424) to be saved.  
  • Reduced electrical installation costs: electrical installation generally costs less for a CO2 system than for a traditional HFC system due to the fact that with CO2 systems, a retailer will only need a single-point connection as it uses a case controller for lights, anti-sweats, fans, defrosters and sensors, in contrast to HFC systems that require additional wiring and control boxes. Installation costs can be reduced by 12-18 % with a CO2 installation.
  • Reduced maintenance and performance-related costs: these are diminished as case controllers and electronic expansion valves in a CO2 system control case temperature and superheat automatically. 
  • Reduced energy costs: According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a 50,000-ft2 (4645.2m2) supermarket spends more than $100,000 (€94,244) per year on refrigeration. Given that CO2 is generally more efficient than traditional commercial refrigeration systems, especially in cooler climates, end users can save 5-18 % in energy costs, depending on location and power source. 
  • Avoided retrofit costs: A CO2 system eliminates the need for refrigerant retrofits and ensures compliance with current and future regulations related to HFCs. 

An additional point made in the white paper is that although CO2 equipment may be more expensive now, costs will decrease as more end users adopt the technology.

Sprouts Farmers Market sees breakthrough in warm-climate CO2 system 

In July 2014, Sprouts made their commitment to responsible retailing clear when they installed their first HFC-free refrigeration system in Georgia. Thanks to Hillphoenix, the southern most CO2-based Advansor transcritical booster system was installed.   

The chain has long recognised that CO2 based systems represent one of the cleanest and most environmentally friendly HFC-free options for commercial refrigeration. However, a major concern has been whether a CO2 based, air-cooled system would be able to operate efficiently in locations where temperatures often are consistently above 25°C. What was proven by the Georgia installation is that the CO2 system is more secure and also enables the shop to operate more sustainably – thus improving corporate social responsibility.  

About Hillphoenix

Hillphoenix Inc., a Dover Company based in Conyers, Georgia, designs and manufactures commercial and industrial refrigeration systems and integrated power systems, commercial refrigerated display cases, specialty products and walk-in coolers and freezers. Hillphoenix is a leading American manufacturer of CO2 equipment.