Energy Trust helps leading organic wholesaler to save energy with ammonia refrigeration

By Sabine Lobnig, Feb 29, 2012, 12:25 2 minute reading

In February 2012 Organically Grown Company, the largest wholesaler of organic produce in the US Pacific Northwest, partnered with the Energy Trust of Oregon, to implement energy efficiency measures, including an ammonia refrigeration system. The new system will be installed in a 119,000 square-foot (11,055 m2) industrial space in Gresham.

The leased Gresham facility will triple the distributor’s storage capacity for the Portland area and will be overhauled by the Group Mackenzie. In addition to the installation of a state of the art ammonia refrigeration system other energy efficient measures such as “smart” lighting and real-time energy monitoring systems will be installed. Organically Grown Company will also pursue LEED Gold certification.
Ammonia refrigeration system key LEED Gold feature
The ammonia refrigeration system is an important feature in Organically Grown Company’s bid for LEED certification. The system offers multiple advantages over common refrigerants. In addition to not contributing to the depletion of the ozone layer or to global warming, ammonia has superior thermodynamic qualities and uses less electricity, helping to maximise energy efficiency. Ammonia is also a top priority for the EPA “GreenChill” Commercial Refrigeration Program, which aims to help food retailers reduce the impact of refrigeration.
Oregon Energy Trust cash incentives for energy efficient cooling
Cold storage facilities use a large amount of energy to cool large, open spaces. Thanks to the cash incentives offered by the Oregon Energy Trust, cold store owners and managers and companies like Organically Grown can offset rising energy costs by investing in energy saving projects. The cash incentives are offered for the installation of energy efficient equipment, such as ammonia refrigeration systems.
To be eligible for the cash incentives operators must:
  • Be served by Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NW Natural or Cascade Natural Gas and contribute to the public purpose charge;
  • Have a project site in Oregon;
  • Large electric consumers of more than one average megawatt or 8,760,000 kilowatt hours a year are subject to the Energy Trust Self-Direct Policy. Program services are limited and restrictions apply to self-directing consumers. 
Tips for saving energy from refrigeration systems
To reduce the energy consumption of refrigeration system, the Oregon Trust recommends the following:
  • Increase compressor suction temperature by 1°F (-17.2°C) to save up to 2 percent on energy costs;
  • Decrease the saturated condensing temperature by 1°F  (-17.2°C) to save up to 1.5 percent on energy costs;
  • Install occupancy sensors on lighting in refrigerated areas to save on lighting costs and also reduce refrigeration costs by lowering heat gain from the lights.


By Sabine Lobnig

Feb 29, 2012, 12:25

Related stories

Sign up to our Newsletter

Fill in the details below