Under Development - Using Glycol Systems for Warehouse Refrigeration

Spring 2012

When Toronto-based Longo’s Supermarkets set out to build a LEED-Gold certified head office and distribution center, it wanted environmentally friendly, cost-effective warehouse refrigeration.

Because the company was already using glycol systems on the retail side of the business, it picked a similar system for the new development. “We started using glycol three or four years ago in the stores and have become more and more comfortable with glycol as a refrigeration medium,” said Paul Collette, project manager, real estate and construction for Longo’s Supermarkets.

Until recently, the options for refrigerating large commercial and industrial facilities (i.e., cold storage warehouses, distribution centers and ripening facilities) have been mostly limited to ammonia-based and synthetic refrigerant systems; both have significant limitations. Code requirements on ammonia systems often call for full-time, on-site engineers, for safety and other operational reasons. Synthetic refrigeration systems require large amounts of synthetic refrigerants that are increasingly regulated and costly to install.

Longos hired Neelands Refrigeration Limited and Hill PHOENIX to install the system. Hill PHOENIX Mechanical Centers are completely self-contained, factory built and delivered to the customer pre-wired, pre-piped and pre-assembled. The “plug-and-play” format reduces installation costs when compared to more traditional systems. According to Longos, Hill PHOENIX has indepth training programs to train onsite staff and extensive field service capabilities, should a problem arise.

The system that Longos selected is the Hill PHOENIX Second Nature system. In a warehouse application, this system allows for larger but fewer evaporators/air-units compared to a similar-sized older technology direct-expansion (DX) system. This effectively reduces capital costs, as well long-term mechanical maintenance. From a design standpoint, because Second Nature employs a parallel or multi-compressor system, redundancy is built into the system. Traditional DX systems do not have such redundancies, so a single component failure can be catastrophic for the facility. The glycol systems do not leak refrigerant into the environment like the DX systems, reducing the cost and need for refrigerant. Longos said that using this type of system helps the company be a partner with the community and the environment.

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