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Commercial refrigeration good practice

Guy Hundy looks at the IOR’s collaboration with the BRA

Authoritative codes of practice and guidance notes have always been one of the strengths of the IOR, and the revisions of the safety codes spell out the detail for system designers working with all of the regularly applied refrigerants, including CO2.

The most recent to appear is the joint BRA/IOR Guide to Good Commercial Refrigeration Practice. With increasing pressure on supermarkets to improve their environmental record and ongoing developments in commercial system technology, the intention with this guide is to ensure that all designers, specifiers and purchasers of commercial systems have access to very best practice, together with reliable information.

The IOR is committed to the advancement of refrigeration and minimisation of its effects on the environment, and environmental concerns play a large role in many of our activities. A wide variety of useful technical papers from proceedings and conferences and guidance notes for service engineers can already be found using the publications search facility on our website www.ior.org.uk. Meanwhile, we are working with industry on practical steps to reduce refrigerant emissions through the RealZero project which is now at a stage where findings are being reported, and information is available on a dedicated website at www.realzero.org.uk .

The development of the revised Guide is a good example of industry working together to maximise impact. The BRA had already drafted a revision of their commercial guide a couple of years ago, and joining forces has made it possible to include the latest information on vapour injection cycles, efficient cabinet selection, and new refrigerant choices, to name just a few examples.

Knowledge bank

Drafting a joint document has allowed us to access expertise from both organisations, enabling faster production, and at the same time ensuring that users can turn to one document for their needs. The document deals with each stage in the life of a system from conception, choice of refrigerant and components, through design and installation to disposal, and priority is given to minimisation of environmental impact, bearing in mind the practicalities and cost.

The majority of commercial systems being installed today are still using conventional HFC refrigerants, and due emphasis is given to charge limitation and designing out potential leaks as well as efficiency in operation. Retrofitting of systems which are currently running with R22 is also covered in the Refrigerants section.

Commercial Carbon Dioxide systems are not yet included in the Guide because many of the requirements, practices and standards for these systems are still in development. However, it is the intention to cover this important topic as soon as possible, so that the pioneering work now being done can be translated readily into practical systems. In the meantime the IOR’s recently revised Safety Code of Practice for Carbon Dioxide provides useful technical guidance relevant to all CO2 applications.

The Guide to Good Commercial Refrigeration Practice is being published in nine separate parts, with the sections covering Training, Installation, Commissioning, Refrigerants and Retrofitting already available for download from the IOR or BRA websites, and are free of charge for members. The sections on Service and Maintenance, Waste and Decomissioning, Regulations and Standards are due to be published shortly.

Guy Hundy is past president of the IOR.