Energy Star Facilitator Embraces NatRefs

SESCO, which has helped U.S. supermarkets get more than 1,000 EPA Energy Star Certifications for HVAC, has joined NASRC to further its work with natural refrigerants.

Jeff Ollis of Sesco

Supermarket Environmental Services Co. (SESCO) has helped more supermarkets qualify for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star recognition than any other U.S. company, leading to more than 1,000 certifications for HVAC systems.

That accomplishment was cited by the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC), a nonprofit promoting natural refrigerants in the grocery sector, when SESCO joined the group as a silver member last December.

Based in Kernersville, North Carolina (U.S.) SESCO uses an integrated approach to HVAC, consisting of customized design, equipment procurement, supervised installation, and control system optimization. “We work with owners to provide HVAC systems designed specifically for the unique needs of supermarkets,” said Jeff Ollis, Corporate Special Projects Engineer at SESCO, in an interview with Accelerate Magazine.

SESCO joined NASRC “to stay close to the issues that drive our industry and that are important to our customers,” said Ollis.

Working with low-GWP technology is already part of the job. SESCO has “done several HVAC systems that interface with natural refrigerant [refrigeration] systems for heat reclaim,” said Ollis.

HVAC systems themselves generally use HFCs, though progress is being made globally in developing propane (R290)-based AC equipment along with chillers that employ R290, CO2 and ammonia.

More than 3,000 projects

Over the past 20 years, SESCO has completed more than 3,000 super-market projects, according to its website ( With careful design, the company engineers energy savings and reduced demand for cooling. “For one client, our approach resulted in 40% less connected horse-power for fans and 38% less cooling tons,” Ollis said. “For another we provided a 50% horsepower reduction and improved the store environment.”

“Those are significant savings in first cost, lifetime operating energy, and maintenance costs,” he noted. “It is also a significant reduction in HFC refrigerants at the facility.”

Food retailers often see paybacks in the “five-year range,” Ollis said. “However, very often there are factors that deliver positive cash flow from the day one.”

Planning helps maximize efficiency, but afterwards, SESCO continues to oversee installation and commissioning.

“We provide the equipment and controls for installation, and follow through with commissioning of the systems to ensure proper performance,” noted Ollis.

Finally, SESCO ensures the systems work now and in future. “We also work with the owner’s team for training and control system optimization,” said Ollis.

Summarizing SESCO’s “Build, Own, Operate, and Maintain (BOOM)” approach, Ollis said that “by analyzing the facility needs of the various departments, we then design the HVAC system as a whole, paying attention to how the different departments influence each other.”

“For SESCO and our clients, sustainable systems mean more than unit efficiency,” he added. “It means systems that can be maintained so they can have high perfor-mance throughout the operating life.”

This article original appeared in the July 2020 edition of Accelerate Magazine.

By Nicholas Cooper

Jul 03, 2020, 11:22

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