Commercial Refrigeration Specification Program

This page last reviewed May 1, 2014

Commercial refrigeration

§ ICF International has completed a study that analyzes the cost and benefits of reducing energy usage and refrigerant leaks from supermarkets in California. Greenhouse Gas Performance Analysis for Commercial Buildings with Large Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Systems. Final Report, May 2012 (3.1 MB)

As part of the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) the ARB approved an early action measure to reduce high-global warming potential (GWP) direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from refrigerant leaks, and to reduce indirect GHG emissions from energy use of commercial refrigeration systems.

GHG emission reduction measures for supermarkets have been proposed for the 2013 revisions to the California Title 24 Building Standards for Part 6 (Energy Conservation), and in Part 11 (California Green Building Code). The California Energy Commission (CEC) is the lead agency for energy conservation measures, and the California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) is the lead agency for the Green Building Code.

The supermarket energy reduction and leak reduction measures can be viewed at the CEC website.

A CARB-sponsored research project on how to cost-effectively reduce direct and indirect emissions from supermarkets was completed in May 2012. Main findings include:

  • Energy conservation measures and refrigerant leak reduction measures can be cost-effectively incorporated into new supermarket design and construction in California, saving an average of $15,000 to $74,000 per year for each supermarket (depending upon supermarket size), in energy and refrigerant costs (the cost savings occur despite a slightly higher initial cost of construction).
  • GHG reductions (above business-as-usual) are estimated at 0.5 million metric tonne carbon dioxide equivalents (MMTCO2E) annually by 2020, increasing to 1.2 MMTCO2E annually by 2028 as all supermarkets in operation incorporate the reduction measures.

The California Energy Commission is currently reviewing the energy conservation measures for inclusion into Title 24, Part 6 (Building Energy Efficiency Standards), and the refrigerant leak reduction measures are under review for adoption by the California Building Standards Commission for adoption into the 2013 revisions to Title 24, Part 11 (California Green Building Standards Code). The reduction measures apply to new supermarkets and new supermarket refrigeration systems constructed or installed beginning January 2014.

The Final Report of the research project is also available.

For additional information, please contact: 

Glenn Gallagher staff lead (916) 327-8041
Pamela Gupta Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategy Section Manager (916) 327-0604