In this series, RefNat4LIFE project partners give insight into their motivation to engage in sustainable RACHP. This time, we have talked to Ulrike Schaal of the German Association of Organic Processors, Wholesalers, and retailers (BNN e.V.).
Claudia Becker (HEAT GmbH): What are the main challenges for the small organic food retail sector with regard to sustainable cooling?
Ulrike Schaal (BNN, Germany): In my opinion, the biggest challenges lie in a mixture of a lack of time to deal with such issues when there is no current reason to do so and a lack of technical support. The technicians whom store owners trust often simply do not have sufficient experience and knowledge in the field of natural refrigerants. If a new store is set up, they will want to rely on a RACHP service company to choose a cooling system that is efficient, reliable, and well dimensioned. When an existing cooling system must be replaced, they need quick solutions.
Claudia: How can service companies support small store owners to switch to sustainable cooling?
Ulrike: We know that store owners, especially so in the organic food sector, want their stores to operate in an environmentally friendly way. But they do not have time to become a refrigeration expert themselves, and the small stores do not have dedicated technical managers. It would be great, if all service companies were aware of the environmental benefits of cooling and heating equipment based on natural refrigerants and could advise the store owners accordingly. This includes choosing efficient appliances based on natural refrigerants that optimally match the individual situation and needs of each store, calculating cost savings based on energy efficiency improvements, as well as ensuring regular maintenance of the appliances to achieve the best possible performance and enhance their lifetime. It turned out in the past that finding a RACHP company focusing on natural refrigerants is not always easy for store owners.
Claudia: Which policies support the switch to climate friendly heating and cooling in Germany?
Ulrike: In Germany, store owners can get funding for refrigeration systems using natural refrigerants, including plug-in appliances, and also for heat pumps using process heat (you can find the information on this programme at this website). Germany also supports efficient buildings and the use of renewable energies. Such programmes can help store owners to reduce the environmental footprint of their daily business.
Claudia: Why has the BNN become a partner in the RefNat4LIFE project?
Ulrike: Organic and the care for the environment belong together. It’s the interest of our whole sector to act environmentally friendly. This concerns not only the products which are sold by our members, but also the companies themselves. And natural cooling is one important piece within the endeavour to implement sustainability in one’s own company.
Claudia: Thank you very much!