Decrease Energy Consumption by up to 33% in Commercial Applications by Transitioning to a Variable Speed Compressor

And five other reasons why transitioning to a VSC today is a smart business decision for contractors and their retail clients, regardless of which way regulatory winds may blow tomorrow.

As we’ve seen in the past year, the environments and industry consensus surrounding HVACR can change quickly as political winds shift, leaving contractors and their commercial clients burdened with wide-ranging uncertainty on how to best solve refrigeration needs – both in the immediate future and down the road.

As we wait to see how SNAP and other policies play out, here’s one thing we can all agree on: No one wants to build their business plans on a foundation of uncertainty.

Regardless of how the legislation impacts the industry, the motivation to upgrade refrigeration products can often transcend government mandated requirements and be driven by a company’s brand DNA or financial considerations.

Aside from the legal precedents and financial considerations, many of today’s businesses have the desire to lower energy consumption and reduce their direct impact on climate change.

In fact, more than 25% of the U.S. light commercial refrigeration market has made the switch to R-290 and more than half a million R-290 compressors are in the US Market today because of all the environmental, and just as importantly, financial benefits of making the switch.

While phasing out and upgrading legacy cooling systems with more efficient solutions can levy a significant upfront financial requirement, the right combination of HC refrigerants and a variable speed compressor can have an even more significant ROI and can pay for itself in as little as six months

By transitioning their current refrigeration systems to a system like Embraco’s Fullmotion variable speed compressor (VSC) line paired with R-290 natural refrigerant, food retailers combine high energy efficiency, better temperature stability and food preservation, low maintenance costs and space optimization. Let’s take a deeper dive into six end-user benefits that business owners experience when switching from traditional on/off compressors to VSCs:

1. Quicker ROI Through Realized Energy Savings

a. Embraco Fullmotion variable speed technology can pay for itself in the first six-to-twelve months of use. Here’s how:

i. When applied to vertical freezer equipment, Embraco VSC can pay for itself in six months by reaching target temperature up to 70% faster than a fixed speed model with HC refrigerant, while saving up to 33% energy consumption.

ii. Transitioning a frozen island from fixed speed compressors and R-404A refrigerant to a combination of VSC and R-290 results in energy savings of 30%. This decrease in energy usage generates a payoff of the initial investment of the switch in less than 12 months.

2. Ongoing Savings After Initial Investment Payoff

a. In addition to initial ROI benefits, the ongoing energy savings will extend through the life of the product, freeing up more money for business owners to invest in more new refrigeration solutions.

3. Product of Life Extension 

a. Variable speed compressors start at a lower speed and ramp up over a few minutes. This “soft start” dramatically reduces the starting currents of the motor, reducing stress and extending the machine’s lifespan and helping to ensure businesses operate smoothly.

4. Increased Reliability

a. VSC systems don’t use start relays, start capacitors and/or run capacitors, which are items that can fail in the field from simple wear and tear, putting business owners at risk of suffering immediate financial losses and long-term damage to their customer relationships.

5. Faster Pull Down

a. Freezers that utilize VSC’s recover much faster from the higher temperature delta between product temperatures and ambient temperatures, reducing the time the system spends removing the heat infiltration, and minimizing pull down time and decreasing the time it takes for the system to recover from door openings and defrosts. A VSC compressor can reach target temperature in 70% of the time of a single-speed compressor.

6. Significant Noise Reduction

a. This one is pretty-straight forward. No one wants a loud compressor.  By operating at a lower speed during the stability cycles, there is less potential noise being generated by the compressor and the lower mass flow of R-290 has reduced pulsations in the system, decreasing the overall sound levels.

At the end of the day, store owners should do what makes the most financial sense for their business and look to invest in more sustainable and flexible cooling solutions that save them money by decreasing energy consumption and increasing product lifespan and reliability. 

The rationale for contractors to recommend their clients transition to a combination of HC VSC combinations is two-fold: 

  • The better business health that your clients are in, the more operational cash flow they’ll be able to allocate towards continued investment towards innovative cooling solutions, helping to future-proof both your businesses.

  • You’ll create a bond with your clients and earn their trust by demonstrating that you have the best interest – both short term and long – of their business in mind when recommending refrigeration solutions. 

Embraco eases the burden on contractors by developing innovative, energy-efficient cooling solutions, like our line of Fullmotion Technology VSC lineup, that solve immediate and future needs. The benefits of saving money and limiting environmental impact ensure that retailers can maintain solid business footing regardless of uncertainty in future regulatory requirements.

About the Author

John Prall serves as a Technical Support Engineer at Embraco North America. His responsibilities include providing engineering technical support for commercial and aftermarket customers, including assisting customers in selection and application of hermetic compressors. He also trains customers on compressor technology and market trends through customer visits, trade show presentations and webinar activities. 

Prall has more than 15 years of experience in the commercial refrigeration industry.  Prior to his role at Embraco, he held several roles ranging from engineering to product management at a leading food retail equipment manufacturer. He studied at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.

John Prall


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