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Structural’s food display reaches up to 53% energy savings with Embraco R290 variable-speed condensing units


The result is part of a case study presented at the ATMOsphere 

America Summit by the two brands 

June 11, 2024 – Embraco, a global provider of refrigeration technology and a Nidec Global Appliance portfolio brand, in partnership with  Structural Concepts, a manufacturer of temperature-controlled display cases, presented a compelling case study at the ATMOsphere America Summit 2024. The case study described the migration of Structural Concepts’ entire product portfolio to natural refrigerant R290 and variable-speed technology, achieving up to 53% energy savings.

In this collaboration, Structural Concepts transitioned its portfolio of refrigerated food displays, going from fixed-speed compressors using HFO refrigerants (R449A and R513A) to Embraco UFMFT condensing units equipped with dual voltage variable-speed compressors, using R290 natural refrigerant. For the case study, the two companies monitored the migration behavior in two applications to compare with the previous configuration: a small food display using a single compressor and a larger capacity display using two compressors. 

The first one, an under-counter application, with one refrigeration circuit using less than 150 grams of R290, achieved 53% savings in energy consumption and a 55% reduction in Total Equivalent Warming Impact (TEWI). In its turn, the second application, an upright grab-and-go display case, with 2 refrigeration circuits (each with less than 150 grams of R290),  delivered an 11% drop in energy consumption and a 17% decrease in TEWI. Additionally, a third set of testing was carried out with a 1,20 x 2,40 meters (4×8 feet) horizontal display case, designed with two refrigeration circuits, with R290 and variable speed compressors, operating independently. After installing the new recently launched Embraco Sync Controller, designed to manage multiple refrigeration circuits together, it resulted in a 12% energy saving

“The Embraco Sync is one of the solutions that compose the Sync it All portfolio, along with the Embraco AIR fan, the YouControl development interface, and Embraco variable-speed compressors. The test demonstrated the effectiveness of the new controller in enhancing energy efficiency and temperature stability, for being a component developed specifically to work in synchrony with two Embraco variable-speed compressors”, explains Johari Gregorio, Nidec Global Appliance’s Application Engineer for the North America region. 

This migration also positively impacted Structural’s manufacturing process, because it reduced the complexity of their compressors inventory. “From 38 different compressor models (due to the need for different refrigerants and voltages), we now will count on just two Embraco condensing unit models, equipped with dual voltage R290 variable-speed compressors, that can serve our whole range of refrigerated merchandisers”, explains Rob Dody, Structural’s Senior Engineering Manager.

“The UFMFT model has a reduced size, around 25 centimeters tall (10 inches), which means it fits in all cabinets, allowing more space for the products in the display. Additionally, it has a drain pan designed with pipes, which connects to multiple drain pans and equalizes the condensate water among them, resulting in a relevant water holding capacity, around 4,9 liters (1.3 gallons) each drain pan”, adds Gregorio. 

The transition also ensured compliance with upcoming regulatory standards. With the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) limiting the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of commercial food refrigeration equipment to 150, starting January 2025, the shift to R290 allows Structural Concepts to comply with these regulations already in 2024. The energy efficiency of these solutions also prepares for future Department of Energy regulations. Besides that, there is the gain of decarbonization. The overall portfolio migration is estimated to reduce Structural’s TEWI by 33% on average, significantly lowering CO2 emissions.

“Migrating to variable-speed technology and natural refrigerant has enabled Structural to offer more efficient and environmentally sustainable products, aligned with customer expectations and market demands”, celebrates Dody.

“Refrigeration equipment manufacturers for food retail such as Structural can greatly benefit from buying the complete condensing unit ready to install into their applications, instead of buying and assembling multiple parts. Because it saves them time and effort and allows them to focus on their core business, the customized food display”, says Gregorio. 

Media Contacts


Deise Roza
[email protected]

Thais Cristina da Rocha
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