Before improvements to the Greenhouse & Energy Minimum Standards (GEMS) for commercial refrigeration were postponed on the eve of its implementation, SKOPE Refrigeration was almost alone in having registered so many of its products.
In fact, SKOPE equipment accounted for more than 30% of all the refrigerated cabinets in the public GEMS database when the improvements were deferred on August 6 (a week before the manufacturer compliance deadline).
This stood in stark contrast to the rest of the market, from which only a small portion of models from other local manufacturers and importers were registered before the original deadline.
It's difficult to argue with the reasons for the postponement to May 2021, given the struggles facing businesses in 2020.
However, just like COVID-19, the problems the GEMS update addresses remain significant and compelling.
According to the International Institute of Refrigeration, commercial refrigeration is responsible for almost 8% of all global warming emissions.
This is still being driven by the use of synthetic refrigerants that can be thousands of times more detrimental to the environment than carbon dioxide.
To give you an idea, R404A, a commonly used synthetic refrigerant, has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 3922 - making it 3922 times more damaging to the environment than CO2.
That's why we committed a long time ago to make as many of our products as possible using R290 Hydrocarbon, a natural refrigerant with a GWP of just 3. Our leading models in display and food storage both use R290, while we're launching an expanded R290 range shortly for other types of refrigeration and will soon be welcoming a host of R290 ice machines from our global partner ITV Ice Makers.
Yet, the improvements to GEMS aren't just about mitigating global warming impact in a socially responsible way.
Alongside the environmental impact of using poor-performing, out-dated refrigeration is the impact it has on your power bills.
Many businesses of varying sizes - from small cafes struggling with tight margins to large beverage brands that hire out fleets of display cabinets - are paying out excessive operational costs on their refrigeration.
That's money they could be using elsewhere to shore up their businesses, and it's no drop in the ocean either. The average convenience store in the United States is thought to spend about 55-70% of their power bill on commercial refrigeration.
They do this because poor-performing, out-dated refrigeration comes at a cheap capital cost while the operational costs (like energy efficiency, and maintenance and repair costs) can be difficult to grasp. This is partly why we developed the free SKOPE-connect app, to help shed light on how fridges use power and what you can do to minimize your bills.
When the US Environmental Protection Agency surveyed supermarket executives and decision-makers on why they didn't choose energy efficient refrigeration in 2015, the biggest factor they identified was "imperfect information and anxiety about performance".
In other words, they remained skeptical to the actual OPEX performance of new technology because there was little third-party validation of what they would get in return for their investment.
But the public GEMS database is that third-party validation.
And that's why it is so important.
For the first time, anyone can transparently look at the performance of all the refrigeration that meets the minimum standards, and make better decisions that will lower the OPEX costs and help mitigate their business's impact on global warming.
It is a great shame from our point of view that the public GEMS database will now not be entirely complete until May 2021, but gradually over the next eight months more manufacturers will follow SKOPE's lead and begin the same process of registering their product that we've now completed.
Then businesses will truly have an independent resource that will give them the peace of mind to invest in energy efficiency and environmental performance.
In the meantime, we're advising all our customers to stay informed, seek expert advice, and make sure they only invest in GEMS Ready refrigeration.
It's important to always make sure that the refrigeration you consider is fit for purpose before looking at any other features and benefits. Find out how to do that in the GEMS database by looking at Cabinet Classification.