H-E-B Opens New Store with Hussmann Designed Propane Refrigeration System

H.E. Butt Grocery Company (H-E-B) has opened a new 83,000-square-foot store as part of the redevelopment of the old Austin, Texas airport site. This entire redevelopment project focuses on sustainability and energy efficiency from the retail stores to the family housing units.

H-E-B is committed to being energy efficient and conserving natural resources; and they demonstrate a willingness to try new ideas, trends and technologies that have enabled them to be so successful in the food retail industry, says Bill Triplett, vice president of planning, design and construction. “It is just the way we operate our business. Our vision is to move faster, save energy and be sustainable. HC refrigerants have my attention and I want to move H-E-B in a different direction away from CFCs.”

From the beginning of this project H-E-B had four requirements from the refrigeration design: energy efficiency, simplicity (design and install), sustainability and reliability. According to Charlie Wernette, Director of Engineering, H-E-B, “Our ultimate goal with this project is a 70% energy reduction from all the store systems. We believe that a R290 hydrocarbon (propane) system will achieve approximately 50% energy reduction compared to our typical store refrigeration load. Based on the tests and analysis we have conducted to date, we believe that the actual sustainability and energy reductions will far exceed any measurement used today by LEED and GreenChill.

“It is very important to H-E-B that our natural refrigerant solution meets our sustainability and lower GWP objectives, but we also want a simple design that is easy to install, similar to your home refrigerator where it is delivered, plugged in and works for 15-20 years without having to think about it,” he adds.

H-E-B and Hussmann started working together in October 2011 to identify the design criteria and specifications to use propane for a majority of the refrigerated display cases in the store. According to Norm Street, Hussmann’s director new technology development, Hussmann worked closely with H-E-B and several US government and safety agencies in developing the regulations and approval processes to enable the safe use of propane in a supermarket application. This included optimizing equipment designs based on EPA limitations of 150g per system.

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