Barriers to the diffusion of energy-efficient HVAC&R solutions in the food retail sector are perceived as stronger when moving north to south, and west to east in Europe, according to a new paper from the EU-funded SuperSmart project for promoting energy efficiency in supermarkets – emphasising the need for homogenisation of virtuous practices and attitudes throughout Europe.
The survey conducted by the SuperSmart team indicates that despite an overall positive attitude towards energy efficiency, there is a need for specific actions focused on improving the knowledge level of technical staff, from the planning and design stage down to servicing and maintenance. Raising awareness about available technology and financial support is also required.
Even though there have been many technological improvements for energy-efficient and natural refrigerant-based solutions, non-technological barriers can slow down the evolution and diffusion of such systems in the market. The latest scientific paper from SuperSmart attempts to analyse, understand and shed light on these non-technological barriers.
The research groups the barriers into five categories: awareness, knowledge, social, organisational and legislative (including the EU the F-Gas Regulation and the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive; EPBD).
An analysis of survey responses concluded:
- Legislative barriers are considered the most difficult to remove, together with social ones.
- Awareness and knowledge barriers are regarded as the easiest to remove.
- Regarding awareness-raising, a lack of awareness of available financial support for implementing energy-efficiency measures is considered the most significant challenge to overcome.
- The lack of experienced trainers is considered to be the knowledge barrier with the highest impact compared to other options in the same category.
- Fear of not having enough trained technicians is viewed as the worst type of social barrier, especially in the South.
- The organisational barrier is perceived as an obstacle all over Europe, primarily by component and system suppliers.
- Regarding the F-Gas Regulation, the major obstacle is identified as the lack of qualified personnel for system servicing, particularly in Southwest Europe.
- For the EPBD, the complexity of the legislative framework is considered a barrier all over Europe.
Click here to read the research paper in full.