Project Description

JR Wholesale Meats  have a long history of providing excellence in products and service to their customers and maintain their facilities and processes to the exacting standards required to maintain NZFSA accreditation. This approach has seen the company continue to expand and the need to move to a larger facility to accommodate this growth.

It was clear that JR needed a partner who could understand their current challenges and support them to grow and expand, with future operational needs in mind. Working with the team at EcoChill, planning and design came together with a focus on long term sustainability, low environmental impact and best value to deliver a solution.

The project scope was to build a completely new facility, future proofed wherever possible, using natural refrigerants with low energy consumption technologies and initiatives including energy recovery. EcoChill presented a natural refrigerant solution across all cooling and freezing zones of the new building working to 3 key performance indicators:

  1. Long term operating sustainability of HVAC&R equipment.
  2. Best energy efficiencies possible within the technology available.
  3. Zero carbon foot print of the system under operating conditions.

The Challenge

The challenge within the project was to flexibly meet the shifting demands of a meat processing facility that continues to grow, maintaining tight temperature and humidity control across multiple zones. The 3 key performance indicators were a driving force for the final system design and equipment selection:

  1. Sustainability:  Not only did the design and the installation of the equipment need to be carefully considered, so did the entire supply chain of products and materials, to ensure the overall impact of the build was as low and as purposeful as possible.
  2. Energy Efficiency: Understanding how to improve energy efficiency outcomes included the use of technology both in software and hardware. Standard initiatives such as Speed drives for larger motors, electronic commutated motors in fans and pumps, electronic control valves for refrigerant and fluid control and full heat recovery technology for multiple grades of heat were just part of it. Purpose built software and intuitive controls also needed to be carefully selected and applied to achieve the desired outcome.
  3. Zero carbon:  Choosing natural refrigerants over synthetic gases and limiting the size of refrigerant charge through smart system design, while integrating the HVAC system into the design of the main plant for better outcomes was also worked through in great detail to ensure the best choices were made.

The Solution

EcoChill met all of the key performance requirements by using Carbon Dioxide (CO2) for the low temperature cooling and a Hydrocarbon/Glycol combination for the HVAC and chiller cooling.

  • Low Temperature Cooling:  Two rooms operating at -20°C are maintained by a twin compressor DX subcritical stand-alone outdoor packaged unit. This is optimised by operating in the subcritical mode all year round. This is achieved by using Glycol cooling from the Hydrocarbon process chiller to maintain the condensing temperature of the CO2 below 0°C. The freezer rooms use direct expansion CO2 Evaporators supplied with EC Fans and electronic expansion valves, with fully optimised control provided via RDM control infrastructure.
  • Medium to High Temperature: Multiple zones are cooled by a 200kW twin compressor Hydrocarbon / Glycol process chiller package, also a standalone outdoor unit. The room control is via in-room Unit Cooler (Blower units) with EC Fans connected via modulating Glycol control valves, providing fine temperature control. The use of EC fans assist with the fine temperature control by slowing fans down as the set point is approached, providing energy savings.
  • HVAC system: A dedicated AHU connected to the glycol circuit supplies 100% tempered fresh air, 365 days a year. This is also used as a positive pressure system during normal operation. During wash down the extract system is engaged in operation, with the AHU lifting in speed to provide 60 air changes/per ventilation rate.
  • Heat recovery: What would normally be waste heat from a system is recovered and utilised in two areas of the plant:
  1. High grade hot water heating used in the factory for cleaning etc.
  2. Low grade under floor heating for the two freezer rooms.

This site is fully temperature controlled and uses natural refrigerants R744 and R1270 with a combined refrigerant charge of only 77kg’s – that’s approximately 70% less refrigerant than a conventional system requires due to smart system design and the use of new technology.

The Benefits

The solution provided a new processing plant operating on 100% natural refrigerants with Zero Carbon foot print and high energy efficiencies achieved through modern technology and highly engineered design. With the use of innovative hardware and proprietary software JR Wholesale has a flexibility that enables them to move into the next phase of business development, with the confidence of meeting their own and client’s key performance indicators and strict hygiene and operating requirements.

With the selection of critically charged natural refrigerant solutions they also have  confidence operating costs will be far less than the traditional DX systems typically seen in this sector and expected to increasingly rise with high GWP refrigerant costs.

Project Details


October, 2018


JR Wholesale Meats



Construction of a new meat processing plant.

Floor Areas:

  • Freezers:  260m2 @ -20°C
  • Chillers:      260m2 @ -0.5°C
  • Prep Areas: 541m2 @ +8°C

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