U.S. demand for commercial refrigeration equipment is forecast to increase 3.1 percent per year through 2020 to $11.3 billion, moderating from the 2010-2015 period, when growth was bolstered by a rebound in sales after the economic recession, according to a new study from Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based industry research firm.

Suppliers are expected to benefit from the scheduled 2020 phaseout of R-22 refrigerant, which will prompt commercial refrigeration equipment operators to either retrofit their equipment to use an acceptable alternative refrigerant (increasing demand for parts such as valves and filters), or to replace their existing equipment (boosting system sales). A number of alternative refrigerants can be used instead of R-22, and retrofitting is the less costly option for operators. However, installing new systems provides long-term cost savings due to an increase in energy efficiency.

Commercial refrigeration equipment sales growth will also be supported by more stringent minimum energy efficiency standards for certain products, most notably reach-in and walk-in refrigerators and freezers. “These standards will become effective on all reach-ins and walk-ins made after June 2017 .

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