After attending a National Insulation Association (NIA) presentation on Insulation, The Forgotten Technology at ASME’s 2007 Citrus Engineering Conference, a major citrus processing facility in central Florida decided to examine the condition of their insulation systems and determine the potential energy savings that could be achieved by replacing or repairing their existing insulation.

Facility management had previously examined abbreviated energy assessments for above and below ambient systems but had not commissioned an extensive below ambient assessment. Due to the age, complexity, and recent weather history of the facility (i.e. hurricanes), management wanted to examine the condition of the thermal insulation systems and any effect its condition may have on the refrigerant piping and overall system operating costs. The assessment process was more complex than originally anticipated and yielded a wealth of meaningful information.

The facility covers about 50 acres and consists of a variety of production, warehousing, and shipping/receiving facilities. It is estimated that the facility processes roughly one billion pounds of oranges and grapefruits each year into juice and juice products. Refrigeration for the site is provided by a large and complex ammonia refrigeration system. A total of eight “engine rooms” house electric driven compressors and associated vessels and equipment. Installed capacity is roughly 3,000 tons of refrigeration with an estimated energy cost on the order of $2 million per year. The ammonia refrigerant is distributed throughout the site via a complex and interconnected refrigerant piping system. The total refrigerant charge in the system is roughly 300,000 lbs of ammonia.

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