Equans Kältetechnik

ATMOsphere Approves Natural Refrigerants Label for Austrian Contractor Equans Kältetechnik

The ATMO Approved label is a global gold standard highlighting best-in-class manufacturers and contractors of natural refrigerant systems and components.

ATMOsphere, a global market accelerator of clean cooling and heating solutions and publisher of NaturalRefrigerants.com, has approved the ATMO Approved Natural Refrigerants Label for Equans Kältetechnik, an Austrian refrigeration contractor.

ATMOsphere (formerly shecco) launched the label in June 2022 as a global gold standard highlighting best-in-class manufacturers of natural refrigerant systems and components around the world. Labels were also approved in 2023 for SCM Frigo, M&M Carnot, Zudek, MIRAI Intex, Novum and Temprite. In 2024, GTS, Nihon Netsugen Systems, Refra and Zero-C have been approved, Fenagy has been reapproved, and Secon, Güntner, TEKO and M&M Carnot have been reapproved for the second time.

In November 2023, ATMOsphere opened label registration for 2024 with a new category for contractors and installers who accelerate the adoption of natural refrigerant-based cooling and heating solutions. In addition to Equans Kältetechnik, contractors SURE Solutions and General Refrigeration have been approved for the label.

“Since we know about the consequences of f-gases or HFO refrigerants (GWP, PFAS) we made a clear strategic decision to focus on natural refrigerants only in order to contribute to society for the next generations to come,” said Philipp Baumgartner, Managing Director for Equans Kältetechnik. “It is therefore a big honor for us to get the ATMO Approved Label as this qualifies us among the industry leaders that have real impact in the market with natural refrigerant systems and gives a clear signal to the market where we see the future of our organization. We will therefore do our best to do justice to this award and to further advance natural refrigerant technologies for the benefit of all of us.”

The ATMOsphere label is designed to help qualified manufacturers to market products to new customers and regions in the natural refrigerants marketplace, including products using CO2 (R744) and ammonia (R717). In addition, the label is meant to help end users identify best-in-class suppliers.

Once approved, companies can place the ATMOsphere Natural Refrigerant Label in a myriad of places, such as directly on products, marketing material, email signatures, company pitches and trade show booths.

“The label will be very visible in the global marketplace, and companies can take advantage of this to strengthen their brand,” noted Marc Chasserot, ATMOsphere Founder and CEO.

“By being global and multi-application, this label can help to create trust across the new applications and regions,” added Chasserot. “We want to use this multi-year label process to help move the market to cleaner solutions with natural refrigerant solutions over time.”

Based in Lauterach, Austria, Equans Kältetechnik is part of Equans (a subsidiary of the Bouygues group), which also supports customers in electric, HVAC, mechanics and robotics, digital and IT, and facility management. Equans operates in key European markets (notably Austria, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the U.K.) and is also positioned in the U.S. and Latin America.

Equans Kältetechnik offers tailor-made refrigeration for industrial or commercial applications, including energy performance contracts, predictive maintenance and carbon-capture installations. It uses natural refrigerants and complies with applicable legislation. Its work focuses on the following sectors: the food industry, retail (shopping centers), the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, logistics, defense/marine and petrochemicals/gas production.

While Equans Kältetechnik has changed its name several times since its beginning 77 years ago, “we have always had a strong focus on ammonia because of its outstanding efficiency and sustainability,” noted Baumgartner. “To be able to offer our customers also solutions in the smaller capacity range, we extended our portfolio with hydrocarbons and CO2.”

Three pillars

To qualify for an ATMOsphere label, manufacturers have to demonstrate excellence across three pillars:

1) company vision;

2) customer satisfaction (measured via testimonials from multiple end users confirming the reliability, performance and service of these companies and products); and

3) measurable impact.

Commenting on commercial refrigeration systems installed by Equans, Martin Hadraba, Technical Staff Member for Austrian supermarket chain BILLA, noted that “heat recovery and energy efficiency of the systems are very good,” and added that Equans has a “good team on site.”

Peter Schmoelz, Head of Maintenance & Technology for MPREIS Warenvertriebs, another Austrian food retailer, said his company is “fundamentally very satisfied with the service” offered by Equans. “Everything was quite comfortable [working] with them.”

New criteria

The 2024 label also includes training criteria for the first time for new applications and renewals. “We want to recognize a proactive approach to training customers, partners, employees and suppliers to ensure we not only have the best-in-class equipment but the best-in-class installation and maintenance of these systems,” Chasserot said.

Another 2024 label criterion centers around per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), such as trifluoroacetic acid (TFA).

Recent research found significant levels of TFA – formed by the atmospheric breakdown of certain HFO and HFC refrigerants – in dust, drinking water and human blood in a study of households in Indiana (U.S.). The study characterized TFA as being part of the PFAS chemical family. TFA and TFE, another PFAS linked to HFOs, have pathways to forming HFC-23, a super potent greenhouse gas (GWP 14,600).

“The 2024 label criteria around PFAS acknowledges what companies are doing to ensure they are PFAS-free,” Chasserot said.

“ATMO Approved companies have the vision and leadership required to navigate the market today and help [companies] move away from PFAS and global-warming synthetic alternatives,” an ATMOsphere YouTube video says.

Additional new benefits added to the 2024 ATMO label include:

  • an annual report for environmental, social and governance (ESG) investors;
  • end-user tours at major trade shows to meet approved companies;
  • exclusive webinar targeting end users, consultants and contractors; and
  • end-user case studies, showcasing best practices.

ATMOsphere has been active in the natural refrigerant space for nearly 20 years. During this time, the company has:

  • published dozens of natural refrigerant-related market reports on market players, technologies and solutions worldwide across multiple applications;
  • hosted over 60 international natural refrigerant conferences, bringing together thousands of experts and hundreds of speakers over nearly 15 years, covering all the latest trends and players;
  • written thousands of articles reporting on natural refrigerant companies and products in the industry; and
  • sent representatives to hundreds of trade shows around the world, meeting with natural refrigerant experts face-to-face (in addition to countless individual meetings outside official events).

“We feel that, as an independent player with a global mindset and a global presence across all natural refrigerants and multiple applications, we are very well suited to provide this level of approval for the label,” explained Chasserot.

“Since we know about the consequences of f-gases or HFO refrigerants (GWP, PFAS) we made a clear strategic decision to focus on natural refrigerants only in order to contribute to society for the next generations to come.”

Philipp Baumgartner, Managing Director for Equans Kältetechnik

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