ESI Installs Ammonia Systems in Greenfield Projects


ESI’s state-of-the-art design-build services allow today’s cold food processors and distributors to install ammonia refrigeration systems regardless if the project calls for new or renovated construction.

The “standard rule” is that any refrigerated area of 40,000 square feet and larger should feature ammonia refrigeration systems.

“Generally it only makes sense to use ammonia refrigeration for warehouses that are minimally 60,000-90,000 square feet in size and up,” says Don Olsen, vice president of ESI Design Services. “Initial install costs, local labor rates, utility and maintenance expenses vary and explain the gap. A larger building or the inclusion of process refrigeration quickly shows a positive return on investment. Smaller refrigeration needs will not supply a return on investment that is tolerable because there is a large initial investment to install an NH3 system. It is less expensive to install a Freon-based refrigeration system and cheaper to maintain.”

Several clients including WinCo Foods, Martin-Brower, Reinhart FoodService, US Foods and Performance Food Group have built new distribution centers using straight ammonia refrigeration systems.

“An ammonia-based central system requires specialty contractors to install, is more difficult to maintain and is more expensive initially,” adds Olsen. “However, it is much more efficient to operate, therefore leading to a quick ROI on larger buildings.”

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