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* January 2018 - A showcase of sustainability at new Longo's in Stouffville

Now in the midst of construction by Neelands Group Limited and s2e Technologies is a Longo's grocery store in Stouffville, ON that will target a near net-zero rate of electrical energy consumption. It will strive to meet this ambitious goal with a suite of power saving technologies that will make Longo's a sustainable energy leader in Canada. The Longo's Stouffville location is slated for completion in the summer of 2018.

The new store will incorporate sustainable technologies in the building shell, refrigeration, mechanical and HVAC elements of the design. Solar energy generation (solar PV) assets on the rooftop, facade and carports, plus combined cooling heat and power (CCHP) systems are being deployed. The net zero goal calls for the ability to generate as much electrical energy as is expended in the operation of the store in a year.

"All of these sustainable technologies have been used elsewhere in some fashion, but the Longo's Stouffville project is unique in its integration of the technologies," said Noel Neelands, president of Neelands Group Limited. "Once executed, this project will be the first of its kind for a supermarket." The pilot project demonstrated average electrical consumption savings of 52%, while measurably improving air quality and maintenance management functions. "They realized a tremendous reduction in electricity consumption," said Noel Neelands, president of Neelands Group Ltd.

The Neelands and s2e Technologies project has also engaged participation by SNC Lavalin, Studio Intersekt, Hammerschlag & Joffe and Fieldgate Construction Management Ltd.

"Grocery stores have some of the highest energy intensity footprints amongst commercial buildings, but we are striving to make a difference," said Ady Vyas, VP of projects and engineering for s2e Technologies. "With our partners, we have led the design of a net-zero energy supermarket that reduces operating costs and sets a new standard in the retail community for what can be achieved."

A key step toward achieving net zero energy and emissions is the incorporation of solar PV panels in the building envelope, rooftop and car ports. For instance, a rooftop solar PV installation will generate, on average, about 285 MWh per annum, representing 13% of electricity consumption by a typical Longo's supermarket. Car ports and shopping cart "corrals" have been designed to accommodate rooftop solar PV panels that will generate up to 350,000 kWh per annum.

The combined cooling heat and power (CCHP) system will operate by using natural gas from the grid. The CCHP system will provide 150 kW of electricity and approximately 700 million BTUs of heat reclaim.

This heat reclaim will be used to drive an absorption chiller, which will in turn pre-cool the top side of a CO2-based refrigeration system. By doing this, the CO2 system will be able to operate in a sub-critical mode as opposed to trans-critical. This will result in higher operating efficiencies and a lower energy consumption.

Customers will have access to charging stations for their electric vehicles at the new Longo's Stouffville. The design plan calls for the installation of two charging stations, each with two ports. This will allow four vehicles to be charged at any given time.

* October 2017 - Proven Catalyst RTU retrofits now available from Neelands

Catalyst is a retrofit technology that can cost-effectively improve Packaged Rooftop HVAC unit (RTU) energy performance, efficiency, comfort, indoor air quality and HVAC asset management. The Catalyst RTU Performance Package, with advanced controller applications, is now available from Neelands Group Ltd. as one of their services. Neelands are the Ontario reps for Catalyst.

In 2015/2016, a pilot study was commissioned by one of Canada�s largest hydro companies to understand the benefit of advanced controller applications to RTU systems in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The Catalyst RTU pilot involved a number of locations and market segments, thereby providing a robust analysis. All the data and results were third-party collected.

Consistent energy savings across the 60 buildings studied in the Toronto area (and one in Vancouver) demonstrated that Catalyst is a commercially hardened technology. Moreover, their moderate to aggressive return on investment illustrates that they are a cost-effective technology for most commercial buildings conditioned by RTUs, regardless of the climate.

The pilot project demonstrated average electrical consumption savings of 52%, while measurably improving air quality and maintenance management functions. "They realized a tremendous reduction in electricity consumption," said Noel Neelands, president of Neelands Group Ltd.

Discussions by Neelands with property managers, building owners and plant managers indicate that all have become concerned about the rising cost of electricity in the province of Ontario. Many of these have electricity consumption levels that place them as a moderate to high "Class B" consumers. In addition to the unpredictability of energy tariff policies, Class B customers may also find themselves more exposed to rising global adjustment costs.

The Cataylst RTU technolgy can help plants, businesses and properties address some of these concerns, said Neelands.

* June 2017 - Longo's Sets Benchmarks For CO2 Performance

Longo's supermarkets of Ontario continue to be market leaders in the design, operation and maintenance of their stores - and Neelands Group plays a significant role in supporting that leadership position.

Longo's is setting new standards of facility, refrigeration and sustainability performance through a collaborative and integrated design/ build/ maintain approach with their key strategic business partners, including the Neelands Group.

"Longo's have a very good team, they work really well with us," said Steve Horwood, VP of sales and operations for Neelands. "Firstly, Longo's cares about sustainable solutions and is comfortable taking a slightly longer term view. Secondly, the two companies have a shared vision on how to achieve project success. This level of transparency and alignment of objectives encourages creativity and adherence towards best practices," said Horwood.

Driven by solutions like CO2 refrigeration, high performance HVAC, Neelands refrigeration performance analytics, and a unique approach to maintenance operations, the Longo's stores are achieving excellent, best-in-class energy, operations and sustainability results.

These include, for example, a refrigeration leakage rate that is six times better than the industry average; an OM (operations/maintenance) cost of less than 50% of the industry average; and a 74% reduction in unplanned repair work.

With traditional HFC refrigerants, emissions for a typical 40,000 sq, ft. supermarket like Longo's can be 30 to 35 kg. of emissions per sq. ft. per year. That is reduced to less than 5 kg. per sq. ft. per year when using a CO2-based refrigeration system.

"Certain refrigerants that impact climate change and global warming are now being phased out. CO2, when used as a refrigerant, is a natural alternative that contributes almost nothing to global warming and does not impact the ozone layer," said Horwood. "Longo's has identified this as a key trend for the future of the supermarket industry," he said.

Improving performance is a process, not an event. As the collaboration moves forward, some of the new technology that will lower carbon emissions and further increase sustainability at Longo's will include absorption chillers to enhance refrigeration and photovoltaics (PV) for the generation of solar energy.

* May 2017 - Neelands Group Takes CO2 Leadership Position

Neelands Group Ltd. has recently designed and installed CO2-based refrigeration systems for a major global retailer at its new location in Ontario. It is the latest in a series of CO2 refrigeration and HVAC projects by Neelands over the past four years.

The installation was completed at the retailer's new big box location in Waterloo, west of Toronto. Neelands Group is Ontario's leader in the design, installation and maintenance of CO2 refrigeration technology.

The Waterloo project was preceded by a Neelands CO2 refrigeration job for the same retailer in Ottawa. Two others are now in the process of construction in southern Ontario for the company, with completion dates set for the end of 2017.

These are the first CO2-based systems ever for the retailer, which is based in the U.S. and has a major global presence.

Longo's has taken a very proactive approach to sustainability in their operations by choosing the CO2 option, says Noel Neelands, president of the Neelands Group. These systems virtually eliminate emissions that lead to global warming and climate change, he said.

CO2 installations are being completed at two new Longo's locations under construction in Ajax and Guelph, to be opened in the late August/early September 2017. About 25% of Longo's grocery stores now feature CO2 installations by Neelands, and all future openings by Longo's will incorporate this technology.

Also recently opened is a new Highland Farms supermarket in Vaughan, ON that features an environmentally friendly CO2 refrigeration system design and case displays by the Neelands Group.

And grocery retailer Coppa's Fresh Market has debuted CO2 refrigeration technology designed and installed by Neelands at its supermarket location in King City, ON.

* February 2017 - Neelands Goes TransBorder With Its First U.S.-Based Contracts

Neelands Refrigeration has kicked off a new chapter in its corporate history, with the signing of its first contracts in the United States.

Neelands has inked contracts with five Costco locations in the U.S. to oversee refrigeration installations at stores in Miami, Orlando and Minnesota.

"We are looking after three new locations and two remodeled installs in the US," said Mark Hanson, commercial industrial construction manager for Neelands. The contract work is for installation management and the first years' service only. Neelands is working with sub-contractors at all the locations. They are installing the refrigeration cases and coolers for shoppers, plus the same systems for the storage and preparation rooms.

The main role for Neelands is to ensure that Costco's quality standards are maintained at each store. "This is the first time we have ventured out beyond Canada,"; said Hanson. "This is a completely new business opportunity, which will help Neelands diversify its portfolio."

* May 2016 - Neelands green cooling technology benefits clients, earns rebates

Environmentally green cooling systems used by Neelands Refrigeration for customer installations are providing energy-saving benefits to grocery store clients. Amongst those environmental solutions that Neelands has put into operation are adiabatic condenser systems.

"We already had studies identifying some very good, real savings in energy consumption," said Chris Huffman, energy services manager for Neelands, referring to a study by Guntner GmbH of Germany. Guntner is a leader in the manufacture of refrigeration and air conditioning heat exchangers, and Neelands is a dealer for them.
"Our own experience with using adiabatic condensers in client installations has supported those results," said Huffman.

Adiabatic condensers are used in evaporative coolers, whereby large fans draw warm air through water-moistened pads. As water in the pads evaporates, the air is chilled, reducing the temperature of air at the intake source of the refrigeration system. Adiabatic technology greatly improves the efficiency of a commercial refrigeration operation - even under extremely hot weather conditions.

This has been confirmed by Neelands Refrigeration after testing of new adiabatic condensers made by Guntner in tandem with Guntner GFW gas cooler products. The tests have demonstrated the effectiveness of the technology to grocery store clients.

For instance, the results suggest that use of the Guntner advanced adiabatic condensers for HFC's will have less than a one-year payback when compared to standard industry condensers or gas coolers (depending on actual purchase and energy costs).

Also, the installation of adiabatic condensers will enable a reduction of peak energy consumption (compressor and condenser) of 32%, possibly enabling the use of fewer compressors required for either CO2 or HFC systems. And the installation of an adiabatic condenser will enable a CO2 refrigeration system to operate in a subcritical manner for over 99% of the time, said the test results.

The adiabatic condensers installed by Neelands have been approved for rebates under a provincial government plan. With proven performance in reducing energy consumption, Neelands has applied for and received rebates under an energy conservation program by the Ontario Power Authority (merged with the Independent Electricity System Operator).

* November 2014 - Building controls a new venture for Neelands

System applications for the efficient automated control of mechanical systems (HVAC), lighting and energy performance in commercial buildings are now being developed by Neelands Refrigeration.

This new venture is being driven by the use of technology built by Reliable Controls of Victoria, BC. "We are focusing on growing a new branch of controls with Reliable, for any non-grocery store applications," says Chris Huffman, the controls project manager at Neelands.

The Reliable Controls are designed for use where the BACnet protocol (building automation control networks) is specified. They can, for instance, be configured for small refrigeration-based retailers like convenience stores, delis, bakeries and small markets, giving them maximum energy efficiency. The controls can also be used for functions like air quality monitoring and food processing. One new Neelands customer is using a Reliable Controls installation for blood storage applications.

Neelands has found natural synergies with Reliable, given that both companies specialize in technology that delivers environmental benefits. For instance, Reliable Controls monitor and measure building systems performance, and report deviations to maintain optimal energy usage levels. Use of Reliable Controls can result in a customer qualification for a building systems energy rebate, with an average of 10%-30% in energy savings and sustained performance. "There are many aspects to the energy services that tie all Neelands offerings together," said Huffman, referring to Reliable as one of them.

All control graphics are custom designed for the client building, and offer very good 3D floor layout schematics with animation. A web server is built into the main controller, offering cost-effective web access to the system from any device with a browser. "Their quality is second to none, and the systems carry a five-year warranty," said the controls project manager.

* August 2014 - Neelands on leading edge with MicroThermo tech

Micro Thermo Technologies is leading the development of CO2 refrigeration controls in North America -- and Neelands Refrigeration is right there with them.

"We're the authorized dealer for Micro Thermo products in Ontario," says Chris Huffman, the Controls Project Manager for Neelands Refrigeration Ltd. "We also distribute and install those products for other contractors."

Neelands has placed itself close to the leading edge of commercial refrigeration technology trends by its association with Micro Thermo. Amongst the company’s top tier products is the Full Case Controller (Electronic Expansion Valve Control) and the Transcritical Rack Controller.  These fully support the use of R744 (CO2), in an effort to help food retailers adopt lower GWP (global warming potential) refrigerants and reduce their energy consumption, while ensuring better food quality.

The Full Case Controller does so by offering precise control over case operations. It measures and then models actual valve profiles, preventing significant under/over shoot valve operation, which can directly reduce temperature shocks to food. This will provide up to a 2% reduction in food loss.

The Transcritical Rack (TC Rack) Controller manages sensor inputs and control compressors. Each TC Rack can control one suction group and up to 12 compressors. Because the system is networked to every other function in the store and to the internet, it delivers predictive operation while enabling retailers to remotely connect for oversight and diagnostics. This data sharing helps improve overall efficiency and save energy, and advanced compressor algorithms can extend compressor life and reduce downtimes.

Over 95% of transcritical CO2 installations in Canada and the U.S. are controlled by Micro Thermo Technologies products.

* April 2014 - Premium grocery segment drives Neelands boutique installations

Deli meats, lobster tails, smoked salmon, imported cheeses, sushi, dim sum, fresh salads ... these are just a few of the items that are making it onto shopping lists at today's premium grocery outlets.

Neelands Refrigeration is responding to these demands by offering innovative design solutions to its grocery store clients. "There is now a growing desire for fresher, healthier, organic - and more locally sourced - food choices by consumers," says Chris Topan at Neelands Refrigeration.

That means, for instance, that refrigeration installations are being built within smaller square footage areas, typically in urban locations, and using interior finishes and fixtures (eg. stainless steel) that are non-traditional compared to standard market layouts.

This also includes a selection of Home Meal Replacements (HMR). Many upscale markets are now offering full lunches and/or dinners that are usually prepared and packaged onsite - and that also require refrigeration.

Upscale grocery store installations by Neelands do more than cater to this consumer segment - they also serve as "live showcases" for demonstrating the installations to potential commercial clients. These showcases "give our customers a better understanding of how the refrigeration cases work in different applications," said Topan. "They have been very successful as sales tools."

Amongst those customers is Longo's, which has embraced the upscale grocery retail concept. "I think that Longo's pursues this market in every one of their stores, but especially in the urban areas," said Forth, pointing to Toronto as the primary example of small footprint stores serving downtown customers.

Longo's is just one example of success by Neelands in this market segment - boutique grocery store installations are accounting for a growing percentage of the company's contract work. "With every new project or renovation completed, our presence in this market continues to increase," said Topan.

* December 2013 - Natural refrigerant CO2 has cost and green benefits

Neelands Refrigeration Ltd. is at the forefront of a green revolution that is working to replace HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) with carbon dioxide (CO2) as the refrigerant in grocery store systems.

It's all around us and has a complex, essential relationship with every living thing. But carbon dioxide also happens to work well as a refrigeration cooling medium – one that is natural, environmentally green and inexpensive.

That's why CO2 now gets the call for an industry seeking alternatives to refrigerants that are harmful to the atmosphere. Neelands Refrigeration Ltd. is at the forefront of a green revolution that is working to replace HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) with carbon dioxide (CO2) as the refrigerant in grocery store systems. The potential benefits are significant, and are starting to build for the company.

They are being generated at the pioneering CO2 installation by Neelands at the Longo's Chartwell grocery store, located in Oakville, ON. This is a "transcritical" system built by Hillphoenix Inc. of  Georgia that does not use any HFCs. While the costs of the compressor racks necessary for the CO2 system are higher, the rates for the actual CO2 gas are lower than HFCs (eg. freon). The business argument in favour of CO2 says that costs will balance out and eventually be lower for CO2-based refrigeration systems.

"The advantages include smaller pipe diameters, reduced refrigerant costs and higher discharge temperatures that can be reclaimed and used to heat air and or water within the store," said Tom Quaglia, the construction manager at Neelands Refrigeration.  CO2 is also non-flammable and not poisonous in any common concentration. "These qualities, along with reduced energy consumption during non-transcritical operation, make the system an affordable alternative to a HFC DX system."

On the other hand, greater pressures in the system necessitate a higher grade of copper for the narrow tubing. "The compressors are more robust and must meet stringent safety requirements. They are also built specifically for CO2 refrigerant, so the costs to date are still higher than an HFC compressor," said Quaglia.

But there are no pros and cons in terms of assessing a CO2-based system for its impact on the environment. CO2 is the clear choice over HFCs, which cause depletions to the atmospheric ozone layer and contribute to global warming through system leaks. CO2 does not break down the ozone layer and the greenhouse effect is a factor of one thousand less than HFC refrigerants, says one study.

The benefits of a greener image are now being realized at Neelands. Grocery store client Longo's also stands to gain from the same sort of image building. "Longo's understands that this is the future trend and they are still showing a strong interest," said Quaglia. 'We are proposing a further CO2 system installation in Mississauga for 2014. Supermarkets and refrigeration contractors could all benefit from the greener image we can promote."

* November 2013 - All systems "go" at Longo's Chartwell to date

A pioneering installation of CO2-based cooling technology by Neelands Refrigeration Ltd. at a grocery store in Oakville, ON is performing well to date.

A pioneering installation of CO2-based cooling technology by Neelands Refrigeration Ltd. at a grocery store in Oakville, ON is performing well to date. Nearly six months after it first went online, the CO2-fueled refrigeration system at the Longo's Chartwell location has posted a problem-free record.

"The CO2 rack at Chartwell has been performing very well with very few issues," said Tom Quaglia, the construction manager for Neelands Refrigeration. "We have been pleasantly surprised by how well it is functioning. So far, the only maintenance that has been done is a routine oil filter change." NRL has the maintenance contract with Longo's.

By using CO2 as the refrigerant instead of HFCs, the system generates much lower greenhouse gas levels, and will cut costs for Longo's in terms of energy savings. It also promises to offset higher installation costs through lower refrigerant leak losses -- a long term payoff that is still in the works.

"It's difficult to measure the performance right now," said Quaglia. "After a year of operation, we can ask Longo's how the store measures up energy-wise compared to some of their other sites.

"Also, leak rate of the CO2 can only be measured after more time has passed. Right now, everything is new and the leak level is low to non-existent." Nonetheless, Longos should immediately realize reduced refrigerant costs, as CO2 is eight times cheaper than the HFCs used in their other stores.

"On paper, energy costs should be 20% lower than a conventional HFC system. After a year we will see if that pans out," said Quaglia.

Neelands did the Longo's Chartwell installation in partnership with Hill Phoenix of Georgia, designers and builders of the CO2-based cooling system. The grocery store was built earlier this year using sustainable "green" concepts and facilities throughout its 44,000 sq. ft. of space. The Longo's Chartwell location is already generating about 15% less energy consumption than a regular Longo's, says the company.

Neelands did a second CO2 installation for Longo's at another location in Oakville recently. "Now that we have two installations under our belts, we have a good comfort level with the technology going forward," said Quaglia, noting a familiarity with new materials and installation methods. Another CO2 installation at a third Longo's location has now been proposed.

* July 2013 - Greener groceries at Longo's with new Neelands install

Chilled groceries at the new Longo's grocery store location in Oakville are benefitting from "green" refrigeration technology installed by Neelands Refrigeration.

Chilled groceries at the new Longos grocery store location in Oakville are a little bit greener now, with the debut of a new earth-hugging refrigeration system installed by Neelands Refrigeration. The CO2-fueled commercial system is amongst the first to be used in Ontario, and promises benefits to both the atmosphere and the user as well.

We partnered with Hill Phoenix of Georgia, designers and builders of the CO2-based cooling system, for the installation at the newly built Longos Chartwell in Oakville. By using CO2 as the refrigerant instead of HFCs, the Hill Phoenix system generates much lower levels of greenhouse gases - the root cause of global warming.

CO2 removes heat from display cases and walk-in freezers through copper pipes that are much smaller than the piping used for HFC-based systems. This is the first commercial refrigeration operation of its kind in Ontario.

HFC is still used in one of two compressor racks in the new store, with CO2 running in the other rack. But CO2 does the bulk of the refrigeration work, and thus pays back more than just green dividends. For instance, CO2 is much cheaper than HFC, and less HFC means lower costs for refueling refrigerant that leaks.

The new Longos Oakville Chartwell store is now open. We are now considering more CO2 installations.

* April 2013 - Neelands grabs top business award at Burlington Gala

Fifty-six years of business leadership by Neelands Refrigeration, spanning two generations of family ownership, has been recognized by the Burlington Chamber of Commerce.

Fifty-six years of business leadership by Neelands Refrigeration, spanning two generations of family ownership, was recently recognized by the Burlington Chamber of Commerce.

Neelands won the Business Excellence Award in the Service category of Burlington companies with 25 or more employees. A group of executive staff, led by company CEO Noel Neelands, received the prize at the Chamber's annual gala at the Burlington Convention Centre. A near-record crowd filled the convention centre for the April 11 ceremonies to find out which firms had garnered the honours.

Neelands topped two other finalists in the category to grab the title. The C of C awards task force said it was impressed with how the 56-year-old family business had continued to innovate and grow under the leadership of the second generation of the Neelands family.

Some of the divisions have tripled their revenues, in a business where referrals and word-of-mouth are the focus for generating new sales, said the task force. It also recognized the fact that customer service continues to be a key element in the growth at Neelands Refrigeration.

Finalists for the Chamber Business Excellence Awards are announced in advance, but winners are kept secret until the gala evening. Winners are companies that have demonstrated excellence in business leadership, community contributions, entrepreneurship, employee welfare, innovation and growth. A revised evaluation criterion, first introduced in 2009, includes environmental practices.

The Chamber received over 50 nominations for the 2012 Business Excellence Awards. Finalists and winners were chosen by the task force through a series of questionnaires and interviews.

Press release

Neelands staff at Burlington Chamber of Commerce Awards
* February 2013 - Neelands on Target with big box installations

Neelands Refrigeration Ltd. has scored a recent business bulls eye with installations at 12 new Target stores across Ontario. Work at 15 more Target stores is now in progress.

Neelands Refrigeration Ltd. has scored a recent business bulls eye with installations at 12 new Target stores across Ontario. Work at 15 more Target stores is now in progress and will be finished in the spring or fall, depending on the location.

Refrigeration installations were completed at Target stores located in Guelph, Orillia, London Westmount, London Masonville, Brampton, Burlington Appleby, Mississauga Square One, Hamilton Central Barton St., Waterdown, Windsor, Kawartha Lakes and Danforth -- all are in Ontario, and are now open.

Target was very pleased with the Neelands construction team," said Scott Corbett, the project manager at Neelands.

Target installations proceed according to detailed specifications, monitored and inspected by a Target Refrigeration Authority (TRA). "The TRA prefers Neelands, as our staff is very knowledgeable and easy to communicate with," he said.

Fifteen more Target stores are in the midst of phase two and phase three installation projects by Neelands. Phase two locations are in Hamilton South Upper James, Bramalea, Hamilton West Ancaster, Niagara Falls and Kitchener. These will be finished in May.

The phase three stores are in Ottawa Hazeldean, Smith Falls, Mississauga, Ottawa Meadowlands, Pickering, Richmond Hill, Waterloo, St. Catharines Niagara Pen Centre, Ottawa Bank Street and Orleans -- again all in Ontario. These will be completed in September.

"There were no real technical challenges other than following their protocol closely," said Corbett. "It didn't take our staff long to get on board with their protocol."

Minneapolis-based Target has just entered the Canadian market for the first time. These 27 stores are amongst over 120 that Target has planned for Canada in 2013.

Minneapolis-based Target Corporation operates 1,787 stores in the United States, plus the new locations in Canada.

Press release

Leaders in CO2 Technology