World Refrigeration Day Goes (Mostly) Virtual in 2020

The second annual World Refrigeration Day (WRD) will once again take place on June 26 – Lord Kelvin’s birthday – to raise awareness of the refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump sectors, and draw attention to their significant role in modern life.

The theme this year is the importance of the cold chain to modern society, underscored by its key role during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With that in mind, the WRD Secretariat, ASHRAE, European Partnership for Energy and Environment (EPEE), International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR), and UNEP OzonActionhave launched a campaign – called Cold Chain 4 Life – to address “the importance of the cold chain sector and its vital contribution to food safety and security as well as public health and well-being,” according to the campaign’s website

Last year’s inaugural WRD was a “huge” success with more than 800 physical events in more than 153 countries, said Stephen Gill, Founder of WRD, Head of the WRD Secretariat, and a longtime refrigeration engineer, consultant, and trade association leader.

“The main lesson we learned is that there is an appetite and passion around the industry that is not restricted by country boundaries,” he said. “Across the world, the industry wanted to come together to celebrate what we do.”

For 2020, Gill’s aim was to build upon last year’s success with an increasing number of physical events on June 26, but “this will simply not be possible for World Refrigeration Day as we transform to a mainly virtual experience,” he said, referring to the ongoing pandemic.

“We encourage the industry to use the opportunity of World Refrigeration Day to raise awareness and understanding of the significant role that the industry, its science and its technology play in modern life and society in a safe and responsible manner that is fully compliant with local restrictions and aligned to all safety measures,” said Gill.

The pandemic, and the limitations it imposes on physical events this year, has led the WRD organizers to expand their timeline. Therefore, “we will keep the window open for WRD-themed events until April 2021,” Gill explained.

WRD activities

Gill is participating in a webinar on World Refrigeration Day at 10am London time called “CO2 Question Time: Extra Time,” which is hosted by RAC magazine and sponsored by Panasonic. Information and registration is available here.

The 90-minute session will feature presentations on the development of CO2 as a refrigerant and a case study at sushi wholesaler Tanpopo, followed by a discussion about the practicalities, opportunities and challenges of introducing CO2 systems into supermarkets and beyond, according to the registration website. Among the speakers is John Skelton, refrigeration manager for Marks and Spencer, a leader in CO2 refrigeration.

Italian component and controller manufacturer Carel has launched a campaign on its website focusing on natural refrigerants and World Refrigeration Day. Each week the company has been adding information about natural refrigerants. On June 26, all the information will be combined into a summary infographic and published along with an educational video explaining the world of natural refrigerants.

The Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) is celebrating WRD by staging its first virtual industry showcase, which is patterned after its annual regional networking events, called AIRAH Industry Nights.

The London-based Institute of Refrigeration (IOR) has developed several initiatives linked to WRD. One is encouraging HVAC&R stakeholders in the U.K. to post on social media such as twitter (tagging @thecoolinghub, #refrigerationheros #openforcooling and #wrefd20) examples of how the cooling industry has been providing essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic in areas such as food supply, medical facilities, hospitals and building operation.

IOR is also hosting a webinar on WRD called “Beyond Refrigeration – the challenge to achieve net zero heating and cooling for the UK.” (Register here.) 

The webinar will address seven cooling strategies that can help mitigate climate change: balancing heating and cooling demand, making use of best available technology, achieving best system performance, working together, using energy intelligently, reducing the need for mechanical cooling, and developing the best people and skills.

For more information about WRD go to

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