Stay Informed with NEEA News

NEEA and RETA develop new efficiency certification for industrial refrigeration operators

Collaboration with Idaho Power helps its industrial customers gain competitiveness while cutting costs through innovative certification programs

Boise, ID – To increase energy efficiency in the Northwest, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) in collaboration with Idaho Power, and the Refrigerating Engineers & Technicians Association (RETA), have recently partnered to develop a new energy efficiency certification for industrial refrigeration operators in the utility’s service area.

NEEA continues to successfully increase energy efficiency in the Northwest by partnering with utilities, like Idaho Power, energy efficiency organizations, and industry groups to train and certify key professionals in the region.

The Certified Refrigeration Energy Specialist, or CRES certification, gives refrigeration operators, technicians, managers and other refrigeration professionals the knowledge to manage energy usage and find low- and no-cost savings in their plants. CRES certification involves demonstrating strong understanding of basic refrigeration concepts such as Certified Assistant Refrigeration Operator (CARO)-level knowledge, passing a CRES exam and completing and documenting five low- and no-cost energy efficiency activities.

Industrial refrigeration represents a great opportunity, comprising nearly 9 percent of the Northwest’s regional industrial electric energy load. Energy efficiency also helps cold storage and food processing industries improve productivity, product quality, safety, and market competitiveness.  

“The RETA CRES certification is a coordinated, regional effort that will complement utility programs by empowering refrigeration operators with an immediate impact on energy savings at their facilities,” said Lori Rhodig, initiative manager, NEEA. “Our partnership with RETA is a key first step in transforming energy management practices in the industrial refrigeration market in Idaho and throughout the Northwest.”

Through CRES certification, refrigeration operators will learn how to optimize energy efficiency of equipment such as compressors, condensers, and evaporators, track facility energy use, develop energy management tactics, and reduce their company’s energy costs.

“CRES addresses and meets our mission of promoting safe, reliable and efficient operating systems while enhancing the professional development of our operators and technicians,” said Don Tragethon, executive director, RETA. “Once certified, operators can better manage and save energy while making a positive difference to the bottom line where they work.”

CRES practices can reduce a facility’s energy use by 2 to 9 percent within the first year with continued savings thereafter. Operators continuously improve the energy efficiency of their plants by renewing their certification every three years with additional activities and education. 

“During the certification process, our industrial customers can implement low-cost, no-cost types of energy efficiency improvement based upon the technical training they received during the class,” said Randy Thorn, engineering project leader in Idaho Power Customer Operations.  “By partnering with NEEA, we're able to bring more knowledge and experience into our service area and leverage that knowledge and experience to our customers.”

Idaho Power partnered with the RETA Boise Chapter to host the six-session CRES demonstration training for operators and technicians from industrial refrigeration companies. WinCo and Heinz provided training locations and hands-on opportunities for learning during the four month program.

More than a dozen organizations participated, including Americold, Darigold, Heinz, Meadow Gold and Simplot. (Those operators that complete the training will sit for the CRES certification exam when it becomes available starting this fall and offered throughout the region).

Other CRES pilot trainings will follow in Central Washington, and results from the Boise pilot and of the Puget Sound pilot conducted earlier this year will be unveiled at the RETA National Conference in fall 2013 in Bellevue, Wash.

For more information on the RETA energy specialist certification, visit

About Idaho Power Company
Idaho Power began operations in 1916. Today, the electric utility employs approximately 2,000 people who serve more than 500,000 customers throughout a 24,000-square-mile area in southern Idaho and eastern Oregon. With 17 low-cost hydroelectric projects as the core of its generation portfolio, Idaho Power’s residential, business and agricultural customers pay among the nation’s lowest rates for electricity. IDACORP, Inc. (NYSE: IDA) is the investor-owned utility’s parent company based in Boise, Idaho. To learn more, visit or

About the Refrigerating Engineers & Technicians Association (RETA)
The Refrigerating Engineers & Technicians Association (RETA) is the most recognized organization in the country dedicated to the professional development of industrial refrigeration operators, engineers, and technicians. More than 5,400 individuals and companies worldwide maintain RETA membership.

Founded in 1910, RETA is an international association of individuals and companies involved in the design, operation and service of industrial refrigeration systems. With a mission of education RETA provides up-to-date information on all aspects of the industry and has a library of instructional materials used by individuals and training organizations.

RETA’s certification programs are the only ANSI-accredited program of their kind in the country. With these efforts, RETA ensures that operators and technicians are equipped with the knowledge to operate their equipment safely and efficiently. 

About the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance
The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) is an alliance of more than 100 Northwest utilities and energy efficiency organizations working on behalf of more than 12 million energy consumers. NEEA leverages its strong regional partnerships to effect market transformation by accelerating the adoption of energy-efficient products, services and practices. Since 1997, NEEA and its partners – including Avista Utilities, Bonneville Power Administration, Chelan County PUD, Clark Public Utilities, Cowlitz PUD, Eugene Water & Electric Board, Energy Trust of Oregon, Idaho Power, NorthWestern Energy, Pacific Power, Puget Sound Energy, Seattle City Light, Snohomish County Public Utilities,  and Tacoma Power –have saved enough energy to power more than 700,000 homes each year. Energy efficiency can offset most of our new demand for energy, saving money and keeping the Northwest a healthy and vibrant place to live.