Ten Energy Saving Tips for Commercial Refrigerators
In the food retail industry, commercial refrigerators are a staple item that keeps businesses running. As a significant portion of food products are perishable, you should be able to count on your refrigerator to preserve valuable inventory 24/7. To match commercial needs, a refrigerator needs to maintain specific temperatures, even in the hottest environments. If you operate a commercial refrigerator out of a hot kitchen, for instance, keeping food cold when doors are constantly being opened and closed is crucial. Not surprisingly, operating commercial refrigerators can come with a hefty price tag.
The average commercial refrigerator can consume 17,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity; even larger versions can consume almost twice that amount. The result of using these appliance giants tend to be high energy bills for you and your business. Luckily, by operating smart and investing in the right commercial refrigerator, there is an opportunity to save.
In addition to saving on operational costs, high energy efficiency plays a significant role in reducing environmental damage. With rising public awareness of the impact businesses have on the environment, going green has increasingly become a key initiative among global companies. Studies indicate that a significant portion of modern shoppers often prefer to make their purchases through companies with an eco-friendly reputation; by choosing energy efficient commercial refrigerators, you can work to build positive brand awareness.
Operating for Efficiency
Keeping the above benefits in mind, there are some best practices your business can employ—along with refrigerator “wish list” tips—to cut down energy consumption in commercial refrigerators.
1. Look for STAR-certification. It’s best to look for refrigerators that are ENERGY STAR-certified. Since this EPA standard rolled out in 1992, many appliances can now be found sporting its sticker due to their inclusion of:
- ECM evaporators
- Condenser fan motors
- Hot gas anti-sweat heaters
- High efficiency compressors
On average, you can expect approximately a 20 percent higher energy efficiency rate with STAR-certified refrigerators. It’s estimated that a commercial glass door refrigerator with this certification can save you 285 kWh, which adds up to savings of over $30 per year, and around $310 during the appliance’s lifetime.
2. Be on the lookout for condensation gathering on glass doors before deciding to turn on anti-sweat heaters. If there’s no condensation present, you are likely safe to keep these turned off. In the event that you don’t want to risk yourself or an employee making this kind of judgement call, it may be worth considering the installation of adaptive controls. These will automatically turn on (and off) only when the situation calls for their use. Adaptive controls are a great solution, especially if you worry that turning them off again might slip someone’s mind, allowing the energy bill to rack up.
3. Give your refrigeration unit plenty of space. Under cramped conditions, the refrigerator system may not have sufficient room to maintain proper airflow over its heat exchange coils. If the unit has to work harder to keep optimal temperatures, it will needlessly waste energy that could otherwise be saved.
4. Consider motion sensors. Like adaptive controllers, motion sensors on case lighting systems can take some of the stressors related to human error out of the equation. Rather than constantly being on or off, motion sensors will automatically turn on when a customer is browsing through refrigerator contents and turn off promptly afterward, conserving plenty of energy.
5. Opt for electric. Unlike traditional commercial refrigerators, units that use electronic temperature controllers and motors are highly energy efficient.
6. Choose energy-efficient lights. While motion sensors are a good way to keep light usage in check, you can go further in cutting back on energy consumption by opting for LED (light-emitting diode) light bulbs. LED lighting outweighs the old standard fluorescent light bulbs in terms of benefits, lasting longer and using much less energy.
7. Prepare for after-hours. In the case of open refrigeration displays, you might want to consider installing night curtains. Night curtains can be a big help in keeping the cold air in the unit after customers have left and you’re ready to close up for the day.
8. Keep refrigeration units clean. By regularly dusting refrigeration units and immediately cleaning any spills or food debris, you can consume less energy while also keeping your merchandising displays appealing to customers. Clearing out dust, in particular from coils, will maintain optimal heat transfer.
9. Check on the condition of key components, such as auto closers and door gaskets. When these parts are not running properly, humid and warm air can easily infiltrate your refrigeration unit. Poor conditions in these parts will ultimately result in a temperature drop, spoiling your products and wasting energy.
10. Choose smart manufacturing. A wealth of benefits can be hidden in the details of manufacturing, and the way your commercial refrigerator is made is no exception. In this case, both your business and the planet can benefit when you go with a refrigerator unit that uses a cyclopentane blowing agent in the insulation process. Used to insert foam in commercial refrigerators, cyclopentane is uniquely free of harmful greenhouse gases, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Besides protecting the atmosphere, cyclopentane has proven to be an efficient foam insulator, keeping cold air in and consuming less energy while preserving commercial products.
At Ancaster Food Equipment, you can save even further by purchasing refurbished models that run like new, at a fraction of the cost. With all components checked by certified refrigeration technicians, you can get a head start with a cost and energy efficient unit.
To learn more about saving energy or to inquire about purchasing a refurbished unit, call Ancaster Food Equipment at 855-888-9644 or contact us here.