Refrigeration normally accounts for more than 50% of a food retailer’s energy use.
The most common question asked by food retailers is: “How can I lower my refrigeration costs? ” Not only will you impact on your energy consumption, but optimising your equipment will also enhance shelf life, and have a meaningful impact on wastage and more efficient stock management
If you are a food retailer in Africa you should at least be aware of the following simple energy-saving tips:
Manage & Monitor your system – Make sure that you have an energy management system in your store to schedule and controlling HVAC and lighting. Be sure it has remote access capability. This will not only allow you to manage your system, but will allow you to monitor it as well. Energy monitoring systems are normally integrated into building management systems.
Know the age of your equipment – The energy efficiency of refrigeration technology has improved significantly over the years, but the cost of completely replacing older refrigeration cases is substantial. That’s why a lot of old and inefficient systems are in still being used today. “Even though it doesn’t seem to make sense to replace old equipment that’s still functioning well, if it’s near the end of its life, upgrading to energy-efficient equipment will save you money in the long run.” Until then, food retailers can improve the efficiency of old equipment with a few simple tips: a) where possible, trim an appliance’s operating hours, b) regularly inspect door seals for cracks, and c) keep refrigerated cases and freezers clean.
Keep cold air in place with night covers, strip curtains. A major factor in reducing the cost of energy for refrigeration is to prevent the loss of what you’ve already invested in: cold air. Simple things like placing barriers between warm and cold areas can have a big impact. For smaller stores we recommend installing night covers on upright refrigerated display cases and strip curtains at the entry to cold storage areas. Night covers are a retractable plastic cover, like a window blind, that are pulled over the case opening during closing hours, keeping the cold air in place. Much the same, strip curtains stop chilled air from spilling out of a busy cold storage area, while still allowing people to reach in and out easily. Other simple improvements include adding doors to open display cases.
Save by only using the electricity you need when you need it. Another way to save money is to install electronically commutated motors (ECMs) These are small variable speed motors that draw much less electricity compared to standard motors because they contain built-in speed and torque controls that allow the motor to operate only at the speed that’s needed., ECM motors are often designed to drop right into existing equipment, making the changeover easy and cost effective.
Author: Charles Starling