For businesses like grocery or convenience stores, supermarkets, and restaurants, refrigeration costs are probably one of your biggest operational expenses. Commercial refrigeration of display cases and reach-ins can account for up to 60% of a business’s electricity consumption.
With such high costs, it’s crucial to learn ways to get it in control. In this article, we’re sharing a few tips to help you cut down on your commercial refrigeration costs.
Upgrade your Commercial Refrigeration System
Replacing your old refrigeration system that may still be working may be a bit over the top but hear us out. Having an outdated refrigeration system may be less energy efficient. Thus, if you’re using decade-old systems, they may have used refrigerants that have long been phased out.
In general, you want to replace your refrigeration system if:
- It’s over ten years old
- You’ve already replaced a phased-out refrigerant with a synthetic refrigerant
- Your business is expanding
- It’s in poor physical condition, damaged, or corroded
An upgrade to newer systems will ensure they are efficient and manufactured to fit the latest technology. Once you upgrade, look for an Energy Star rating to ensure the highest energy efficiency possible.
If you’re running a grocery or a convenience store, it makes sense to go for systems with glass doors. In-display industrial fridges can be used to showcase the contents of the fridge, allowing customers to choose from the products before opening the doors, reducing cold air spillage and energy use.
Schedule Regular System Cleaning and Maintenance
Regular maintenance helps ensure that your fridge is working efficiently and spot potential issues you can resolve immediately to prevent more severe and costlier damage.
Typically, you want to keep your condenser coils and evaporator clean and in good shape. If dust, grease, and other debris accumulate on these critical components, the unit must work harder to maintain a cool environment. By making it a habit to clean and maintain these parts every time, your refrigeration system will run more efficiently and ensure longevity.
Another way to maintain your refrigeration system is to defrost the freezers when there’s 5 mm or more ice buildup. Other components you need to look for during your scheduled maintenance include:
- Oil leaks
- Motor function
- Door hinges and catches
- Compressor levels
Set Fridges at Efficient Temperatures
For every degree cooler, the running cost also increases by 2% to 4%. Don’t hesitate to ask a refrigeration consultant if you don’t know the appropriate temperature levels for your business.
As a rule of thumb, you want to set your commercial refrigeration system temperature to the minimum food safety standards. For commercial fridges, it should be below 5°C. Meanwhile, freezers should be set between –15°C and –18°C.
Use LED Lighting
Lights in cool rooms and fridges not only use energy to light the space but also produce heat. This heat needs to be cooled down, which causes the system to work harder.
So, consider replacing the system’s lighting with LED lighting. This is much more efficient than halogen and fluorescent lighting because it doesn’t heat that much. Besides, LED lights are known for their longer life span and have minimal maintenance costs.
Another way to help further reduce energy consumption on your refrigeration lighting is to ensure that the lights are off when not needed. You can use operational controls and timers to turn off the lights automatically when necessary.
Close the Door
This may be an obvious tip, but you’ll be surprised that most workers and customers tend to leave refrigeration system doors open. Know that you lose cool air when you leave a cool room or fridge door open. So, the system will need to work harder to cool down the space.
To prevent this, you can add a timed alarm to your system to ensure the doors are never left open. Likewise, train your staff to be proactive and always check if a customer may have left the fridge door open.
Load Cold Deliveries Right Away
It takes more energy to cool down items that have reached room temperature than it does to cool those that are already cold upon delivery. Therefore, you want to set up a loading policy. When you receive delivery of cold items, make sure to load them immediately. Not only does this help preserve as much energy as possible, but it also protects the quality of the items and prevents spoilage.
There’s no doubt that refrigeration is one of the most significant expenses for businesses in the food industry. To stay profitable, you want to keep these utility expenses under control. Applying one or more of the tips discussed can help reduce your energy bills. Some are incredibly affordable and easy to implement, while others will be more expensive and work-intensive but will surely pay off in the long term.
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