5 Tips for Improving Commercial Refrigeration Energy Efficiency

Commercial refrigeration represents about 7% of total commercial building energy usage in the U.S. In supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants, refrigeration, hospitals, and hotels can
account for half of the total energy usage. But, by applying these 5 tips you can cut your energy consumption and keep a little more cash in your pocket.

Install an auto door closer. When rushing around a commercial kitchen, checking to make sure the walk in freezer or cooler door is latched shut is the last thing on your mind. Auto door closers ensure the refrigerator/freezer doors are completely closed. Not only does this help prevent food from spoiling, but also keeps that cold air from spilling out.

2. Install strip curtains. Every time the walk in cooler door is opened, a rush of cold air floods out, and air from the outside world infiltrates in. Strip curtains create an extra barrier that will help keep that cold air in, and the warmer exterior air out. Estimates put strip curtains effectiveness rate at 65%.

3. Upgrade to EC motors. EC motors can be up to 70% more efficient than old motors. To learn more on how they work check out our blog, “What is an ECM Type Motor”

4. Switch to LED lights. LED lights are some of the most energy efficient products on the market. LED lights also thrive in cold conditions, making them a perfect fit for refrigeration.

5. Utilize night covers. Open display cases drain energy, and should be covered when not in use. Utilizing night covers keeps the cold air contained, which means the motors will not have to run at full capacity when the establishment is closed.

What Is an ECM Type Motor?

There are many different types of electric motors, but there are three types used mainly in HVACrefrigeration applications.

The microprocessor allows the ECMs to more precisely control eddy currents

Eddy currentsare naturally created magnetic fields in processor controls that counteract what the machine is trying to accomplish. In traditional motors the eddy currents cannot be controlled, and therefore the machine must work harder because it is also working against itself.

Check out this graph showing how the two types of motors compare in energy consumption throughout a typical day.

The microprocessor is also programmed with the capability to retain constant parameters in changing environments.

For example, traditional motors are built to fire at one speed all the time. If it is 2 am, and no one has opened the cooler door in five hours, a traditional motor will still be working just as hard as if it’s the holiday season, and every baker is constantly in and out of the cooler trying to keep up with the 50,000 baklava order demand.

ECMs can be equipped with controls.

This allows the motor to sense inactivity each night, and will automatically decrease the fan speed. Or it can sense when it’s baklava crunch time, and will fire the fans on high to accommodate the load. Matching the speed of the motor to the environmental fluctuations enables the motor to operate as efficiently as possible, and therefore leads to energy cost savings.