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Considerations When Buying‍ Energy Efficient Refrigeration

27 Oct 2022, 4:39 PM

considerations when buying
energy efficient refrigeration

At the Restaurant Supply Store you'll find many heavy-duty catering appliances but one of the most hard-working categories is refrigeration. Fridges and freezers need to operate within safety guidelines and have to be running twenty-four hours a day. Due to environmental factors and rising fuel costs, it's more important than ever to select energy efficient refrigeration.

What is the Difference between Commercial and Domestic Refrigeration?

Refrigeration is a vital part of restaurant equipment to keep foods at a safe temperature. Commercial standard refrigeration is of a much higher quality than models designed for the domestic market. Cabinets and interior shelving are constructed from superior grade materials to withstand relentless use.

For example, True Refrigeration commercial fridges and freezers usually have exteriors with a superior stainless steel finish. Some models such as the True Visual Merchandiser Fridges are designed for front of house refreshments where customers can serve themselves. These often feature a strong exterior of chip-resistant epoxy powder coating that can withstand excessive wear and tear.

Accurate Temperature Control

Refrigeration units designed for restaurants are fitted with higher specification thermostats and specialised temperature gauges, offering a greater range of control. In some instances, they can be set as low as -30C.

The internal temperature is also maintained more reliably than in domestic refrigerators. Even when doors are constantly being opened, the speed and precision of the temperature control ensures commercial refrigeration maintains a greater energy efficiency than a design meant for home use.

Precise temperature control is important for restaurant equipment as even a temporary increase in temperature of just 1C can increase the unit's running costs by as much as 4%!

What is Refrigeration Climate Class?

One of the most important factors in choosing restaurant equipment is a refrigerator's climate class. There are three standardised ratings indicating the extremes of external ambient temperature and humidity the unit is best suited for. They include: Class 3 (25C / 60% humidity); Class 4 (30C / 55% humidity); and Class 5 (40C / 40% humidity). In the hot, steamy environment of a restaurant's commercial kitchen, it's advisable to choose Climate Class 4 or Class 5.

Installing commercial refrigeration with an appropriate climate class helps reduce the burden on the refrigerator's compressor. This should extend the life of the unit and help maintain its level of energy efficiency. In addition, there should be a reduced risk of damage as the compressor won't have to work so hard to compensate for higher than necessary external temperatures.

Energy efficiency can also be improved by choosing a unit with the best Minimum Energy Performance Standard (MEPS) rating. This is denoted by letters from A (the most energy efficient) through to G (the most wasteful).

How does Capacity Affect Energy Efficiency?

It's always more energy efficient to purchase a refrigerator with an optimal capacity for your restaurant's needs. Running an overloaded unit prevents air circulation causing the compressor to work much harder than normal. There should also be space available for safely defrosting frozen foods. A commercial refrigerator might have an annual consumption rate of more than 17,000 kWh. Operating a fridge or freezer when it's only half-full wastes valuable energy, unnecessarily increasing overheads.

The True Refrigeration range features many different designs ensuring a perfect match with any commercial kitchen. For the compact restaurant, there are convenient counter-top refrigerators, complete with splashback and a choice in the number of doors or external drawers. For a streamlined kitchen, consider the selection of robust undercounter refrigerators and freezers. There are also upright models with single or double doors in stainless steel or glass.

Environmentally-Friendly Refrigeration

Refrigeration relies on coolants circulating within the unit's casing to maintain cold temperatures. Many of these substances damage the ozone layer and contribute to global warming. However, there are commercial refrigerators that use environmentally-friendly coolants such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which do not disrupt the ozone layer of the earth's atmosphere. Their effect on global warming is many times lower than the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that are traditionally used.

Over the years, the design of the compressors has become more energy-conscious, enabling more refrigerators to achieve low MEPS ratings.

Green Refrigeration Designs for Restaurant Equipment

The design of commercial refrigeration units can contribute to energy efficiency and sustainability. Doors that close by themselves reduce the amount of energy needed by the compressor to restore the internal temperature. LED lighting is also beneficial for the environment as the bulbs have an extended life-span and use low volumes of electricity. State-of-the-art electronics provide precise thermostat and temperature control that helps eliminate wasted energy. Door seals often suffer a great deal of wear and tear, but models with easy to replace seals can help extend its life-span.

A refrigeration unit with a robust, stainless steel construction should provide years of reliable service and can be ultimately recycled.

Conclusion

Commercial catering appliances can be expensive to run. Kitchen staff should be trained to follow energy-saving tips to help reduce waste. Choose refrigeration units that offer superior temperature control combined with ecological features such as self-closing doors and LED lighting. Selecting the best climate class to suit the conditions of your restaurant's commercial kitchen is important, as it helps reduce energy wastage and usually extends the refrigerator's life.

Choosing from a wide range of models helps tailor the units to your commercial kitchen, saving space and energy. Installing the best energy efficient refrigeration relies on a manufacturer that combines high-quality cabinets, ecological coolants and reliable components that should provide years of trouble-free service.

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