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Nov 25th 2014

Importance of Supermarket Refrigeration Engineering

Retailers faced with tight operating budgets often seek means of reducing energy expenditures through increasing the energy efficiency of their refrigerated display cases and associated systems. Generally, the largest consumption of refrigeration system energy in supermarket settings is attributed to open display cases, such as traditional meat and dairy cases, which are subject to much higher heat loads than cases with transparent display doors. The amount of costs associated with all the refrigeration equipment that exists inside (cold chambers, preparing rooms, displaying cabinets) achieve values that in some cases represent more than 50% of the total energy consumption costs. With the recent increase in the number of large supermarkets, it is important to consider and implement engineering strategies to reduce refrigeration energy consumption.

Refrigerated systems can present engineering challenges for supermarkets because the potential for product loss and the high energy demands associated with refrigeration designs call for an engineer with extensive experience (not only in refrigeration system design, but also in energy management). The refrigeration, mechanical, electrical and plumbing installations are keys to the operational and financial success of a supermarket. KMB designs refrigeration, mechanical, electrical and plumbing installations that are cost effective and create a positive environment for the consumer by featuring consistent temperatures, and reducing energy usage.

Construction and application of choosing the correct isolation materials and correct isolation thickness is an important item to achieve energy savings in installation. Optimizing installation layout is also a very important measure that can help achieve energy savings in refrigeration systems. A properly engineered and energy efficient design layout of a supermarket should consider the grouping together of the cold store refrigeration areas, the minimization of the piping and paths that the refrigerated goods need to travel and the optimization of the location of refrigeration centrals and condensers.

Ways to decreasing energy consumption and improve performance:

• Retrofitting open display cases with transparent doors- Retailers perform these retrofits to gain benefits including greatly reduced refrigeration energy expenditure, potential savings on building heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) energy expenditures as well as increased shopper comfort levels. The installation of doors on previously open cases will result in a large decrease in the heat load that must be removed from those cases by the refrigeration system.

• Defrost Adjustment- In open cases, defrost systems are generally designed and configured so that defrost periods occur repeatedly throughout the day. Examining the changes of defrost schedules should be implemented after the upgrade of door installation.

• Lighting upgrades- Store owners may consider using the retrofit project as an opportunity to consider upgrading existing fluorescent lighting fixtures installed in the cases to LED fixtures. Lighting power reduction will in turn, also reduce the heat load into the case.

• Fan upgrades- Upgrading evaporator fan motors to high-efficiency motors can reduce fan motor energy consumption (which is dissipated as heat inside the case) which will in turn, reduce the total energy consumption of the refrigeration system.

In effort to significantly reduce U.S. energy demand, lower emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants and save consumers billions of dollars every year, without lessening the vital services provided by these products, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Appliance and Equipment Standards Program established a set of minimum energy efficiency standards covering more than 50 products. These appliances and equipment covered provide services that are used by consumers and businesses each day, such as space heating and cooling, refrigeration, cooking, clothes washing and drying, and lighting represent 60% of commercial building energy use and 29% of industrial energy use. As a result of these standards, energy users saved about $55 billion on their utility bills in 2013. The appliance and equipment standards program issues regulations for appliance and equipment standards and test procedures, implementation, certification and enforcement. It also supports the voluntary ENERGY STAR® program by working with the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure products that display the label meet Energy Star specifications.

Using more efficient systems may be the easiest and quickest way of reducing electric consumption of refrigeration systems in supermarkets. Supermarket refrigeration systems generally use separate air-cooled condensers, most often located on the rooftop of the building, to reject heat to the ambient environment. Using efficient equipment, including evaporators, condensers, pumps and compressors can achieve optimal reduction of electric consumption. KMB can engineer a system to provide you with the right balance of energy efficiency, maintainability and cost to meet your needs and ensure it is installed to provide the maximum benefit. Our engineers are fully qualified to visit your site, perform a thorough survey of the existing systems, make recommendations and design a solution to keep your store up and running throughout the renovation.