Many things can impact your business energy, but one that often gets overlooked is refrigeration.
As one of the worst offenders when it comes to energy consumption, refrigeration has a significant impact on your business energy.
However, no matter the size of your refrigeration system, there are ways to reduce your energy consumption that may help you save money on your energy bills.
Keep your refrigerator full
Did you know that when your refrigerator is empty it uses more energy?
An empty fridge uses up more energy, which is wasted as it’s not cooling anything. Try to keep it full to help keep it more energy efficient. If not full with food, use bottles of water to fill your refrigerator. If you have a fridge freezer, this can also impact your energy if it’s not full, so bottles of water or freezer blocks help.
While you should keep your refrigerator full, you should also avoid overstocking. This will also reduce efficiency. Ensure air vents are clear of obstruction, so the cool air can properly circulate throughout the fridge. Stock strategically to reduce stress on compressors.
Assess your fridge use
All businesses, big or small, have some type of fridge and how much you use it may vary for each business.
If you find you’re not using it regularly, or perhaps it’s empty more often than it’s full, you may want to downsize to a smaller one to reduce energy consumption.
Don’t leave fridge doors open. This releases cool air and lets in heat, which the fridge then needs to work hard to reduce when closed, expelling more energy. An alarm timer can help ensure the door is not left open.
Open refrigerated display cases use up a significant amount of energy that is wasted, so consider installing glass doors to display cabinets to reduce wasted energy.
Upgrade your refrigeration system
Refrigeration can make up 25% to 85% of the total energy use of your business.
Reduce energy consumption by upgrading your refrigeration systems, especially if they are more than 10 years old. The energy efficiency of older refrigeration systems can deteriorate over time, so if your current fridge is quite old, it may be time to upgrade to a more efficient model.
When buying a fridge, get the best energy rating you can to improve efficiency. Investing in refrigeration systems with a higher energy star rating may result in greater energy usage savings in the long term.
Upgrading and maintaining your system can help reduce your electricity bill, lower maintenance costs, increase the efficiency of the system, and decrease your impact on the environment.
Another key tip for reducing the impact of refrigeration on your energy consumption is to ensure your fridge is working efficiently with regular maintenance.
Proper maintenance ensures your refrigerator is checked for various potential issues such as oil leaks, compressor levels and motor function. The seals on older fridges can become less effective over time, which may result in wasted energy leaking out, so you should also check the seals regularly.
There is also maintenance you can perform yourself, such as checking for ice build-up. When more than 5 mm of ice builds up you need to defrost your fridge, as this acts as an insulator leading to increased running costs. Newer freezers tend to have in-built defrosting cycles, so if you find you’re getting a lot of ice build-up, it may be time to upgrade.
Set the right temperature
It’s important to ensure your refrigerator is set at an efficient temperature. For every degree cooler, you’ll increase the running costs of your refrigerator by 2-4%.
Check the temperature is not set too high. Food safety standards state your fridge should temperature should be below 5 degrees celsius, and freezers between -15 and -18 degrees celsius.
Check that the thermostat and defrost settings match the conditions needed, and look to reduce heat gain from other equipment nearby or direct sunlight.
Lights in fridges produce heat, which then needs to be cooled down. This causes the system to work harder and use up more energy.
Upgrade the lights in your fridge to LED lighting. It is much more efficient than fluorescent or halogen lighting, as it doesn’t produce as much heat and lasts longer before needing to be replaced.
Switch off refrigerator lights when not needed. Installing timers and operation controls can make this easier.
For more energy saving tips for your business, check out our recent blog on quick ways to reduce your energy usage.