10 refrigeration efficiency tips to beat the summer heat

Grocery stores, convenience stores, restaurants or any business that relies heavily on refrigeration knows that keeping cool takes a lot of energy, especially in the summer. In fact, energy costs often equal one percent of total grocery store costs, which is a typical grocery store’s profit margin (PDF). Read on to learn how to reduce refrigeration costs and increase your profits.refrigeration section in grocery store

  1. Upgrade anti-sweat controls. Newer refrigeration equipment comes with heaters to prevent condensation on the glass. New anti-sweat controls that regulate these heaters can be easily installed and reduce the energy use of each cold case by 70 percent.
  2. The paper test. Energy can also be lost through worn refrigeration seals. To test a seal, try to slip a piece of paper under your refrigerator and freezer doors. If it slides under the door, it’s time to replace the seal.
  3. Install strip curtains. Loading docks and freezer doors put a huge strain on refrigeration, ventilation and cooling systems. Strip curtains can reduce unwanted air flow and energy costs.
  4. Electronically Commutated Motors (ECMs). Replace traditional refrigeration fan systems with ECMs that regulate fan speed and can cut energy use by 65 percent.
  5. Use LED display lighting. Replace fluorescent tubes with more energy-efficient LED strips in refrigerated cases. This can help reduce your energy use by 60 percent. LEDs are ideal for refrigeration because, unlike fluorescents, they give off little heat and last longer in colder environments.
  6. Refrigeration location. For energy savings, place refrigeration equipment away from warm exterior walls and windows or from other heat-producing equipment and leave five inches of room behind the refrigerator for air to flow.
  7. Replace open air refrigeration. Improve consumer confidence by keeping perishables behind glass door displays and save as much as 84 percent in energy use with closed door refrigeration models.
  8. Upgrade old refrigeration systems. Refrigeration systems more than 10 years old have high energy costs. Replace your old system with an ENERGY STAR-certified product and save between $150 and $1,100 on energy costs over its lifetime.
  9. GreenChill. Certain refrigerants have strong ozone depletion effects. Join EPA’s GreenChill Partnership and receive assistance to transition to environmentally friendlier refrigerants by eliminating leaks, adopting new green refrigerant technologies and following best environmental practices.
  10. Energy efficiency incentives. Visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency to find other financing and incentives for energy efficient refrigeration upgrades. Missouri’s sales tax holiday for energy efficient appliances, which runs annually from April 19–25, is a good place to start.


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