Commercial and Industrial Refrigeration 

Starting at the smaller end of the technology one of the main items of refrigeration equipment I find all the time, in pubs, hotels and restaurants is the bottle cooler – single door, double door, mostly located under-counter – they all tend to have one thing in common and that is 24/7 operation.  In 99 cases out of 100 this is not necessary and wastes electricity cooling product when there is no demand. 

It is pretty simple to fit a timer on these units to automatically switch them off when the pub for example is closed (usually at least 10-hours in every 24).

Look an an average bar with 2 double door under-counter coolers like this running at 175W each over 10 hours you will be wasting almost 2kW of electricity costing you £80-90/year.

A timer will cost you £10-15 from B and Q – this makes sense doesn’t it?  

Now the trick here is to apply timed management in a sensible fashion – so, bottle coolers no problem. 

If you keep fresh cream in your cooler however – and many pubs / hotels do – you’ll need to educate your staff to take the perishable stuff out and put it in a fridge in the kitchen! 

It isn’t difficult but it may need a wee culture change.

Fit your refrigeration units with timers where possible

So where else can we apply this revolutionary thinking? 

How about Vending Machines – do they really need to be fully powered 24/7?  Soft Drinks line chillers like the one pictured below – all bars have them and they all stay on 24/7 but the manufacturers own technical chap has told me that this is not necessary and they can happily be turned off at night saving anything from 0.8-1.5kW per hour depending on make and model.

Now, a wee word of caution – all this turning things off is great but you will need to make sure you educate yourself as to the time required for the equipment to achieve operating temperature once you turn it back on – but it is almost always going to be less time than you probably imagine.

Ok – onwards and upwards – what about cold-stores? Serious users of energy – serious opportunities for energy savings!

One of the major sources of “cold loss” in a cold store is through the door – check the seals – check the door isn’t left open for long periods – this applies particularly to hotel walk-in chiller cabinets as kitchen staff are notorious for leaving the door slightly ajar – we think it makes accessing the contents easier because after all those door handles are tricky to operate………..?????

Cold Store Entrance

Then there is the structure itself – probably the worst example I ever came across was in Trinidad where a major supermarket chain central cold-stores were constructed of concrete blocks with no insulated cladding whatsoever!  Seriously it was -32oC fighting against +28oC outside and only 9″ of concrete between those two temperature regions.  I regret to report that nothing was done about it however because electricity in Trinidad costs around 2.5p/kWh – I rather think if that had been here in the UK cladding would have been installed pronto.

Make sure that your cold store is properly loaded to allow for even distribution of air throughout the treated space – and if a cold store is poorly loaded think hard about using alternative facilities – I mean someone really should have been asking questions about the examples shown below before I ever got to site – all three conditioned spaces with chillers working away to cool very little – if anything useful.



Check the condition of the plant – evaporators covered in ice are not functioning correctly


Dirty condensors are not giving you efficient service.

Dirty Condensor Fins

These are all real photographs from real surveys that I have carried out over the past 2-3 years.

This looks nice doesn’t it – but the lights are permanently ON adding some 200W of heat energy to the load that the Evaporators are having to deal with – think about LED fittings or even LEDs plus lighting controls for maximum energy effectiveness. 

Dispatch Fridge

There is so much we can do to help cut your refrigeration costs – contact Stewart today.