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Improve energy efficiency of your chillers and refrigeration systems with our energy-saving guidance.

Ice cubes: advice on energy efficient refrigeration

For some organisations refrigeration costs can represent over 50 per cent of their energy bill. A modern and energy-efficient refrigeration system will help save you money. But you don't need to buy any new equipment - just following some simple advice can deliver big energy savings. We recommend the following carbon and cost saving refrigeration measures:

1. Reduce wastage

Minimise the money you need to spend on refrigeration by reducing the heat loads on your systems. You can do this by reducing air infiltration e.g. by improving door management, using night blinds or strip curtains, and switching off lights in the cooled space. In larger systems, you can reduce heat loads by using free cooling, raising process temperatures and improving control of auxiliary equipment such as pumps and fans.

2. Temperature control

Only cool to the temperature you need - every 1°C saved could reduce your energy consumption by two per cent.

3. Maintenance

Well-maintained refrigeration systems almost always use significantly less energy. Make sure you regularly service your units, as well as checking that condensers and evaporators are kept clean and fans and defrost systems are working correctly. For example, poor maintenance can increase condensing temperature or reduce evaporating temperature by several degrees, resulting in an increase in energy use of up to 10%.

4. Temperature control

Don't overdo the refrigeration. You can save money by only cooling a unit down to the temperature you need.

5. Keep doors closed

Make sure doors aren't left open for longer than absolutely necessary. This sounds simple, but means that loading and unloading tasks have to be carefully organised.

Also, make sure all the doors on a unit have well-fitting seals that are fully intact.

6. Don't overfill

A unit will be most efficient if it is not overfilled (there has to be room for the cool air to circulate). Product should not block the grilles at the front of a retail display cabinet or obstruct the airflow to and from the coolers in cold rooms, as this will increase energy consumption and compromise food temperatures. For example, overloading display cabinets can increase their energy consumption by up to 20%.

7. Location of unit

Where possible, keep your refrigeration units far away from any sources of heat (including direct sunlight) and draughts. For example, severe draughts can increase the energy consumption of open fronted display cabinets by up to 95%.

You'll need to leave space around the unit's vents so it can draw in and expel air.

8. Lighting control

Make sure any lights inside the unit are switched off when it's not in use or outside of trading hours.

9. Temperature management

Make sure the product loaded into your display cabinets or cold rooms hasn't warmed up by being left in an ambient temperature area.

10. Condenser cleaning

Make sure the condenser of any integral display cabinets is kept clean. This will help it last longer, consume less energy and chill faster. You can use a soft brush or a vacuum cleaner to remove all dust and debris, taking care not to damage the unit. You won't need a refrigeration contractor for this.


Refrigeration guide

refrigeration guide cover 01 (2)

This overview introduces the opportunities available to businesses to reduce energy use and the emissions associated with refrigeration systems. Our 18-page guide aims to support the understanding of refrigerant systems, how savings can be delivered and the regulation relevant to this topic area.

This guide will be useful for all businesses looking to control their energy costs and is particularly aimed at SMEs.

Guide contents:

  • Introduction
  • Refrigerated display cabinets
  • Cold rooms
  • Compressors
  • Condensers
  • Evaporators
  • Heat recovery
  • Refrigerant leakage and regulation
  • Your next steps
  • Go online for more information

Publication date: October 2019; Publication code CTV076

Information in this guide was correct at the time of publication

Download the guide:

An Introduction to Refrigeration - Green Business Fund Technology Webinar

The below webinar, presented by an expert from the Technology and Delivery team at the Carbon Trust, explains to businesses the benefits of this technology as well as covering some example case studies and information on how to apply to the Green Business Fund for those that are eligible.

Webinar recorded 29 June 2017


Refrigeration guidance

We have the following refrigeration publications available for free download:

Energy efficiency support

If you'd like to improve energy efficiency of your organisation, see our services to find out how we can help.  This includes financing and implementation support for organisations seeking to invest in energy efficient equipment.

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