HVAC and refrigeration account for most of the energy usage of businesses in the food retail, food processing, and wholesale food industries. Cutting excess energy usage can add up to a lot of savings.
In fact, effective refrigeration equipment maintenance alone can cut energy usage by 15%. Upgrading, replacing, and rationalizing refrigeration equipment can save another 40%. Below are five simple steps that can lead to some huge energy savings:
1. Upgrade to the latest tech.
Smart thermostats. A simple upgrade with a big advantage: Smart thermostats can be controlled remotely through a smart device, so there’s no need to worry about forgetting to adjust them before closing up for the holidays.
Zoned HVAC systems. Many food industry businesses have rooms that require different temperature levels. Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRFs) and ductless mini-split systems provide the advantage of multiple temperature zones. The main system controls individual air handlers for each zone, detecting each zone’s refrigerant requirements and distributing accordingly. VRF systems are the most energy-efficient HVAC systems.
2. Run fans.
Whether it’s an office, a warehouse, a kitchen or a product display area, running fans is an easy, inexpensive way to keep air circulating and reduce the demands on HVAC units.
3. Cool the necessary stuff.
This one is simple. Only refrigerate the products and quantities that need refrigeration.
4. Don’t over cool.
There’s no need to cool perishable stock below necessary cooling levels. Set freezers and refrigerators to precise temperatures.
5. Use natural refrigerant.
This involves refitting and or replacing refrigeration systems engineered to use synthetic refrigerants that contribute to global warming and ozone depletion such as R-134 and R-122. Units engineered to use natural refrigerants such as ammonia, carbon dioxide, and hydrocarbons are more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.