Newsflash: it is possible to reduce operating costs and improve the customer experience and sales all at the same time!
In a nutshell, there is an opportunity for supermarkets to operate in a more sustainable way and improve energy efficiency (which leads to cost savings), just by integrating the design of their air conditioning and refrigeration systems with some clever engineering.
In a supermarket, refrigeration systems run 24/7 — summer and winter, rain or shine. The fridges keep some products cool and others frozen, constantly rejecting heat to outside and warding off warmth to keep the cabinets (and food) cold. This takes a lot of energy and leads to high running costs, as well as the need for ongoing maintenance.
Beyond costs to the store owners, there are other downsides around customer experience. Fridge or cabinet windows covered in frost or condensation reduce potential sales as shoppers can’t make the necessary visual connection with the goods. Likewise, uncomfortably cold areas in refrigerated product aisles cause shoppers to hurry through these sections, purchasing less than they would if they could stroll through at a leisurely pace.
From our engineering design experience, we see missed opportunities with the current refrigeration systems of many supermarkets. These include:
- The ability to recover heat rejected by refrigeration systems over the winter months to use as a heat source for the air con systems (meaning less energy needed to create and pump warm air throughout the supermarket for shopper comfort)
- The missed opportunity to use cool outside air for free cooling over the shoulder seasons (avoiding having to run expensive air con systems full-time)
- A lack of humidity control, which causes condensation or ice on freezer cabinet doors and ultimately reduces the efficiency of refrigeration systems.
In reworking supermarket refrigeration systems, supermarkets stand to:
- Maximise energy efficiency
- Improve plant operation and reliability
- Achieve a better customer experience
- Increase shopper sales and provide better financial returns
If you’re interested to know more, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for friendly, no-obligation advice on your refrigeration situation.