Energy (and money) Saving Tips for Your Walk-in

steel walk-in coolerHere are some ways to help you save energy costs on your walk-in refrigerator or walk-in freezer.

  • Properly seal all penetrations in walk-in.
  • Replace worn or damaged door seals.
  • Periodically, check gaskets between panels to make sure they are not cracked or weathered. If so, check with your local health codes for the correct procedure to follow as far as repair and replacement.
  • Do not prop door open for an extended period of time.
  • Add strip curtains or air curtains to your walk-in for extra protection from air infiltration when door is open.
  • Make sure the lights are off when exiting the walk-in. Lights produce heat, which will cause your unit to run more to hold its optimal temperature.
  • Make sure there is nothing stacked around the coil to restrict airflow.
  • Make sure fan motors are balanced and running at optimum speed. Clean fan blades to reduce drag.
  • Use an evaporator with an EC Motor.
  • Install refrigeration away from doors.
  • Keep condenser coils clean.
  • Utilize Smart Defrost Kits.
  • Set defrost frequency at minimum requirements.

Smart Defrost Kit for Walk-in Refrigeration

Make your refrigeration smart and save money by adding a Smart Defrost Kit (SDK) to your walk-in refrigeration system. SDK decreases the amount of defrost cycles in commercial walk-in refrigeration units by 30-40%. Typical electrical defrost refrigeration systems are scheduled to defrost at regular intervals, which is not always the most efficient or safe way. For applications where food safety is critical such as restaurants, convenience stores and grocery stores, the SDK works to protect perishable products as well as enables refrigeration systems to operate more efficiently, ultimately saving you money. All systems are different, which is why SDK takes time to study your system and helps decrease energy costs by keeping the box temperatures consistent. The SDK works by using temperature and pressure sensors to constantly monitor the system.

sdk-kitClick here for more information on Smart Defrost Kits.

Check out their savings calculator that demonstrates how much money you could save by installing a Smart Defrost Kit.

Cooler Insulation- Extruded Polystyrene Vs. Polyurethane

U.S. Cooler manufactures walk-in coolers and freezers employing both Polyurethane and Extruded Polystyrene. Through testing and years of experience we maintain that extruded polystyrene insulation is superior for use in walk-in coolers and freezers. Polystyrene has many characteristics that prove it to be the best insulation material for walk-ins. The two main insulating foams found in walk-ins are Extruded Polystyrene and Polyurethane. Each insulation has differentiating characteristics and should be optimized for the specific application.

Polystyrene is a dense closed-cell structure that is very resistant to moisture and holds its R-Value longer than other competing insulations found in walk-ins, such as Polyurethane. This allows less water infiltration in the insulation, which in turn saves energy and money. When water starts seeping into the insulation’s pores, the R-value drops dramatically causing the refrigeration to work harder to hold its respective temperature. Refrigeration working overtime means higher energy bills. Polystyrene is less water vapor permeable; therefore, water vapor does not infiltrate through the material as quickly or easily as it does other insulating materials.Using studies performed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (CRREL), U.S. Cooler demonstrated extruded polystyrene saved consumers over $5,000 in energy costs over the first five years of operation. The savings again are due to extruded polystyrene’s ability to resist moisture and to retain its R-value better than other insulators.

Polystyrene used in walk-in coolers and freezers is made from “at least 20% pre-consumer recycled polystyrene.” (Owens Corning, Technical Bulletin: Recycle Content Claims Must be Reliable and Verifiable) Polystyrene found in walk-ins is also 100% recyclable. Manufacturing companies that produce these insulation materials, reproduce the resources in new insulation material. Alternatively, it is important to note that Polyurethane is produced from chemicals and is not made from any recycled materials nor can it be recycled or reused.

Polystyrene in walk-in coolers and freezers is the most cost effective and environmentally friendly insulation used in walk-ins today. Not only is polystyrene in walk-ins made with recycled materials and is 100% recyclable but it is energy efficient and can save a great deal of money in energy costs and reduce carbon footprint over the life-cycle of the walk-in.

Heart to Heart Cold Storage Unit

Heart to Heart International Inc., a leading global humanitarian organization, has installed a U.S. Cooler cold-storage unit on Saturday, January 24, 2009, at its Global Distribution Center in Kansas City, KS. The 14,000—cubic-foot, refrigerated unit is expected to store life-saving medications, such as insulin, for Heart to Heart’s local and global health initiatives. Much of the hardware and labor was donated by local businesses.
“Without the support of several charitable companies, this day might never have come,” said Jon D. North, Heart to Heart’s CEO. “Now we can deliver life-saving medicines requiring cold storage more efficiently to under served people in Kansas City, in the United States and almost anywhere in the world.”
U.S. Cooler is very gracious for the opportunity from CFM Distributors to contribute to Heart to Heart’s mission.

Department of Energy Meeting

The Department of Energy (DOE) has begun the first step in developing a standardized testing procedure for energy efficiency requirements in walk-in coolers and freezers. On February 4, 2009, the Department of Energy held a public meeting to discuss the proposed standardized testing process. In the Energy Independence and Securities Act of 2007 (EISA), it states there must be a performance-based standard for walk-in coolers and freezers in place by January 1, 2012. This requirement was one of the main topics presented at the meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to familiarize interested parties with the approach and analytical tools that DOE anticipates using in the future. DOE proposed a preliminary document describing their plans for regulating energy efficiency in walk-ins. The meeting provided an opportunity for feedback and comments on the Framework Document.

Ellis Craig (Owner) and Luke Craig (VP of Operations) represented U.S. Cooler by attending the meeting in Washington, D.C. at the beginning of February. The meeting represented just the beginning steps of arriving at a standardized testing method for the walk-in cooler and freezer industry.

There Needs to be a Walk-In Cooler and Freezer Certification Program

The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) warns that the new walk-in cooler and freezer law could hurt manufacturers. The problem with the new law is that there is no enforcement mechanism built in, so a non-compliant company can manufacture walk-ins using their same old inferior panels and methods and beat compliant manufactures on price.

To address this issue, AHRI is launching an initiative to educate distributors, installers, and equipment owners about the new standard and its requirements. The association has developed a simple checklist that installers and equipment owners can use to make sure the walk-in cooler or freezer being specified or installed complies with federal law.

In addition to customer education, manufacturers believe the solution is the development of a certification program for walk-in coolers and freezers that would clearly identify those units that have been independently tested to verify they achieve a federally established minimum performance rating.

AHRI said the federal government is working with industry to develop a testing methodology for this equipment by 2010. In addition, a final rule is expected to be adopted in January 2012 that will establish a performance-based standard.

The full article can be found here.