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October 1, 2019 Preventative Maintenance

Monitoring Energy Use

for Refrigerators and Freezers in Commercial Kitchens

According to the ENERGY STAR® Small Business Restaurant Guide, restaurants use about 2.5 times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings.

Factors affecting energy use in both restaurant and non-commercial foodservice settings include the size of the kitchen, the number of meals served, the hours of operation, the number and type of appliances (including whether they are ENERGY STAR®-certified or not), as well as a number of other operational and design factors.

Refrigerating and Freezing for Foodservice Applications

Commercial refrigerators and freezers are two pieces of foodservice equipment that have an impact on a kitchen’s energy efficiency.

According to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, typical commercial refrigerators consume up to 17,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity while large commercial freezers consume up to 38,000 kilowatt-hours, resulting in high energy bills.

Commercial refrigerators and freezers are designed and tested to keep food at specific temperatures — at or below 40° F (4° C) for refrigerators and at or below 0° F (-18° C) for freezers. Hot kitchen environments, faulty seals and frequent door openings all impact the equipment’s efficiency. As cold air escapes, the appliance requires more energy to return it to its proper temperature.

Reducing Refrigerators and Freezers’ Energy Consumption

There are two main ways to keep refrigerator and freezer energy consumption down. The first is reducing the heat to your system. The longer the compressor is running, the more energy it uses ― and heat causes the compressor to turn on. The second way is to ensure that all the components are running efficiently.

Maintaining and repairing refrigeration equipment with 100% Genuine OEM parts is critical. Worn walk-in refrigerator gaskets, freezer doors that do not shut and dirty coils are all “energy leaks” that can drive up energy bills. ENERGY STAR mentions improved insulation and components such as high-efficiency compressors and motors as features of reach-in refrigerators and freezers that could potentially save energy.

Monitoring Refrigerators and Freezers

The National Restaurant Association’s 2018 edition of The State of Restaurant Sustainability indicates that energy-saving equipment and practices are common; six in 10 restaurant operators use programmable thermostats.

Because kitchen equipment performance changes over time, freezer and refrigeration units need to be recalibrated to stay efficient. Checking thermostats and control systems regularly ensures that they are running at the correct operating temperature.

Monitoring temperature distribution within the refrigerator or freezer confirms the unit’s storage quality. Also, recording temperature is the best way for optimizing the arrangement, load and energy consumption of a refrigerator or freezer.

Measurement Solutions from LoggerFlex

Worried about a breakdown, power failure, leak or a door left open — and the impact these incidents can have on both your operation and your energy use? A LoggerFlex bun may give you ease of mind and help you better manage the efficiency of your refrigerator and freezer equipment.

LoggerFlex “buns,” or data recorder-alarm hybrid systems, continually measure environmental parameters, such as temperature or relative humidity (RH), at desired intervals. If the temperature or RH exceeds or falls below the designated limit, operators receive a text message and email notification ― eliminating the need for manual monitoring. Using a LoggerFlex bun, the operator is notified if something goes wrong long before real damage happens to the storage.

This chart outlines which LoggerFlex bun is best suited for specific applications.

Measuring and logging temperature through an efficient environmental monitoring tool like LoggerFlex helps operators better manage their freezer and refrigerator equipment’s energy efficiency, while eliminating timely processes and the possibility of human error.

Learn more about energy savings through ENERGY STAR rebates for commercial foodservice equipment in this article and read about Heritage’s partnership with LoggerFlex in this announcement.


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