While commercial refrigeration is among the most energy-intensive of appliances in a professional kitchen, a considered approach to design and specification will not only keep produce fresher for longer but reduce running costs and improve sustainability. Here’s how:
1) Energy Savings
Put simply, a more energy-efficient commercial fridge or freezer is typically going to have lower operating costs than a less efficient one. The easiest way of finding out the efficiency of the model is to look at its energy label. This will display important information such as its energy class (which is ranks appliances from A+++ to G), as well as its Climate Class and annual energy consumption (kWh/annum).
2) Cost Savings
With professional kitchens among the most exposed to the volatility of the current energy market, efficient appliances can go some way to offsetting the sustained spike in utility bills. However, the cost price of a commercial fridge or freezer should always be considered alongside its total cost of ownership. While more efficient models may require a bigger upfront investment, their lower operating costs may keep the overall cost of running the appliance down throughout its operational life.
3) Optimal food preservation
With utility unit prices at record levels, professional kitchens are under pressure to maintain margin wherever they can. Minimizing food waste is a top priority, and commercial refrigeration has an important role to play. For example, the Electrolux Professional ecostore Premium range of refrigerated cabinets and counters benefits from OptiFlow: an intelligent air circulation system that adapts the cooling load to the available capacity and maintains the temperature regardless of how many times the door is opened and closed. Ultimately, this helps keep food fresher for longer.
Another important feature to consider is Climate Class. This indicates a commercial refrigerator’s ability to correctly preserve food in different working conditions by maintaining a uniform internal temperature. With professional kitchens often reaching high ambient operating temperatures, operators should only consider appliances rated to Climate Class 4 (‘normal duty’: 30°C / 55% relative humidity) or Climate Class 5 (‘heavy duty’: 40°C / 40% relative humidity).
4) Environmental benefits
One final benefit of energy-efficient commercial refrigeration is its environmental impact. Not only do more efficient models use less energy, but they often use of more environmentally friendly materials. Indeed, all Electrolux Professional ecostore models, make use of cyclopentane in the insulation foam, and hydrocarbons such as R290 as the refrigerant gas.
Compared to hydrofluorocarbon ‘greenhouse gasses’ such as R404A and R134a, which have traditionally been used in commercial refrigeration appliances, hydrocarbons have a much lower global warming potential (GWP). Moreover, commercial refrigeration appliances which contained HFCs with a GWP of 150 or more were banned from being sold in the European Union from 1st January 2022.
Ultimately, the more efficient the commercial refrigerator, the greater the benefits. Whether that be lower energy consumption, utility bills, food waste or global warming potential, investing in the most efficient model you can afford will go a long way to improving the operation of a professional kitchen.