Energy efficiency is a topic on everybody’s lips right now, thanks to not only the UK Government’s net-zero target of 2050, but more recently because of spiralling energy costs affecting both personal and business finances of most of the population.
As we are continually presented with a range of options to keep our homes as energy efficient as possible, how is this being explored in the industrial world?
For businesses where temperature-controlled storage is paramount within the manufacturing process or for extending the shelf life of perishable goods, there are considerations that can be investigated when constructing or upgrading a cold store facility. Let’s break it down:
A well-thought-out cold room envelope design can minimise potential temperature loss through doors and openings. A ‘box within a box’ approach or incorporating airlocks into the design can create ambient voids between the controlled environment and the outside area, while door interlocking can resolve heat gain.
A cold store’s design, combined with the specification of materials in its make-up, should be considered first and foremost as part of new-build temperature-controlled projects.
The evolution of the insulated panel system has seen continuous improvements in its sustainability contributions.
For new cold storage projects, selecting a system with consideration to U-values will aid the overall thermal efficiency and lifespan of the room. Meanwhile, for existing builds, booking an inspection with a trusted contractor will identify where improvements can be made through the replacement of panels.
Considering the type of doors to integrate into the cold store can also contribute to the energy efficiency of the overall facility. Electing high-speed over low-speed operations allow personnel to get in and out without losing too much of the internal temperature, while automatic settings reduce the possibility of human error.
Retrospectively changing doors or upgrading speed settings can be easily achieved when looking to improve an existing facility.
With the phasing out of HFCs in refrigerants already in place, refrigeration technology is continually moving in a more sustainable direction. A reliable industrial refrigeration contractor should recommend a solution that not only meets the temperature requirements of the cold room but has energy efficiency as a consideration.
There is also opportunity to integrate heat recovery systems in order to recycle warm air generated by refrigeration plant and utilise this to heat other areas of the building. While more expensive upfront, the rewards are reaped through operational cost savings over the equipment’s lifespan.
Maintenance & Inspections
A regular maintenance and inspection programme of the cold store envelope and its refrigeration system is paramount to prolong performance. Ensuring that accidental panel damage from moving vehicles or general wear-and-tear is repaired at the earliest opportunity removes the possibility of long-term temperature loss.
Engaging with a refrigeration contractor as part of a maintenance schedule also keeps the cooling equipment healthy but reduces downtime in the long run.
Quality Over Quantity
It’s important to note that the saying ‘quality over quantity’ should be kept in mind when it comes to cold store construction. Most builds will have a life span of 25+ years, so, yes, taking extra precautions may seem a large outlay in terms of costs right now, but future-proofing your business like this means that it will reap the benefits in years to come.
Thinking about the design-and-build of a new facility, or upgrading your existing area? Stancold’s 75 years of experience and consultative approach can ensure that energy efficiency is considered as part of our solution.
Have a chat with our team about your requirements through our contact form or by calling us on 0117 316 7000.
You may also be interested in our case studies…
- Independent Insulated Panel Inspection & Report Package for Dairy Producer, Wales
- Turnkey Frozen & Chilled Storage Package for Foodservice Provider, Kent
- Internal Fit-Out of Food Production Facility for Speciality Food Producer, Birmingham