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Efficient Cooling of Beverages and Food in the Commercial Sector

You can save several thousand euros with efficient appliances over their lifetime

Appliances for the cooling of food and beverages are widely used in the service sector and are also found in large numbers in the food trade, in catering and the transport sector (train stations, airports, etc.).

Despite the enormous diffusion of commercial refrigerators and freezers in different areas of application, the energy consumption and the associated operating costs have so far been given relatively little attention. The vast majority of appliances in use today are therefore not energy efficient and result in unnecessary high costs for commercial users. Unlike for domestic refrigerators, an efficient product design has not yet been enforced in the field of commercial refrigeration. Thus, for commercial users, it is even more important and worthwhile to purchase energy efficient appliances during the procurement phase.

Through the use of efficient appliances in the hospitality sector, savings of anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 euros (in extreme cases) can be realised over the life span of each unit. In larger restaurants and hotels with extensive bar areas and kitchens, a considerable amount of costs can be saved due to the large number of appliances in use. There are also potential savings for minibars (see the following table for examples of savings).

Even today, commercial fridges and freezers in the food trade and service sector consume on average an unnecessary amount of energy and are thus very inefficient. This is especially true for open appliances without doors or lids. In the food trade sector, it was the long-standing view that closed appliances posed a significant barrier for consumers. In the meantime, however, many supermarket chains have gradually replaced their open shelves and freezer islands with closed refrigeration units. Furthermore, individual appliances such as fridges and chest freezers are now equipped with glass lids or glass doors. The table below illustrates the dramatic savings, resulting from the use of closed units on the one hand and through opting for highly efficient appliances on the other hand. The cost savings, depending on the appliance type and on the product use cycle, amount to several thousand EUR.

For a beverage cooler with an approximate capacity of 340l over an utilisation of 8 years, the energy costs amount to 6,947 euros for the open shelf model compared to 2,230 euros for the closed glass door model. However, the potential savings are still not exhausted. In case closed appliances are already in use, one can still save considerable energy if energy efficient appliances are chosen. Thus, over a service period of 8 years of a very efficient beverage cooler, savings of approximately €

1,350 can be achieved; for freezers, the savings potential amount to approximately € 3,000 over their service life.

Comparison of open and closed beverage cooler as well as top-efficient appliances

Open Cooler (inefficient) Typical glass door cooler High efficient glass door cooler
Refrigerant R404A (climatedamaging) R134A (climatedamaging) R600a (climatefriendly)
Net capacity 324 liters 350 liters 346 liters
Energy consumption kWh/year 6,753 2,168 859
Electricity costs for 8 years (Euro) 6,947 2,230 884

Similar savings of thousand to several thousand euros can be realised for fridge and freezers in the hospitality sector.

Consumers should also be aware of the environmentally-harmful effects of certain refrigerants that are used in appliances. Environmentally-friendly refrigerants with very low greenhouse gas potential, such as R600 (isobutane) and R290 (propane), have been in use for a long time in household refrigerating appliances. It is high time that such "green" refrigerants are also demanded for commercial refrigeration appliances. The following table provides an overview of the main refrigerant. The data shows that common refrigerants, such as R134a and R404a, have up to four thousand times more greenhouse gas potential than natural refrigerants.

Refrigerant Greenhouse gas potential compared to CO2
R134a 1430 high
R404A 3990
R290 (propane) 3 low
R600a (isobutane) 3
R744 (CO2) 1







What is the best way of finding energy efficient, environmentally-friendly appliances for commercial use?

So far, this remains an unanswered question for procurement managers. Unlike the case for domestic refrigerators, there is no international regulation for a uniform energy consumption declaration in place. A corresponding energy label is currently still under development. Reliable information on energy consumption has thus far only been offered through independent information services (platforms) in different EU countries, especially in connection with funding programs.

Link to product list: Beverage Coolers