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Putting a freeze on energy costs

22 February 2011

Shaun Evers, MD at Stonegate Instruments, explains the importance of using products in cold stores to support energy efficiency

Refrigeration energy costs the British industry around £300 million a year and in the food and drink sector, it accounts for a significant proportion of overall site energy costs.

And it is estimated that between 10 and 20% of a site’s annual energy bill could be saved by using technologies to improve the energy efficiency of refrigeration units. With an average site energy bill of over £0.5 million, such a large saving becomes very significant.

Research carried out by Stonegate Instruments, a company that develops a range of energy saving equipment specifically for use in the food industry, when monitoring one frozen food cold room for one week revealed some interesting data:
 a total of 226 visits were made, with an average of 32 visits per day
 the maximum time the cold room door was left open was 53 minutes
 the maximum time between visits to the cold room was three hours
 the average time between visits was 17 minutes
 the door was open for more than 30 minutes five times a week

The statistics demonstrate the huge risk that wasting energy from cold room doors can pose.

One simple solution to the ever-increasing problem of refrigeration doors being left open for long periods of time, wasting energy and causing food products to perish, is for companies to install a simple, but effective, Door Open Alarm System.

Using a Door Open Alarm system with a large and loud warning device, flashing Xenon Beacon and up to two 100dB sounders will provide both audible and visual warnings that the door has been left open for an extended amount of time, when fitted to a cold room door. The alarm helps customers avoid major energy loss, damage to merchandise and the associated costs caused by leaving refrigeration doors open.

Installing a Door Open Alarm System ensures that companies take a proactive approach to energy loss and prevent food products from perishing. The system also makes staff aware of the fact that the door to a cold room has been left open, allowing them to react more quickly and close the door.

Much of the time a cold room is at maximum capacity and any further increases in temperature would potentially be damaging to the food being stored in them as well as the environment. The system therefore, provides companies with opportunities to save on food wastage and in turn reduce overall operating costs.

Apart from Door Open Alarms, there is a wide range of innovative energy saving equipment and devices that have been specifically developed for use in the food industry.

In a bid to maintain system efficiency and provide companies with opportunities to save and reduce energy wastage when temperature monitoring, a Compact Digital Thermometer can be easily installed at the entrance to a cold store or near equipment that needs to be monitored.

As operators need to avoid an actual rise in the temperature of a cold room in order to meet refrigeration regulations, an easily visible thermometer allows the measurement of air temperature and for companies to, therefore, meets legal requirements.

One solution is to use a 3 digit thermometer designed to be used with a thermistor probe over a range of +/- 50.0˚C, which will constantly display the temperature whilst the probe and supply are connected.

Installing energy saving products, such as thermometers and compact digital alarms, from companies such as Stonegate Instruments, can ensure food processing companies increase efficiency and production whilst helping them in reduce their energy costs and carbon emissions.

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