Do you regard coldrooms as little more than large refrigerated storage spaces that don’t really vary by supplier? If so, you could be specifying the wrong solution entirely and driving up operational costs in the process. James Connolly, business development manager at Celltherm Coldrooms, reveals how operators can sort the coldroom wheat from the chaff.
What sort of trends are defining the coldroom market?
The need for lower running costs and better planning and consideration of refrigeration systems has been driving enquiries for us. A rush of glass doors, meat curing rooms and vision panels are more than popular, too. Stainless steel has seen a stronger return to the market where discerning operators are keen to make the coldroom a strong feature of their kitchen with a very high level of finish.
What are the most important things to bear in mind when designing a coldroom into a site?
There are quite a few important things to consider when designing or planning a coldroom into a site. The layout of the shelving interior is important. The majority of manufacturers buy standard modular shelving, which rarely fills the entire coldroom (wall to wall) and leaves large gaps, wasting internal space which tends to be a premium in a coldroom. Celltherm Coldrooms’ Coolrack Shelving system is designed to match its modular sizes and there is little if no wasted space within the interior of the coldroom.
Does the choice and location of refrigeration systems make a difference?
Yes, all coldroom refrigeration systems should ideally be designed as remote sited, air-cooled and low noise. Remote condensing units will keep additional heat out of a site and make the coldroom system more efficient as regards electricity. Low noise refrigeration systems operate at low dBa ratings, which offer a reduction in noise pollution and allow installation in built-up areas close to housing without causing a nuisance.
Insulation thickness directly governs the size of the refrigeration equipment that’s needed to keep the temperature of the coldroom correct”
How much attention should foodservice operators pay to the thickness of the insulation?
Insulation thickness directly governs the size of the refrigeration equipment that’s needed to keep the coldroom temperature of the coldroom correct. The thicker the insulation is, the smaller the refrigeration system and the inevitable lower running costs that go with smaller systems.
Insulation thickness directly governs the size of the refrigeration equipment that’s needed to keep the temperature of the coldroom correct”What do you think are the biggest misconceptions or mistruths when it comes to choosing or purchasing coldrooms?
The taller and bigger the coldroom, the more you can store in it. That is a typical misconception given that without effectively-designed shelving systems, a significant portion of the room can be given up as wasted space. Another is that all coldrooms must have a fire rating for building regulations. The majority of coldrooms don’t need a fire rating unless the coldroom is a major storage area where operatives are working inside or where the room forms part of the building structure, such as bulk pallet stores.
What is the best piece of advice you would give to an operator in terms of helping them maximise their coldroom investment and get the most from their unit?
The best advice I can offer is to not buy a coldroom purely on price! Get some good advice from a dedicated coldroom company such as Celltherm (someone who manufactures and not just installs other equipment). Cheap coldrooms are exactly what they are: cheap! Also, never look at a new coldroom, look at an old one — at least seven to 10 years old. New ones look nice and shiny. Older ones tell you how long that brand is likely to last under use. Finally, buy a remote low noise refrigeration system. It costs more initially but it will save you a lot more money in the long run through lower energy bills and better reliability.