OPINION: It’s not only the rigours of summer that refrigeration needs to stand up to

Oliver Rosevear, Energy and Environment Manager, Costa Coffee

Nothing works a refrigeration unit like the summer heat, but in today’s market it is essential that operators also pay attention to the energy it can save, writes Oliver Rosevear of Costa.

As we head into the height of summer, many customers are looking for a more cooling refreshment and lighter lunch at outlets across the country. Investing in the best refrigeration and air conditioning systems at this time of year is increasingly important, as customers naturally crave a refreshing soft drink inside a cool environment.

However, it is also vital that coffee shops and cafes meet this customer need with environmental concerns in mind.

Quality refrigeration is key to ensuring that products remain at an optimum temperature, but selecting a system that does this without using excess energy is a positive and responsible approach to take.

At Costa, we continually review our refrigeration systems to ensure optimum operational efficiencies. At our last review we installed a new specification — the Electrolux Eco Store — that was 46% more efficient than some of its rivals.

Not only did this change reduce our energy use — both cutting costs and helping us to reach our CSR targets — but the new refrigeration system reduced the heat pumped into the back of house and thus reduced the demand for air conditioning units.

In order to make our air conditioning more energy efficient while keeping our stores cool, we also trialled Mitsubishi’s IO Controller in 2010 — the first company to do so. The system saved 30% in energy usage versus the traditional units we had previously installed and we have now adopted Mitsubishi’s IO Controller in all new stores.

Although both refrigeration and air conditioning systems should be a top priority for businesses who are looking to improve their energy efficiency this summer, it is also important to educate your team members about ways in which they can contribute towards a more efficient kitchen and store.

This is why at Costa we support the ‘Close the Door Campaign’, which encourages our teams to implement a closed-door policy, ensuring that energy is saved and the cool environments in the kitchen and store are preserved.

Investing in quality, energy efficient refrigeration and air conditioning equipment this summer will ensure that your products retain their cool freshness during the warmer weather.

Energy efficient methods will also cut costs and contribute towards the CSR aims of your business, while improving the customer experience.

Oliver Rosevear is Costa Coffee Energy and Environment Manager at Whitbread, the UK’s largest hotel, restaurant and coffee shop operator.

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