Supermarket chains face growing pressure to reduce the amount of energy they expend through refrigeration and specify equipment that limits damage to the environment.
It was revealed recently that supermarket refrigeration uses a massive 1% of Britain’s electricity, with a large part of this blamed on refrigeration units that don’t have doors and are constantly open.
While most supermarkets are now paying close attention to their carbon footprints, more than 30,000 UK citizens have signed a petition urging the government to ban open fridges and freezers in all retail outlets.
Campaigners argue that supermarkets could cut energy usage by 25% just by having doors on refrigeration equipment.
The move has led to refrigeration supplier Capital Cooling offering supermarkets the option of free glass doors when they purchase its Galaxy integral multidecks, which come in five sizes.
Capital Cooling CEO, Steve Steadman, said: “Extensive research and development has allowed us to offer full glass doors, which are available in both hinged and sliding, as a free option on all of our Galaxy Multideck models.
“We are working hard to continually add value to our products and our customers, rather than removing features to keep costs down – and the free multideck doors are now more important than ever. We believe that as a refrigeration manufacturer we have a big part to play in helping to reverse the effects that chillers and freezers have on the environment.”
The petition currently gaining signatures states that if all supermarkets had doors on their fridges and freezes, it would be the energy-saving equivalent of the entire population of Poland – underscoring the extent of energy that is being wasted every single day.
Mr Steadman noted that all companies above a certain size will need to declare their greenhouse gas footprint from next year, making it a good time for supermarkets to evaluate their refrigeration infrastructure.
Capital Cooling says tests on its Galaxy integral multidecks show that energy consumption drops by more than 50% with the addition of doors.
The petition to ban energy-wasting open fridges and freezers in all retail outlets needs 100,000 signatures for it to be considered for debate in Parliament.
In July, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy issued its response to the petition. The full response read:
“Government is taking action to improve product energy efficiency. Our minimum performance standards remove inefficient products from the market, and labelling raises awareness of the best ones.
“Minimum energy performance standards, otherwise known as Ecodesign regulations, are technology neutral so do not prescribe that manufacturers should increase efficiency by putting doors on appliances.
“Rather they set a minimum energy efficiency limit that all manufacturers placing products on the market must meet.
“The legislation therefore leaves it up to the manufacturer as to how they meet the requirements, which could include but is not restricted to putting doors on fridges.
“These regulations have recently been updated at a European level to take account of additional energy efficiency potential, following an extensive process of consultation, analysis, and stakeholder engagement.
“The UK participated actively and fully in these negotiations.
“The new energy efficiency standards alongside a new energy label for commercial refrigerated appliances are due to take effect from 2021 and allows businesses and consumers to choose the most efficient appliances.
“In 2020, the ecodesign policy overall is estimated to save around 8 MtCO2 and £100 on bills for the average dual-fuel household whilst also yielding a Net Present Value (NPV) to the UK of £16bn (2015-30)
“In addition, net energy savings of implementing the commercial refrigeration policy is estimated to be around 6 TWh between 2021 and 2040, equivalent to approximately 800 kt Carbon Dioxide equivalent (CO2e).
“The new regulations consider how the market will mature over the coming years in terms of technological improvements and other major factors such as the environmental impact.
“It also now sets requirements on material efficiency obligations on features such as repairability, dismantlability and recyclability to reduce their overall environmental impact.
“The Government also supports the uptake of highly energy-efficient refrigerated display cabinets by the retail sector through the Energy Technology List Scheme. The Energy Technology List is the UK Government’s register of energy saving commercial products.
“Retailers can identify some of the best performing refrigerated display units or the curtains, blinds, doors and covers for refrigerated display cases from products listed on the Energy Technology List.”