TECHNOLOGICAL advances can be exciting and fascinating but it can also take a fair bit of work to keep on top of all a busy industry’s developments.
So are retailers really up for saving money on energy costs and, as a result, doing their bit for the planet as well?
“Everyone’s up for saving money on energy, everyone,” said Paul Jordon, managing director of shopfitting, refrigeration and air conditioning company The Jordon Group.
But it’s important to find out how that can best be done in different scenarios. Developments in controlling energy use, especially in refrigeration, have been substantial in recent years.
But, as in many industries, the great majority of users will have to wait until a technology with a proven benefit reaches adequate levels of production to bring prices down to affordable levels.
In recent times there have been developments in refrigeration, both in cabinets (with the addition of very efficient doors, better management of airflow and significant improvement in LED lighting) and in remote compressors and motors that are yielding remarkable results.
“If you have say an open-deck fridge that’s eight years old and you change it to a modern cabinet with doors you’ll probably be saving more than 60% of your energy. By next year or so that could be as much as 75%. Think about it three-quarters of your cost,” Jordon said
Some people still want different styles of fridge for different applications. Modern open-deck fridges will be more efficient than older models.
There are lots of ways that energy can be saved and it’s a question of knowing what each can do and choosing appropriately, he explained.
“You can fit doors to existing cabinets and that will save you money.
“But then at some point you should think of the remote compressor, the motor that’s running your fridges,” he said.
Recent years have seen developments in scroll, digital scroll and inverter equipment.
“The great things about those is that they are what we call scalable. They can run a small fridge or a large fridge, they can run several fridges say 10, or just one, and you only use what you need.”
Marry that flexibility to timers on fridges for items like beer, wine and soft drinks and you can achieve significant extra savings.
If you’re installing equipment check out the Carbon Trust website for ECA-listed equipment so you can compare energy efficiency, he says.
And don’t forget maintenance. It can make a tremendous difference but many independent retailers don’t realise that. He’d recommend professional maintenance at least twice a year unless a shop is really rather quiet.
And a good maintenance provider should also be able to tell you what to do between sessions that won’t put anyone at any risk but will help maximise efficiency and help also avoid problems building up.