How to

19 October 2016

Cutting Electrical Expenditure in a Cold Storage Facility

Cold storage facilities are a vital component of a vital industry, there’s no denying that, but these artificially-sustained environments are far from cheap. The expense is felt both during the initial investment and installation, and also throughout the life of the facility in the form of running costs.

That being said, there are a few little tips and tricks you can apply in order to save a little cash. Some of these involve some simple operational practices, whereas others have to be planned for from the moment of installation. Let’s take a look at some of these cost-cutting measures.

Installation Tips

In walk-in refrigerators, set up either low temperature occupancy sensors or timed switches. This will save on energy used for lighting and reduce the compressor load.

Use of a walk-in refrigerator controller will save electricity by slowing down fans when full speed is not required.

Where moving refrigerant is involved, the type of compressor you opt for can make a massive difference. For example, scroll compressors are much more efficient than reciprocating compressors, and can reduce energy consumption by up to 20% comparatively.

Pay attention to your surroundings. Rooms and facilities immediately adjacent to the cold store will have an impact upon operational costs. This is due to the manner in which heat is transferred, which can mean that your refrigeration systems are working up to twice as hard as they typically should in order to offset the heat gain from outside sources. To solve this issue, proper insulation is a must.

Day-to-Day Operation

In order to minimise the loss of cold air, and also the intake of warmer air, consider setting specific intervals at which the door will be opened. This will have a minimal effect on operational efficiency whilst maintaining a more constant temperature within the cold room, which will have a positive knock-on effect when it comes to your electricity bill. Also take the time to ensure that all doors are properly sealed after entering or exiting the facility.

Capacity is important. In order to operate at optimal efficiency, try to keep your refrigerators filled to at least 60% of total capacity, and freezers filled to 75%. This will help the system to stay cold and to cycle less.

When loading or unloading in or out of the facility for an extended period of time, shut the refrigerator down. This may sound counter-intuitive, but attempting to cool down an unsealed room as stock moves in and out is an exercise in wasted resources. Try to load the stock in batches where possible.

Pay close attention to your operating temperatures. Most products will have a recommended temperature range for storage, so try to stick to this as much as possible. Lowering the temperature too much will not only create an unnecessary expense, but with certain products it could also affect the quality.


Without proper maintenance, you will soon find that your facility starts to decline in terms of efficiency. There are many potential causes of this, so a carefully thought out and adhered to inspection and maintenance schedule is crucial to the longevity of your business. In terms of energy efficiency, of particular note are the various seals, catches, hinges and the like to be found within the facility. These are prone to deterioration over time, and as they are largely responsible for preventing the loss of cold air and the intake of warmer air, any damage to these components will severely reduce the operational efficiency of the facility.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.