When it comes to refrigeration for the high street baker or retail food-to-go operator, there is one word that is at the tip of everyone’s tongues and that is ’sustainability’.

With energy prices seemingly stuck in a continual ascent, operators need their refrigeration to be more efficient in terms of both cost and energy.

Recognising this, in 2001 the government introduced the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme as part of its programme to manage climate change. It provides businesses with enhanced tax relief for investments in equipment that meets published energy-saving criteria. Products that meet this requirement are listed on the Energy Technology List and then qualify for the ECA scheme.

UK-based manufacturer Foster Refrigerator was one of the first to have its range audited by an independent inspector and, to this end, has made great strides in ensuring that its refrigeration is as sustainable as possible.

It has a full range of bakery equipment, including:

n 20- and 40-tray storage refrigerators and bake-off freezers

n a 16-tray counter retarder

n a 20-tray retarder prover with user friendly controls

n cabinets designed to take 30 x 18in or 60 x 40cm trays as an option

n modular dough retarder provers, including options for larger trolley/rack operations.

Recycling and the control and reduction of waste are described as "cornerstones" by the manufacturer and it claims to be the first to achieve ISO14001 accreditation.

"We are the first and only commercial refrigeration company to attain the Carbon Trust Standard awarded to organisations for real carbon reduction. We are also members of the Ethical Trading Initiative, taking a responsible approach to the materials that we purchase," explains a spokesperson for Foster.

"In addition we have just been awarded the 2011 National Winner of Winners Award, from UK manufacturer organisation EEF, as a top manufacturer. Foster has won a lot of awards on product alone, but this time we were competing for a top environmental award against companies from other industries including the likes of Siemens, Rolls-Royce and BAE companies with huge resources.

"Winning was only possible because we apply our environmental policy across waste management, materials utilisation, manufacturing processes and workforce education. By maximising use of our resources across the organisation, we retain our competitiveness not just in the UK but globally. By being efficient ourselves we can deliver efficiency to our customers. We really don’t see why there needs to be a price premium on ’green’ products."

It is not just the smaller boys that are looking at ways of reducing their carbon footprint. Last year, Coca-Cola set itself the target of improving the energy efficiency of its cooling equipment by 40-50% and says that it is well on the way to achieving that goal. It says that a large part of its progress is due to a new energy management system that delivers energy savings of up to 35%. To date, Coca-Cola has installed more than two million of these systems globally.

n Full details of the scheme can be found in the Foster Green Paper ’The ECA Scheme’ at www.fosterrefrigerator.co.uk