With gas and electricity prices soaring by 40% in 2005 and potentially more increases on the way, the need to be energy-efficient has never been greater.
By investing in the right equipment and making simple adjustments to the way it is used and maintained, businesses could see big savings on their energy bills. This is of particular importance for refrigeration equipment as it uses energy all day, every day.
Buying an energy-efficient fridge and/or freezer could cut carbon dioxide emissions produced by up to 228kg a year and save up to 70% in energy usage – meaning it is not only environmentally responsible but will also save money.
Key features and new technology to look out for when choosing refrigeration units include:
Hydrocarbons – these offer zero ozone depletion potential and very low global warming potential, unlike other standard refrigerants
ECA approval – equipment that is registered to the government’s Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme meets stringent standards on energy efficiency. Anyone purchasing equipment from the list will be entitled to a 100% tax relief on their investment in the first year
Smart temperature control – refrigerators with this device fitted will automatically adapt to cope with how they are being used (for example, frequent door openings) and use only as much energy as they need
Automatic fan cut-out – fans stop working when the door is open to avoid wasting energy
Self-closing doors – to ensure that doors are not left ajar and energy is not wasted
It is also important to have existing equipment regularly serviced, as a poorly maintained and serviced refrigerator can use the energy of two to five refrigerators. A blocked condenser can increase power consumption by 23% and a faulty door seal by 11%. Service engineers can recommend how often equipment should be serviced as this depends on usage.
At the same time, the industry is experiencing the biggest changes in food safety laws for 15 years, due to new Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) legislation, which came into effect on January 1, 2006. HACCP is an internationally recognised system of food safety management.
The new legislation requires that all food businesses, regardless of size, put in place, implement and maintain food safety management procedures based on HACCP principles.
The 2006 HACCP is more flexible than previous legislation in place and this has met with a positive reception in the industry. Already, notable food safety improvements in knowledge, attitude and behaviour have resulted.
Foster Refrigeration has guides on energy efficiency and HACCP. To receive a copy call 0500 691122 or visit www.fosterrefrigerator.co.uk