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A convenient truth

There are now refrigeration solutions available to convenience store owners, which can help them to halve energy consumption and significantly reduce costs, says Nick May

The public expects fresh food to be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, which puts pressure on maintenance and reliability of refrigeration systems. Convenience store retailers and the refrigeration industry are under increasing pressure to provide a solution that meets these varying needs.

Public health has always been paramount in food refrigeration, but the agenda has broadened from simply ensuring the food is kept at the right temperature, to remove the possibility of pathogen growth.

Retailers now also have to consider the wider health of the environment – in other words, the impact of energy use and CO2 emissions generated by refrigerant systems.

When considering a refit of their convenience-style shop in Finsbury Park, the Patel brothers were looking for a modern, energy efficient refrigeration system that could deliver a range of storage temperatures demanded by grocers  – but with even tougher demands on space and noise.

The Patels planned to transform their 480 sq ft Londis grocery store into a 2,800 sq ft convenience supermarket, which would have much higher energy demands. The shop floor had an extra 7.5 m run of extra chiller cabinets installed to house more dairy, juices and profitable fresh food, which accounts for 33 per cent of sales.

The brothers had also decided to introduce a wider range of fresh fruit and vegetables, including 13 different types of salad, to be displayed in standalone wagon displays running at slightly different temperatures.

Alongside the new food display cabinets, £17,000 was invested in new LED lighting and 40 CCTV cameras were introduced across the floor to spot shoplifters.

This increase in energy consumption meant offsetting costs in other areas, by introducing an energy-efficient refrigeration and climate control system to keep costs down and reduce the store’s carbon footprint, while also providing varied temperatures across the store.

Nine of the store’s refrigeration condensing units and all of the air conditioning units were replaced with two state-of-the-art Daikin Conveni-Pack (CVP) integrated refrigeration and air-conditioning systems, delivering a maximum heating capacity of 37.5 kW and total cooling capacity of 13.77kW.

Fast installation

The outdoor units were installed on a flat roof at the rear of the building, connected to four ceiling cassettes and both new and refurbished chiller cabinets. Installation was carried out by Jordon Refrigeration and took three weeks.

CVP is a unique solution, combining refrigeration and air conditioning equipment into one integrated system to maximise energy efficiency. It can deliver a range of temperatures for both low temperature (-20 deg C to -45 deg C) and medium temperature (10 deg C to -20 deg C) applications to power cold rooms and freezers, plus chilled and frozen food cabinets.

The Daikin CVP has the ideal heating capacity for most convenience stores of 3,000 sq ft and depending on the heating requirement, the solution can be easily scaled up to larger capacity, when Daikin ZEAS condensing units are installed to take on some of the frozen food requirements.

At present, approximately 50 per cent of all CVP installations are retrofits, including refitting older CVP systems as the reliability and energy savings of new CVP systems can prove very beneficial to end-users in terms of energy and money saving capabilities.

When compared against the latest R407A systems, CVP typically halves energy consumption because it can recover the heat extracted from supermarket refrigeration cabinets and re-uses it to keep the retail space at a comfortable temperature, at no additional cost.

The units’ inverter compressors improve efficiency by working only as much as necessary to match the fluctuating load, so it provides an efficient answer to the high energy demands of convenience stores.

Paul Jordon of Jordon Refrigeration, says: “The CVP system is recovering up to 100 per cent of the heat generated by the refrigeration cases – about 25kW per unit – which is enough to heat the retail space via the ceiling cassettes, which is why the energy consumption has halved.”

The Patels’ shop is situated near a residential area, as smaller stores often are, so it was vital that any equipment installed did not disturb the residential area. CVP units have sound absorbent casings and programmable night settings offering reduced noise operation, with a maximum noise rating not exceeding 42 dBA.

Installation of Daikin’s R410a CVP refrigeration system means that, despite the larger retail space and nearly 8 m of new refrigeration cabinets, maximum energy savings can be achieved through heat recovery, while keeping the shop comfortable for customers and thus helping to increase sales.

The refit of the store was so successful that the store reduced its overall energy consumption by 52 per cent.

Nick May is refrigeration specialist at Daikin UK

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