Don’t get left in the cold

Shaun Evers of Stonegate Instruments explains the impact of the Carbon Reduction Commitment on energy efficiency considerations in temperature controlled warehousing.

The Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme is encouraging many large commercial and public sector organisations to review their carbon emissions and as a consequence their energy usage, particularly those companies that are required to participate.

The CRC is one of the measures introduced by the government to enable the UK to meet emission reduction targets outlined in the Climate Change Bill and aims to reduce UK carbon dioxide emissions by at least 26% by 2020 and at least 60% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.

Many temperature-controlled warehouses are over 20-years old and were designed when energy costs and CO2 emissions were not really an issue.  Fast forward to 2012 and things could not be more different: reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions has now become a major concern.  The importance of temperature control in warehouses is vitally important.

Irregular temperatures can provide the perfect conditions for food to spoil and bacteria to grow.  Control solutions are therefore essential to ensure temperatures are kept at the correct levels, not only to comply with strict government regulations and standards but also to ensure energy efficiencies are achieved and costs are kept to a minimum.

A simple but effective way to reduce energy consumption in temperature controlled warehousing is to install energy efficient technologies, products that have the potential to deliver savings as high as 10% to 20%.

Doors left open in cold storage areas can also have a major impact on efficiency levels as storage areas need to work harder to maintain temperature levels, especially frozen produce rooms.  Door open alarms are ideal in these situations as they send out audio-visual warnings to immediately alert personnel if a door has not been closed.

Gas leaks also require temperature-controlled warehouses to work harder, to maintain optimum temperature levels.  The installation of refrigerant leak detection systems can however, avoid this problem from occurring as they detect a wide range of refrigerant gases, including CFCs and HFCs. Monitoring sensors placed around a temperature controlled warehouse highlight the status of each sensor using coloured LEDs.  An audio-visual alarm is included, to alert personnel should a gas leak occur.

It is estimated that around £40m could be saved on energy costs in the UK alone, by reducing leakage levels.  With temperature controlled warehouses having to work harder, there is also a greater possibility that they could break down completely, resulting in further damage to produce, not to mention downtime, which could be very costly to a business.  All this could be easily avoided with the installation of gas leak detectors.

Shaun Evers is managing director of Stonegate Instruments which designs, develops and manufactures tailored solutions to improve energy efficiency in cold storage and temperature controlled warehousing.

This article is published in the January/February print edition of Cold Chain News.