Factors that Contribute to Freezer and Coolroom Energy Efficiency

26 June 2017

Numerous written commentaries expertly describe subpar walk-in refrigeration units. They uncover poorly maintained freezers, highlight ongoing coolroom issues that haven’t been properly addressed, and generally provide a guide to improving energy efficiency within leaky refrigerated environments. As worthy as those deftly compiled guides undoubtedly are, they only ever talk about system flaws, not system efficiency. Today, we’re flipping that approach on its head by holding up a model of an energy efficient cooling setup.

Illustrating the Ideal Coolroom Configuration 

An impeccably configured walk-in freezer isn’t affected by the opening of an accessway. A plastic curtain acts as a kind of airlock, although it’s the exchange of cold and warm air, not atmospheric pressure that’s segregated by the vinyl strips. The refrigeration unit emulates that environment-isolating feature by discharging proportionate quantities of chilled air into the sealed chamber. Furthermore, the low-energy output appliance, the one fastened high on the coolroom wall, isn’t influenced by the changing outside temperature or any shortcomings created by the chemical refrigerant. In other words, the chamber is absolutely sealed, the refrigeration unit is functioning without producing any system losses, and the stored contents are surely staying fresh.

Identifying the Factors That Break This Ideal 

Wear and age are the twin rogue factors that undermine everything described in the last paragraph, which is why an ideal system may as well be a mythical creature. Even the equipment’s primary functions inhibit any potential energy savings by condensing the moisture in the local atmosphere. That moisture freezes or runs in icy rivulets. It seeps into metal parts, behind insulated panels, and wreaks havoc on all freezer and coolroom parts. Sure, the erosion of the system doesn’t take place overnight, but it’s slowly, ever so slowly, wearing down what once was a near perfect refrigerated structure. Over time, the cooling envelope will fade, even fracture, until the equipment and the room are no longer energy efficient.

Maintenance programs strengthen energy boosting factors while they attenuate system-detrimental factors. Curiously, time has almost stopped for the chilled contents in here, but environmental time is in flux. Ice and chilled water are threatening the structure and the cooling equipment. Condensate clouds float as a fine mist, icy deposits cause pipes and wall panels to expand and contract, and metal parts experience accelerated oxidisation. Beyond the effects of that ice factor, there’s the human factor to tackle. Fortunately, a sound management strategy provides the training and guides necessary to handle that particular energy inefficiency culprit.

Mark Connelly
C&M Coolroom Services
E-mail: markconnelly@cmcoolrooms.com.au
Mobile: 0412 536 315

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