In 2021, the management team at Washingpool Farm Shop decided to explore how they could tackle their huge energy bills. It was suspected that their 20-year-old inefficient open-fronted fridges were a major contributor to their £30,000 annual electricity spend.
To confirm these suspicions, a meter was put on one of the shop’s open-fronted fridges for a week. Readings from the meter showed that the fridge used a whopping 571 kWh of electricity over this short period. If we assume all three of the open-fronted fridge units in the shop use a similar amount of energy, and that this week was a typical week for the shop, this suggests that, combined, their open-fronted fridges were using around 89,000 kWh of electricity a year! To put this into perspective, using the average electricity price from the time the readings were taken (Mar 21), these three fridges were costing Washingpool Farm Shop around £12,500 a year to run. The recent energy price rises mean this figure would now (May 22) be more like £25,000 a year.
Refrigeration is a huge source of carbon emissions across the whole of the food retail sector and is not isolated to Washingpool Farm Shop. The use of open-fronted display fridges is extremely inefficient and consumes vast amounts of energy.
A proven way of tackling the crippling costs and emissions associated with refrigeration is to simply switch open-fronted fridges for fridges with doors. By adding a door, the fridge has a much smaller space to keep cool and requires much less energy to run. According to fridge manufacturer Arneg, potential savings of 61% can be achieved by swapping to their Osaka door-fronted units. For Washingpool Farm Shop, a 61% energy reduction could be as much as 54,000 kWh a year, saving the shop over £15,000 in energy costs and an estimated 28 tonnes of CO2e a year.
The introduction of door-fronted units only requires a minor change in behaviour, the opening of a door to access cold products, but can have a major impact on emissions and energy costs. According to Business Waste, if this change was adopted by all of the UK’s supermarkets millions of kilowatts of electricity could be saved.