Putting doors on supermarket fridges ‘would aid climate fight’

 In Air Pollution, Energy Saving

Supermarkets should all be encouraged to put doors on their fridges because it would cut the UK’s total electricity usage by one per cent, says a Midlands green energy expert.

“It just shows how a small move can have such a big effect in the fight against climate change,” said Ron Fox, of Noreus Ltd.  “Also, the stores would gain as the Environmental Investigation Agency said the switch could reduce their electricity bills by an average of 33 per cent.”  

He said the problem is that without fridge doors much of the energy needed to keep food cold escapes, hence shoppers often find stores cold. 

Also, many supermarket fridges release Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) which are super greenhouse gases as they trap a thousand times more heat than carbon dioxide.

Although the EU had banned HFCs in new refrigerators they are still in use in older ones. Big UK supermarket companies have agreed to phase them out over the next few years.

With doors on the fridge, pictured, the amount of HFC gas needed to keep the food cold would be less, so less HFC gas released and less global warming

Research has shown that supermarkets use 1.5 million kWh of energy of which fridges use up to 70 per cent and a 2.5 metre fridge without a door releases seven tonnes of excess CO2 a year. Experts reckon the energy saved by fitting a door to a single fridge would be enough to power one home for a year.

They say that with 6,000 supermarkets, with an average of 80 metres of fridge space, and 50,000 convenience shops with five metres, across the UK that could save 2.04 million tonnes of CO2 each year – the same as the amount of CO2 released to power 730,000 homes for a year.

Already Aldi had pledged to put fridge doors in its 100 new UK stories which the German chain said would save 2,000 tonnes of carbon a year and would cut the stories’ energy consumption by 20 per cent. 

Lidl said it uses curtains when its stores are closed and Asda said it would be trialling doors on chilled displays in 2022.

Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Waitrose and M&S all said they would be using “air wall” technologies that force cold air towards the back of open displays to save energy and make open fridges more efficient.

In 2019 the government ruled out banning the use of open fridges and freezers in retail outlets and said it was looking at various ways to encourage retailers to use “greater energy efficiency in commercial refrigeration.”

“It seems an obvious and easy solutions with everyone gaining,” said Ron, on the University of Keele Science and Innovation Park in North Staffordshire. “For example, in 2012 the Co-op put doors on their fridges and reported a £50m a year saving, so the bigger companies will save even more.”

To find out more about green energy and environment issues call Ron on 0845 474 6641.

Caption: Ice one – Putting doors on supermarket fridges could cut the UK’s total electricity usage by one per cent and reduce the stores’ electricity bills by an average of 33 per cent.  

 

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