Every fresh food retailer who owns or manages a grocery store knows that their operation draws a huge amount of electrical energy.

Energy management is a major area of concern for retailers world-wide. Many of the sought after products in a grocery store, such as dairy products, fresh produce and meat items are stored in open refrigerated display cases must be kept cool at all times.

For those products commonly found in the freezer aisle such as ice cream, frozen vegetables and other products like TV dinners these items must be kept at extremely low temperatures. And numerous stores across North America still operate with freezer cases that are not enclosed but remain open allowing costly cold air to escape the case and detrimental ambient store air to infiltrate the case.

Fact: The greatest energy expenditure in a store occurs at the refrigeration level. It is quite costly to operate refrigeration units, compressors and pumps day-in and day-out.

Moreover, many large supermarket chains keep their lights on 24/7 to assist night crews with the stocking and maintenance procedures of the business. These lights create ambient heat and light in the form of radiation which impedes the stabilization of cool air internal to the commercial display case. In addition, this light and heat also causes perishable foods to discolor, wilt and spoil at a faster rate.

In the summer a grocery store building is air conditioned and in the winter heated for the comfort of the shoppers. This too causes havoc for fresh foods and department personnel tending to the displays.

While the price of electricity may fluctuate, it is generally accepted that the price of electricity will continue to increase as more demands are placed on utility companies.

When it comes to lowering operational costs, what criteria are fresh food retailers using when selecting green, energy saving tools for their business?

1. The Cost of the energy saving product – initial project investment, is there enough in the budget and under what category would it fall?

2. The Payback period – most stores require a payback period of less than two years

3. Available rebates or financial incentive programs for commercial businesses

4. The potential savings: how much will the product save the business and for how long, this is where product lifetime is evaluated

An Energy Saving Product That Meets the Above Criteria

For North American fresh food retailers, thermal night curtains or thermal night blinds are an ideal energy saving product that can be used to lessen the demand for electrical energy and keep perishable food products fresh and cold for longer periods.

Ideal for a variety of departments and cases including produce wet racks, packaged meat multi decks and dairy and beverage lineups, Econofrost refrigeration case curtains help retailers save energy for many years. As a retrofit energy product, Econofrost thermal curtains qualify for rebate and financial programs currently being offered by many state and provincial utility providers.

The Benefits of Using Econofrost Thermal Blinds
*Provides an effective thermal barrier so temperatures stay colder and more stable for longer periods
*Produce stays fresher longer with less wilt and daily trim requirements
*Packaged meat and deli meat products don’t spoil and discolor from infiltrating heat and light radiation
*Dairy and beverage products stay cold and refreshing and maintain their nutritional and flavor qualities.
*Retailers save energy every day for up to ten years!

Night covers can help a store save anywhere from 37 to 50 percent in energy costs and significantly reduce their shrink and discard rates. Night curtains are easily retrofitted to the external case of the canopy and are pulled down at night to enclose the case and construct a thermal barrier while the store is closed.

Another benefit of Econofrost’s night covers is that their cooling effect works even after they are retracted for the store being open. Products inside the case retain their cold temperature for up to fifteen hours after the night covers where utilized. As a result of colder more stable case and product temperatures, the product is and stays fresher and more attractive to shoppers.

Constructing Energy Management Products for Grocers

When it comes to constructing energy management products for the commercial food industry, the quality of materials, durability and usability of the product is key. When the performance and longevity of the product design are in-line with the retailers own sustainability objectives, then that product becomes a key component in fabric and methodology of the business.

And when it comes to fabric, Econofrost’s night covers are constructed using perforated woven aluminum fabric which provides the greatest thermal and insulating properties. Aluminum is the best fabric to use for retrofit night curtains since it is durable and doesn’t tear, wrinkle or fray hindering the performance of the unit unlike other fabric materials. Nor does it require the artificial treatment of antimicrobial coatings or nano-silver to deter mold, mildew and bacteria unlike other night curtain products.
Retrofit night blinds, like Econofrost, permanently and securely fasten to the refrigerated display case becoming an integrated management system to the case. For retailers who wish to use night covers on long lineups of cases or in prep room and service areas, electric motorized units which tie into a stores energy management system are also available.

Econofrost night covers typically pay for themselves within two years and sometimes within 6 months depending on the kwh rate and level of product and labor savings.

Thermal night curtains for commercial refrigerated equipment are an excellent way to save energy, reduce costs and prevent unnecessary waste. To learn more about night curtain products and to see if your store qualifies for eligible grants and rebates in your area, call us toll free at 1-800-519-1222.