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The Benefits of Energy-Efficient Commercial Refrigeration Equipment

Posted By: Erin White

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Thanks to improvements in compressors and insulation, refrigerators today are much more energy-efficient than those of the past. Government programs such as ENERGY STAR, which gives incentives to companies who produce energy-efficient products, and new efficiency standards for commercial refrigeration equipment enacted by the Energy Department in 2014 mean that it’s in the best interest of companies to reduce the energy use of their products as much as possible. This not only has a positive impact on the environment, but it also greatly reduces customers’ energy bills.

Read on learn more about energy efficiency in new refrigeration equipment and how it benefits businesses.

Energy efficiency in refrigeration equipment

Refrigerators, freezers, and refrigerator-freezers must be kept cold constantly, so they operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They’re also one of the most energy-intensive products in the home.

Commercial refrigeration equipment uses even more energy than home refrigerators. Large commercial refrigerators, such as the types used in supermarkets, can consume as much as 17,000 kilowatt-hours of power per year. A large commercial freezer consumes even more—up to 38,000 kilowatt-hours of power a year. This means that for supermarkets, grocery stores, and convenience stores, refrigerators account for almost 40% of the business’ total energy use, contributing a huge amount to energy bills.

When a business improves the efficiency of its refrigeration equipment, it becomes more competitive; the business is able to save money and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy Department’s efficiency standards

In 2014, the Climate Action Plan created standards that will help cut carbon pollution by around 142 million metric tons over the next 30 years; this will save businesses as much as $11.7 billion on their energy bills. These standards will make commercial energy equipment about 30% more efficient than current standards.

ENERGY STAR-qualified refrigeration products

Government standards such as the Climate Action Plan are incredibly helpful in making products more energy efficient, but consumer demand and programs such as ENERGY STAR are also helping increase energy efficiency.

The ENERGY STAR program, which launched in 1992, has helped improve efficiency in more than 60 product categories, including refrigeration. Between 1993, the year after the ENERGY STAR program launched, and 2009, energy consumption decreased by about 14% per household. Around 80% of refrigerators are now ENERGY STAR-qualified.

Commercial refrigeration equipment can also earn an ENERGY STAR badge. Commercial refrigerators and freezers that have earned the badge are usually around 40% more energy-efficient than standard models because they are designed with components such as ECM evaporator and condenser fan motors, which greatly reduce energy consumption and thus lower utility bills.


While an energy-efficient commercial refrigeration product may cost more up front, the lifetime energy savings the product creates usually more than compensates for the up-front cost. Refrigeration equipment accounts for a whopping 40% of a business’ energy bills. Therefore, investing in an energy-efficient refrigerator or freezer is one of the best ways to save money, be more competitive, and protect the environment, as well.

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