The Energy Department has announced new efficiency standards for commercial refrigeration equipment that will take effect in three years.
Commercial refrigerators, freezers and refrigerator-freezers are used to chill perishable products on display or in storage, including at grocery and convenience stores, restaurants and other food retail and food service establishments.
Since these products must be kept cold constantly, commercial refrigeration equipment operates 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
A large grocery store refrigerator can consume up to 17,000 kilowatt-hours of power per year, while a large commercial freezer can use up to 38,000 kilowatt-hours of power per year.
The new efficiency standards established February 28 incorporate feedback from industry, consumer and environmental advocacy groups and other stakeholders.
They update the Energy Department’s 2009 standards and will make the average commercial refrigeration unit about 30 percent more efficient, compared to the current standards.
“In our supermarkets and grocery stores, refrigeration can use almost 40 percent of total energy use – contributing a large portion of these businesses’ utility bills. By improving the energy efficiency of commercial refrigeration equipment – like restaurant-size fridges or the deli case at your local grocery store – we can make our businesses more competitive, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save money,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.
Over the 30 years after they take effect, the new standards will help cut carbon pollution by about 142 million metric tons – equivalent to the annual electricity use of 14.3 million U.S. homes – and save businesses up to $11.7 billion on their energy bills, said Moniz.
During the Obama Administration, the Energy Department has finalized new efficiency standards for more than 30 household and commercial products, including dishwashers, refrigerators and water heaters.
Together these stricter standards are estimated to save consumers more than $400 billion and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 1.9 billion metric tons through 2030, according to the Energy Department.
Now the administration has set a new goal – efficiency standards for appliances and federal buildings set in President Obama’s first and second terms combined will reduce carbon pollution by at least three billion metric tons in total by 2030.
The Energy Department says this equals nearly half the carbon pollution from the entire U.S. energy sector for one year.