Refrigerators: Cool It

A refrigerator is one of the biggest investments you’ll make. With energy costs so high, it’s important to look beyond a refrigeration unit’s desirable features and focus on saving energy dollars.

Start by checking with your electric utility company to see if it offers any incentives on energy-efficient units or even special features. California’s Pacific Gas & Electric, for example, offers a $40 rebate if you install an auto-closing door; Southern California Edison rebates up to $225 if you purchase a model it qualifies as energy efficient. The Energy Star Web site (www.energystar.gov) has a “Foodservice Equipment Incentive Finder” that tells you the rebates available in your area.

Since two-door reach-in models are a popular buy for restaurants, the chart below outlines their standard features and options. All the equipment described uses “ozone-friendly” R-134a or R404A refrigerants.

Undercounter work

Many operators are moving toward undercounter units, particularly when prep or serving areas are far from the main walk-in. Their small footprint makes the most of tight space. Plus, these models can save energy; less cold air is lost with repeated openings.

In the Versa Drawer undercounter drawer model by Delfield, each drawer operates as its own self-contained unit. By changing the unit’s settings, each drawer can be a refrigerator, freezer, thaw cabinet or chilling unit. The Smart undercounter series from Electrolux has a front-panel touch-pad system to pre-program up to five temperature/ humidity conditions.

To maximize useable workspace, McCall’s single- or double-door undercounter models are available with stainless steel flat-tops (with or without backsplash), as well as with a cutting board/backsplash combination.

Click here for the comparison chart.

Displaying the goods

Design moves to the forefront in the Encore “S” series of refrigerated display cases from Structural Concepts. The case’s S-curve design is echoed in the front glass panel, which curves gently upward toward the top. The unit also features a larger condenser coil, which the company says helps reduce energy use.

True Manufacturing’s new Dual Zone Display Case can help reduce energy costs for operations that offer a variety of items, such as baked goods, only some of which need refrigeration. The left side has a refrigerated temperature zone for cream-filled and frosted items, while the right side remains at the ambient temperature for merchandising “dry” goods.

For operations with little space, QBD’s “Grab ’n ’Go” may be the answer. Perfect for take-out sandwiches or salads, this countertop unit measures 22 by 23 inches, needs no plumbing or drain lines, and comes in eye-catching colors.


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