Coles puts the freeze on refrigeration costs26 May 2016
In a world first, Coles Supermarkets has completely switched the air-conditioning and refrigeration in one of its stores to natural refrigerants, reducing its energy bill by 35%.
Each year Australians spend more than $5 billion on refrigeration energy costs, and a further $9 billion on air-conditioning energy bills. At present, most Australian companies use synthetic refrigerants in their cooling systems, but a move towards energy efficient natural refrigerants could reduce these bills by billions of dollars.
Coles’ National Engineering Refrigeration Manager, Stuart Saville, says the use of natural refrigerants, such as CO2, is part of a long-term strategy for the supermarket giant, one that he encourages other businesses to adopt.
“It’s efficient, saves on operating costs and has zero impact on the environment from a direct emissions perspective. Why wouldn’t you be looking at it?” said Mr Saville.
But natural refrigerants are not the only way forward. New solar heating and cooling technologies promise to deliver major reductions in energy costs and emissions, says Dr. Stephen White, Energy for Buildings manager at CSIRO.
The Australian Solar Thermal Air Heating and Cooling Association has already installed more than 10,000 units in homes around Australia. These multi-functional systems are cost effective and provide improved indoor air quality. During summer, these devices can assist with nighttime cooling.
Is natural refrigeration the next big thing? Stay tuned for more developments in this space.