Supermarkets could ‘save electricity by adding fridge doors’

Supermarkets could save 33 per cent on electricity by adding fridge doors, according to a study by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).

Refrigeration is the largest source of energy demand within supermarkets according to the EIA, usually accounting for about half a retailer’s energy consumption and about a quarter of a retailer’s carbon footprint.

The EIA is an independent charity that was founded in 1984 to fight environmental crime.

The UK could potentially slash its total electricity usage by 1 per cent if the top five British supermarkets put doors on their fridges according to the research.

The EIA said that the most obvious drawback of opened fridge doors is that it “takes a lot more energy for a refrigerator to keep food cool if it does not have a door”.

However, despite “the clear benefits of equipping their fridges with doors”, the EIA said retailers are reluctant to adopt this simple measure, because they fear it will reduce “impulse buy” sales.

The charity’s report also claimed that 3.1 million households a year could be powered if the whole of Europe added fridge doors to its supermarkets.

The move would result in considerable cost savings according to the charity. Multinational grocery retailer Delhaize estimates annual electricity savings from its 800 US stores, which have doors on their fridges, amount to $8 million.

The report highlighted Tesco’s use of doors outside the UK as “exemplary”.

It said over 95 per cent of Tesco’s stores in Turkey had doors on their fridges, followed by 84 per cent in Poland, 75 per cent in Hungary, and 86 per cent in Thailand.

In addition, the research claimed that fitting chilled food cabinets with doors can lower the temperature inside the cabinet, reducing the risk of food poisoning from bacteria.

In the commercial sector, UK regulations allow chilled food to be held at or below 8°C, and these higher temperatures can have a negative impact on food safety according to the EIA.

Other major UK supermarkets have taken measures to lower their electricity output in recent months.

In July, Sainsbury’s introduced fully electric refrigerators for its delivery fleet as part of its £1 billion green push.

The supermarket claimed the new electric fridges do not produce carbon emissions, dirt, and smoke particles, and that they are noise free.

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