The premium costs involved in providing chilled or frozen storage, make it essential that cold store operators not only make maximum use of the pallet space available to them but also ensure that their buildings operate as energy efficiently as possible.
It is well known that installing effective insulation and adopting efficient loading and unloading practices to prevent cold air from leaving the building will help to reduce cold store running costs significantly.
But, perhaps surprisingly, many cold store operators fail to realise the significant impact that lighting has on their energy consumption.
Inefficient traditional luminaires affect a cold store’s costs in a number of ways, but most significantly they require more energy to generate satisfactory light levels and they produce heat – which is clearly counter-productive within a chilled-room environment. They are also often costly to maintain.
LED light sources, on the other hand, consume less energy and produce less heat. They also need no lamp replacement and, importantly, emit light immediately.
Many older cold store facilities are lit by sodium or metal-halide luminaire technology. Compared to modern LED-based lighting systems, these fittings bring a number of disadvantages – not the least of which is the fact that the lamps have to remain on for long periods to ensure that enough heat is maintained in the fitting to give off adequate illumination.
LED lights on the other hand thrive in cold temperatures – in fact LEDs get more efficient as the temperature falls.
And with sodium fittings consuming in the region of three times the amount of energy of LED, the cost benefits of switching to LED are immediately obvious.
While lighting requirements in cold stores are often low, better light quality brings a number of operational benefits, including simple things such as making labels and storage documents easier to read within the store.
But, when lower energy consumption and reduced heat production are factored in, the case for introducing LED fittings becomes compelling for any cold store operator.
Steve Gardner, Director of Leicestershire-based luminaire specialist, Ecolighting