Refrigeration and Food Service Project Team

Commercial refrigeration uses 1.3 quads of primary energy per year, about 7% of total commercial use. Cooking accounts for another 0.25 quads, or just over 1% of total commercial energy use. In supermarkets, groceries, convenience stores, and restaurants, refrigeration and cooking equipment can account for half of a building's total energy use and increase the amount of space conditioning required.

Commercial Building Energy Alliance (CBEA) Refrigeration and Food Service Project Team members work to improve the efficiency of new food service equipment and refrigeration units, including display cases, coolers and freezers, compressor systems, and controls. Members also focus on improving the energy efficiency of existing food service refrigeration systems through operational procedures or retrofit options. Current members represent many of the nation's most energy-innovative companies with large-scale refrigeration and food service loads:

  • Arby's Restaurant Group
  • Army & Air Force Exchange Service
  • Boston Market Corp.
  • CKE Restaurants, Inc.
  • Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market
  • Harris Teeter Inc.
  • McDonald's Corp.
  • Target Corp.
  • U.S. General Services Administration
  • Unified Foodservice Purchasing Co-op, LLC
  • Walgreen Co.
  • Walmart Stores, Inc.
  • Wawa, Inc.
  • Wendy's Quality Supply Chain Coop, Inc.
  • Whole Foods Market, Inc.
  • Yum! Brands

If you would like to work on the Refrigeration and Food Service Project Team and are a CBEA member, email the CBEA coordinator. If you are not a member, learn more about joining CBEA.

Current Project Team Initiatives

  • Developing a how-to guide on improving efficiency gains achievable by installing doors on open refrigeration cases.
    • Open refrigerated display cases waste a significant amount of energy, using up to three times the energy of similar cases with doors. Adding doors to open refrigerated display cases can save a typical supermarket more than $40,000 in energy costs per year. The CBEA Guide for the Retrofitting of Open Refrigerated Display Cases with Doors will provide best practices to maximize energy savings when adding doors to previously open display cases.
    • Approximately 90% of all supermarket display cases are open cases. If these cases were all retrofitted today with doors, the national annual energy savings would be nearly 2.5 TWh, with supermarkets saving $250 million in energy costs.
  • Producing a commissioning guide for supermarket refrigeration systems in collaboration with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.
    • The energy savings from commissioning are difficult to predict because supermarket refrigeration design and operations vary considerably from store to store. However, studies have indicated that supermarkets can achieve up to 25% energy savings through commissioning. This is important because a typical supermarket spends $180,000 per year on refrigeration energy costs.
    • Assuming an average of 10% energy savings, supermarkets would save 6.6 TWh of energy, or about $675 million in energy costs per year by properly commissioning supermarket refrigeration systems.
  • Helping members with electric water heaters save energy with the CBEA Commercial Heat Pump Water Heater specification.
    • Heat pump water heaters built according to the CBEA specification can reduce water heating energy by 70%, compared with an electric storage water heater. An older, electric resistance water heater operated in a building with a hot water demand of 500 gallons a day, 365 days a year, can cost more than $3,500 each year in electricity costs. A new heat pump water heater that meets the specification would use 70% less energy and could save $12,500 over 5 years.
    • If all commercial electric storage water heaters in the¬†United States¬†were replaced with heat pump water heaters per this specification, businesses would save 15 TWh of energy, or about $1.5 billion in energy costs per year.
    • Members looking to purchase efficient gas water heaters may wish to procure products that meet the Federal Energy Management Program's efficiency requirements.
  • Sharing lessons learned among members through regular meeting and topical webinars.
  • Encouraging use of efficient commercial food service equipment.
  • Developing technology specifications for highly efficient refrigeration equipment and refrigerated display case lighting.
  • Exploring the potential to develop better energy benchmarks for restaurants.

Resources and Past Initiatives