Investigation of Energy-Efficient Supermarket Display Cases

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Supermarkets represent one of the largest energy-intensive building groups in the commercial sector, consuming 2 to 3 million kWh/yr per store (ES-1). Over half of this energy use is for the refrigeration of food display cases and storage coolers. Display cases are used throughout a supermarket for the merchandising of perishable food products. The cases are maintained at air temperatures ranging from -10 to 35 F, depending upon the type of product stored. The operating characteristics and energy requirements of the refrigeration system are directly related to the refrigeration load. The sources of the display case refrigeration load consist of: ... continued below

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Walker, D.H. January 21, 2005.

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Supermarkets represent one of the largest energy-intensive building groups in the commercial sector, consuming 2 to 3 million kWh/yr per store (ES-1). Over half of this energy use is for the refrigeration of food display cases and storage coolers. Display cases are used throughout a supermarket for the merchandising of perishable food products. The cases are maintained at air temperatures ranging from -10 to 35 F, depending upon the type of product stored. The operating characteristics and energy requirements of the refrigeration system are directly related to the refrigeration load. The sources of the display case refrigeration load consist of: (1) Moist and warm air infiltration through the open front of the case--air curtains are employed to inhibit this infiltration, but some ambient air is entrained, which adds a substantial portion to the refrigeration load. (2) Heat conduction through case panels and walls. (3) Thermal radiation from the ambient to the product and display case interior. (4) Internal thermal loads--the use of lights, evaporator fans, periodic defrosts, and antisweat heaters adds to the refrigeration load of the display case as well as directly consuming electric energy. The impact of each of these elements on the refrigeration load is very dependent upon case type (Figure ES-1). For example, air infiltration is the most significant portion of the refrigeration load for open, multi-deck cases, while radiation is the largest part of the load for tub-type cases. The door anti-sweat heaters represent a major share of the refrigeration load for frozen food door reach-in cases. Figure ES-2 shows the distribution of display cases in a typical supermarket (ES-2). Open, multi-deck, medium temperature display cases typically comprise about half of the refrigerated fixtures in a store (ES-3). In addition, medium temperature fixtures and storage coolers account for roughly 70 to 75 percent of the total store refrigeration load with open, multi-deck cases contributing about 3/4 of that fraction. Consequently, the focus of this investigation has tilted toward the open, vertical, multi-deck medium temperature case type. Various technologies and control methods are energy efficiency measures (EEMs) that could be applied to display cases and result in the reduction of the refrigeration load and of the energy consumption of the supermarket refrigeration system. An extensive evaluation of the EEMs was conducted in order to select those that met the following criteria: (1) Near-term implementation--All EEMs considered could be implemented with existing refrigeration hardware and technology. (2) Potential for energy-efficiency improvements--Energy savings and/or refrigeration load reduction must be obtained by the implementation of the EEM. (3) Enhancement of the ability to maintain target product temperature--Proper operation of the display case and maintenance of the stored product temperature could not be compromised by the use of the EEM. The energy impact of a number of viable display case EEMs was quantified by performing whole building hourly simulations. A special version of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE-2.3) program was used to develop a model of a supermarket. The model was then calibrated using available end-use monitored data to increase confidence in simulation results.

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  • Report No.: ORNL/TM-2004/292
  • Grant Number: DE-AC05-00OR22725
  • DOI: 10.2172/885840 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 885840
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc876795

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  • January 21, 2005

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Nov. 29, 2016, 4:25 p.m.

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Walker, D.H. Investigation of Energy-Efficient Supermarket Display Cases, report, January 21, 2005; [Tennessee]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc876795/: accessed September 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.