Counter fridges are increasing in popularity and offer many of the advantages of a traditional upright cabinet but with space saving advantages. There are plenty of ways to make your counter work more efficiently – and plenty of options when it comes to buying a more energy-efficient model.
Counters come in a range of sizes from one to four door units. Models are available without worktops (Williams Biscuit Top Range), enabling them to fit under an existing preparation surface, or as slimline models for where space is at a premium. Typically, single door refrigerated counters that are designed to take standard gastronorm 1/1 containers, range in capacity from 195 litres (see Williams Salad Counter) to 715 litres (Williams Jade JC4). Units are also available to accommodate 2/1 GN fittings and therefore offer a higher capacity (Up to 611 litres for the Williams Emerald E2U three door model).
Key energy considerations
Food safety – the vital issue: there’s no point in buying a model that uses less energy but can’t keep the ingredients at the right temperature. So ask the supplier to confirm performance levels.
Drawers not doors: Having a bank of two or three drawers rather than one full door will save energy – because when you open a drawer a smaller section of the interior is exposed to the ambient air.
Intelligent controllers: these monitor usage and reduce energy consumption in quiet periods, such as overnight. Williams’ CoolSmart Controllers minimise energy use through processes such as fan and heater pulsing, intelligent defrost and independent management of evaporator and condenser fans, cutting energy costs by up to 15%.
Removable pod refrigeration system: this will improve the efficiency of the kitchen. If there is a breakdown, the engineer can simply pull out the refrigeration system pod, replace it with a working one, and take the faulty unit away to service, without disrupting the kitchen.
Self-closing doors: Leaving counter doors open not only wastes energy but can cause problems in galley kitchens where walkways are restricted. It’s all too easy for staff to leave a door open, and even a small gap will dramatically increase energy consumption so make sure your counter has self-closing doors.
High performance insulation: increased thermal efficiency can be achieved with improved insulation. By maintaining a constant temperature more easily, and reducing heat ingress the refrigeration unit will have to work less, therby reducing its energy use.
Hydrocarbon refrigerants: Many refrigerated counters can run on hydrocarbon refrigeration which is both energy saving and environment friendly. To avoid any health and safety issues you should ensure that the refrigerant charge is below the 150gm threshold.
Once you’ve chosen your refrigerated counter there are a number of ways you can save more energy on a day to day basis. From simple tips such as ensuring that doors are kept shut to positioning counters away from heat sources. Ensuring equipment is regularly serviced and maintained will help to ensure efficient operation and extend the life of the counter.