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Ethos helps FM company cut their multinational retailer customer’s energy bill

  • Inside the cold store

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Anne Flanagan

Business Development Manager -STS

Refrigeration Innovation of the Year award winner Star Technical Solutions helped a British supermarket retailer achieve significant annual energy and CO2 savings through its unique energy management and performance optimisation system, Ethos.

Star Technical Solutions, the consultancy arm of Star Refrigeration, collaborated with a leading provider of facilities management & building maintenance to serve their retail customer with annual savings of 680,000kWh kWh and 190 tonnes of CO2 at their distribution centre cold store in the East of England.

 Star introduced its award-winning energy management system, Ethos, into the large temperature-controlled distribution centre. The system now provides the site’s management team with continuous and up to date information about the depot’s current energy consumption and provides insights on how to optimise the refrigeration equipment to achieve maximum savings.

The facilities management company were actively pursuing energy saving options and were aware of Ethos due to its success at The Ice Co Storage & Logistics company where savings of over £100,000 per site were achieved. The decision to choose Ethos above other data logging facilities on the market stemmed from the unique selling points of the Star product, which has recently won the Refrigeration Innovation category at the RAC Cooling Awards in recognition of its ability to drive behaviour change and to provide targeted diagnostics to deliver the largest saving returns to end users. Ethos does not only measure the energy consumption and plant status throughout the day, but it models the client’s refrigeration system and reports on the gap between how the system is currently operating and how it should ideally be performing.

The installation of Ethos should not affect the plant’s normal operations and Star ensured the system was installed and commissioned with minimal down time. This was achieved by connecting an independent Ethos unit to the existing control system and through carefully planned electrical panel work.

Once the system was operational, information was provided about the refrigeration plant’s ongoing energy consumption, overall system performance and actionable insights. Through analysis based on performance data specific to the site’s actual equipment, Ethos was able to identify improvements and estimate their monetary benefits. This analysis capability handles the constantly changing parameters of the refrigeration plant during its daily operations.

The Ethos service delivered an initial set of actions that typically involved tweaking set points and targeted maintenance, both of which were low cost and quick to applyt. It then looked into the opportunities available through equipment replacement and upgrade which would require capital spend. The investment opportunities were supported by predicted savings.

Finally, the service continues to monitor over the behaviour of the system making sure that new opportunities are found and inefficiencies are caught early on.

Targeted Maintenance and Capital Investment Opportunities

STS was able to identified the following targeted maintenance actions on the cold store chamber:

  • Thorough cleaning of all condensers
  • Replacement of condensers float switches
  • Repair of passing control valves
  • Optimisation of adjustable Vi slides on the compressor
  • Purging of air from the condenser.

After implementing these steps there was a significant reduction to the year on year energy consumption. The actual measured reduction in energy consumption was 680,000kWh which equates to 23% year on year reduction on energy cost for the store.

In addition, Ethos highlighted a series of actions requiring capital investment which had the potential to reduce the energy bill by an extra 27%. These included the replacement of the evaporator (12%) and the condenser (15%) .

The savings produced by the installation of Ethos at the site are indicative of Star’s commitment to and expertise in reducing the energy bill for its customers. As the maintenance contractor for this major retailer Star regularly holds meetings with their energy team and have worked on various money-saving initiatives in the past.

One of these is the installation of Frequency Response equipment on refrigeration plants. This technology allows the end-user to keep abreast of peaks and troughs in the national grid power supply, coming offline at times in response to peak loads on the grid to maximise energy savings. With Ethos installed on their site they are now equipped to reduce its energy expense even further.

Star Technical Solutions (STS) is the technical advisory service of Star Refrigeration, the UK’s leading refrigeration engineering company.

STS operates independently of the rest of the business, with its team of full time technical staff bringing together wide ranging and expert knowledge of the refrigeration, HVAC, heat pump and insulated envelope industries.

For more information about Star Technical Solutions and its energy management services, visit www.star-ts.co.uk