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Refrigeration

Refrigerant Oil Additives

Refrigerant oil additives are liquids designed to be introduced into all sorts of refrigeration systems, including air conditioners and chillers. According to vendors, these additives mix with refrigerant oil and improve heat transfer within refrigeration system heat exchangers. Vendors assert that the use of their products yields energy savings ranging from 5 to 30 percent of overall system energy consumption. It’s not clear that these additives can consistently produce savings in the ranges that vendors claim—in fact, lab and field tests by independent, qualified laboratories in…

Walk-In Cooler Controllers

In almost all coolers and freezers—small or large—air is cooled by forced-circulation evaporators that contain propeller fans powered by fractional-horsepower motors. These fans typically run continuously, even though, on average, full airflow is only required about half of the time. In the most common applications (those that use single-phase power), motors for the fans are usually shaded-pole or permanent-split-capacitor types, both of which are very inefficient. Controllers are currently available that slow these fans when full-speed operation is unnecessary. They do this simpl…

Ice Makers

More than 2.5 million ice makers are operated in restaurants, hospitals, hotels, and other commercial facilities in the United States. Together they consume more than 13.5 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity each year and accumulate more than $1.62 billion in annual electricity bills. The energy efficiency of new ice makers has improved considerably between 1994 and 2012, with an average machine increasing in efficiency between 16 and 32 percent; a new ice maker will last for 7 to 10 years. There are now many efficient models to choose from, some of which provide substantial energy sa…

Vending Machines

Refrigerated vending machines operate 24 hours per day, seven days a week. In addition to consuming 2,500 to 4,400 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy per year, they add to cooling loads in the spaces they occupy. At an average electricity cost of $0.12/kWh, operating costs can range from $300 to over $500 per year. New, efficient vending machines are available that can greatly reduce operating costs. Additionally, timers and occupancy sensors can produce big savings because they allow the machines to turn on only when a customer is present or when the compressor must run to maintain the product a…

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