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Cabinet optimisation could cut Waitrose energy bill by 40%

UK: Waitrose is said to be set to reduce energy use in its stores by more than 40%, after introducing new technology in all new open-fronted fridge cabinets.

Four of Waitrose’s stores – Chesham, Evesham, Dorchester and Worthing – are now equipped with Wirth Research’s Next Generation Refrigeration (NGR) and a phased roll-out will eventually see the technology replace existing refrigeration across the retailer’s estate. 

The NGR comprises a suite of technologies and cabinet optimisation tools and techniques which are said to have delivered laboratory-proven energy savings of over 40% when applied to the latest conventional open refrigerated display cabinets.

The technology is said to retain more of the cold which is often spilled into the aisle. It was designed and developed using advanced 3D modelling and computational fluid dynamics simulations.

The introduction at Waitrose builds upon the savings already generated by Wirth Research’s EcoBlade shelf-edge twin strip – widely introduced by Waitrose earlier this year.

While both innovations were created using the same motorsport-inspired technology, the EcoBlade is a retrofit device, whereas NGR is incorporated directly into the body components and operations of the fridge from the outset. NGR technology can be applied to any open refrigerated display cabinet and is available from a number of Wirth Research’s OEM partners.

Wirth Research insists that NGR has been laboratory-proven to cut energy usage by more than 40% in standard store operating conditions, even surpassing what the Carbon Trust estimates would be achieved by adding doors.

“This new technology takes the energy efficiency of our refrigeration to another level, delivering significant environmental benefits while helping to create warmer, more comfortable surroundings for our customers and Partners,” said Waitrose & Partners senior manager, technical services Jim Burnett. 

“When NGR fridges are fitted throughout a store and the plant supplying the fridges is modified to suit, the capital expenditure reduction of the whole installation actually pays for NGR technology, meaning this is a no-brainer for new fridge and plant installations,” claimed Wirth Research founder and president Nick Wirth.

“NGR can be easily integrated into any OEM open fridge cabinet, and it is our aim that all fridge manufacturers ultimately sign up to this unrivalled technology.”

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