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CGF backs retrofitting of cabinet doors

FRANCE: The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) has again highlighted the energy efficiency benefits of adding doors to commercial refrigeration cabinets.

In its latest report, Low Carbon Solutions for a Sustainable Consumer Goods Sector, the CGF showcases examples of how the consumer goods sector is implementing low-carbon solutions

Accepting that many retailers are concerned that glass doors act as a barrier to sales, the CGF argues that glass doors can actually increase the time spent in front of refrigerated products and builds consumer confidence in the safety of the products.

The CGF includes CEOs and senior management of some 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and other stakeholders across 70 countries among its membership.

Describing closed refrigeration doors as “the low hanging fruit of energy savings”, the CGF says that they can make a significant reduction in a store’s carbon emissions.

Around 75% of the cooling load of an open cabinet being due to air infiltration, it maintains. The CGF cites trials conducted by the UK Co-operative Group which confirmed energy reductions of 20%. Several other tests and trials have resulted in even higher energy savings of up to 50%, with larger supermarkets seeing energy savings as high as €60,000.

The resulting carbon emission reductions, it claims, are considerably higher than the additional environmental impact of manufacturing and managing the refrigeration doors.

Where possible, the glass doors/lids should be coated with a thin metal layer to reflect heat radiation, further reducing the energy consumption, says the CGF.

Countering retailers’ concerns that the introduction of glass doors will result in a reduction in sales, the CGF says: “There are no studies on the influence of glass doors on the turnover, however, based on observations from retailers, no losses in sales were documented after retrofitting of individual stores. In fact, with glass doors, the air temperature in the aisle in front of the cabinets will be higher, incentivising customers to increase the time spent in front of refrigerated products and building confidence in the safety of the products.”

Food retailers in numerous European countries have already implemented closed refrigerators or plan to do so in the coming years, says the CGF. Retailers in France signed a Code of Conduct in 2012 with the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport, and Housing and the French Retailers Association to install doors on refrigerators in all new or refurbished stores and to reach 75% of all stores by 2020. In Switzerland, glass doors have been compulsory on 90% of all freezers in a store since 2007.

A signee of the French agreement, the Carrefour supermarket group has been retrofitting doors to both its refrigerated and freezer cabinets, with a target of 75% of its cabinets retrofitted by 2020 in France.

Retrofitted doors is now said to be the corporate standard for Carrefour’s new stores and refurbished stores in Spain, Italy, Belgium, and for Carrefour Market in France. By October 2016, more than 2,400 Carrefour stores had retrofitted doors on freezer units and over 800 stores had doors on refrigeration cabinets.

Carrefour places the costs associated with retrofitting doors at about 10% higher than for non-retrofitted doors, but says that the pay-back period is short due to dramatic reductions in energy consumption. It cites the example of its store in Alzira, Spain, which witnessed a 19% reduction in electrical consumption just from the installation of cabinet doors.

The supermarket maintains that fitting doors also provide better protection for the food, resulting in less waste, while also providing tidier cabinets. Customers and staff also report a higher level of comfort in the aisles.

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