On what’s set to be the hottest day of the year so far, we’re discussing open supermarket fridges. Are they wasting energy?
It’s set to hit 38°C outside our office today. It can be a real struggle to keep cool, and it seems that supermarkets are no exception!
On Tuesday in Faringdon, Oxfordshire (where the mercury peaked at 29 degrees), a Tesco store’s fridges and freezers failed – leaving the supermarket unable to sell any frozen or chilled produce.
On the same day, environmental experts Business Waste called for a ban on open fridges due to their environmental impact.
While the open fronted fridges without doors make it easy for us to see and access chilled groceries, the powerful refrigerant used to keep things cool is particularly damaging to the environment.
So would it be better if we found our cheese, meats and other essentials behind closed fridge doors?
According to Business Waste, supermarkets use 1.5 million kilowatt hours of energy per year, with between 60-70% of that used by fridges. If doors were used on the fridges instead, it could save millions of kilowatts of electricity.
Some supermarkets, including Aldi and Tesco, have promised to cut down the harmful hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) they use to cool open fridges. But fridge doors would mean less electricity wasted on keeping something cool.
While this would be a change for shoppers, the extra hassle we’d have to face could be worth it to help reduce the environmental impact of excessive energy use.
Are the aisles too cold?
Putting the environment issue to one side, doors on the fridges could also prevent shivers as you travel down the aisle in search of bacon.
Extreme temperature fluctuations can have an impact on your health. Studies in places such as Dubai (where the outside temperature can reach 45°C) have found that a sudden drop in temperature from hot to cold can harm your health.
Severe air conditioning in shopping centres and public buildings in Dubai has led to doctors reporting eye infections, respiratory infections and muscular spasms as a result of a sudden lowering in temperature.
In this UK heatwave, coolness may sound appealing, but some more vulnerable groups of people can become unwell as a result of sudden drops in temperature. It’s much better to slowly cool down to avoid your body being shocked.
Have you ever been shocked by the temperature changes in the supermarkets? Would you be happy to have doors on the fridges? Are you concerned by the environmental impact of wasting energy?
Let me know in the comments, and keep cool out there!