Traditional and innovative coldrooms: a confrontation
31 Mar 2022
31 Mar 2022
As an expert in gastronomy, catering or the hotel industry, you know very well that your coldroom is a decisive element for your business. In the case of technical problems, you must act quickly to avoid financial losses. And even when electricity consumption is too high, you have to take action. It is important that your food products are handled with great care, in a coldroom that you can trust, that works efficiently (considering both energy and the environment), and that is perfectly suited to your specific needs.
Since coldrooms are used in many different fields, they need to adapt to the needs of the owner and on-site conditions – regardless of the space available on the floor. In any case, food safety and freshness are always the top priority. This applies to any place, from a butchery to a restaurant. Afterall, your goal is to always offer to your clients and guests the best possible food quality. On the market you can find coldrooms of different sizes and insulation thicknesses. Before making a decision, it is important to carefully consider which requirements your model must meet.
The walls, floor and ceiling of a coldroom are made up of insulation panels. Together with the refrigeration unit and the door, which must close absolutely perfectly, they make up the entire structure of the coldroom and contribute to its optimal functioning. If there are gaps and heat enters, energy consumption can increase rapidly. Insulation panels, also called sandwich panels due to their construction, are made of temperature- and fire-resistant materials.
Their core is usually made of mineral wool, polystyrene or polyurethane, and surrounded by a layer of aluminium, stainless steel, hot-dip galvanised steel, synthetic resin or plastic reinforced with glass fibre. The most innovative panels are made of plasticised steel sheet, which makes them more resistant to rust, scratches and other kinds of damage if compared to painted sheets. Moreover, they do not present any risk of toxicity. Are you still convinced that panels with standard insulation are sufficient for your business? Are you sure you want to sustain their significantly higher energy consumption compared to more innovative insulation panels?
But what is the element that increases the insulation capacity of the panels? It is the injection of the insulating foam. And with the use of pentane as a blowing agent, environmental pollution is minimal because pentane molecules are easily degraded. The very fine, regular foam adheres perfectly to the panels and promotes constant thermal conductivity. Compared to panels insulated with chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) or hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), pentane-insulated panels have several hygienic and ecological advantages: they are more durable, there are no polyurethane leaks, and the working area always remains clean. In addition, no volatile substances escape and the environment is much less polluted.
Do you want to do even more for the environment? Then make sure the panels are as thin as possible. Generally, standard panels are 100 mm to 200 mm thick. The thinner they are, the less energy is used during their production. However, you must not compromise on the insulation properties of the panels. Otherwise, the costs will be higher in the long run.
True: a modern, innovative coldroom costs more. But it pays off in the long run. Because, in addition to the advantages already mentioned, you also benefit from other positive effects:
Thanks to the modularity of the innovative coldrooms, they can be flexibly and individually assembled: from the matching floor, doors and windows to the design of the interior fittings. The possible combinations are almost endless – so you can find the right coldroom for any application.
The regular cleaning of conventional coldrooms is just as indispensable for hygiene, smooth operations and consistent energy consumption as daily visual inspections. Equally important is the annual professional maintenance. If the coldroom and the refrigeration unit are used and maintained correctly, these measures should be sufficient. However, higher ambient temperatures or an improper use of the coldroom may make it necessary to have shorter maintenance intervals.