Refrigeration systems consume large amounts of electricity and depending on the industry can be responsible for up to 85 per cent of a business’s total energy consumption. For businesses with considerable cooling requirements this accounts for a significant portion of business running costs, as shown in the table below.

Typical refrigeration-related electricity use Electricity used for refrigeration
Liquid milk processing 25%
Breweries 35%
Confectionery 40%
Chilled ready meals 50%
Frozen food 60%
Cold storage 85%

Improvements to technical elements of modern refrigeration systems have the potential to reduce energy consumption by 15–40 per cent. Improving simple operational practices with minimal expense can often reduce energy costs by 15 per cent or more. Delivering the best outcome for your business requires a whole-systems approach to the design, installation, operation and maintenance of your refrigeration system.

Improving energy efficiency can deliver a range of savings, such as:

  • reduced energy, operation and maintenance costs
  • improved system reliability, safety and working environment
  • increased productivity
  • better matching of refrigeration load and equipment capacity
  • reduced resource consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Refrigeration webinar series

Save money and increase your business productivity. Sustainability Victoria is providing a free refrigeration masterclass series delivered by one of Australia’s leading refrigeration specialists. Refrigeration systems consume vast amounts of energy, and it is important to ensure that your system is working correctly to keep your energy costs down. Equip your business with the knowledge and confidence to better manage your refrigeration systems.

Watch the webinar series

Sustainability Victoria case studies

Melbourne based cold storage company Austco Polar reduced the energy consumption of its refrigeration processes by more than 5 per cent, saving $116,000 per year through various energy efficiency actions.

Read more

Other case studies

Learn more about what Victorian businesses across a number of sectors have done and how much they’ve saved.

Read other case studies

Useful resources

Sustainability Victoria’s Energy Efficiency Best Practice Guide to industrial refrigeration is a step-by-step guide to improving energy efficiency in refrigeration. This guide will help businesses determine the limitations of their existing systems, and provides guidance to assess the best solution for their business, whether this involves improving existing systems or designing a new system.

The SA Wine Industry Association has produced a Winery Energy Saver toolkit which has a chapter on Refrigeration and Insulation.

NSW Office of Environmental & Heritage (OEH) produced a detailed technical report of industrial refrigeration – Energy Saver Technology Report Industrial refrigeration and Chilled Glycol and Water Application.

  • Technology 1 Variable Plant Pressure Control Page 8
  • Technology 6 Variable cols Store Temperature Page 27
  • Technology 9 Plant design Review Page 35

Apple and Pear Australia Limited produced a short info sheet: Watts In Your Business-Fact Sheet 1: Refrigeration in packing sheds.

The Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) program provides information about current regulations and minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) for refrigerated display cabinets and refrigerated storage cabinets.

AIRAH (the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating) produced fact sheets on cool room efficiency:

Food South Australia has produced the guide Refrigeration Energy Efficiency Equipment Toolkit.

The Queensland Government has produced a guide to refrigeration efficiency for the food processing industry.