Wirth Research has applied its world-leading Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) capability to the supermarket sector, carrying out research to develop energy saving refrigeration technology.
The result is the WR EcoBlade™ – a simple, retrofit product that delivers a truly significant reduction in supermarket energy consumption.
The benefits of using the WR EcoBlade™ include:
- Material reductions in both energy costs and carbon emissions
- Attractive payback on initial investment – the WR EcoBlade™ qualifies for the government’s Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA)
- Improved customer comfort, as the WR EcoBlade™ ensures store aisles are warmer
- Simplicity of installation, ensuring minimal interruption to normal store operations
- Avoidance of any physical barriers between customer and product
- Minimal ongoing maintenance costs compared to doors
Refrigeration costs are a significant expense for supermarkets, representing about 60% of their electricity costs. The WR EcoBlade™ significantly reduces the energy consumption, and therefore operating costs of multi-deck refrigerated cabinets. It is designed as a simple retrofit device to attach discreetly onto the shelves of the refrigerated cabinets. Trials also demonstrated that each store could be fitted overnight, with no requirement for de-stocking of shelves. The WR EcoBlade™ controls the flow of the cabinet air curtain using parallel ‘blades’, which retain the cold air within the cabinet. Reducing the amount of cold air that spills out into the supermarket aisles has a dual impact: improving energy efficiency and reducing “cold aisle syndrome”, thus delivering an improved shopping environment for customers.
After rigorous testing – CFD analysis, EN testing and extensive in-store trialling – the WR EcoBlade™ demonstrated direct energy savings in excess of 20% when fitted to a M&S ‘Brooklands’ cabinet. Testing on other cabinets has demonstrated retrofit savings of up to 30%. The WR EcoBlade™ also qualifies for the ECA, allowing businesses to offset the whole cost of the equipment against taxable profits in the year of purchase.
Leveraging our experience in applying CFD to natural ventilation, we are now also helping supermarkets to better understand how to optimise store design to improve overall energy efficiency. Our findings are already delivering valuable insights, allowing further scope for reducing our clients’ energy consumption.