Why install fridge timers?
It is common for a club’s fridges to be old and oversized, relative to the club’s daily operations. This results in high electricity bills, which can be hard to cover for a cash-strapped community club. In addition, most bars are run sporadically and drinks fridges are only being used a few hours or days of the week. Rather than leaving their fridges switched on constantly clubs should consider running them only during the hours or days on which cold drinks are required.
This is where fridge timers come in: they allow clubs to schedule the operating hours of any fridge holding only non-perishable items according to when it is needed.
How do timers work?
Installing a fridge timer means a club can choose the hours during which the fridge needs to be running, allowing them to adjust the settings according to the club’s specific needs. Most timers can simply be plugged into the power socket without any need for rewiring.
Most well maintained fridges have the ability to retain cold temperatures for a long time as long as the doors remain closed, as shown by a case study by the Hume Business Efficiency Network of Hume Council in Australia. A slight increase to an average of 5 degrees was found for fridges turned off overnight. When the power comes back on, the fridge goes back to its desired active temperature within half an hour.
Ellerslie AFC had been looking at ways to reduce their carbon footprint through energy conservation. The club aims to be one of the greenest clubs in New Zealand, so LiteClub suggested a fridge timer trial to reduce electricity bills. The club currently has two glass fronted commercial fridges: one with a double door, manufactured in 2012, and one with a single door, manufactured in 2006. The club operates its bar from 3pm to midnight on most days except Sunday, when the bar closes at 8.30pm. Considering these weekly requirements there is an opportunity to switch off both fridges from 12am to 12pm every day.
LiteClub installed two power data loggers to capture power consumption data for both fridges prior the installation of timers. Once enough data was collected, two digital timers were installed to schedule the fridges to switch off for 12 hours daily.
We measured an approximate 40 - 50 % reduction in power consumption, which annually equates to estimated savings of $777 on electricity bills and a reduction of CO2 emissions by 385 kg between the two fridges.