Guides ‐ Are commercial refrigerators Energy efficient?

Published: 23/08/2023

With the current cost of living crisis putting financial strain on businesses, many business owners are seeking to find alternative ways to reduce their overheads, including their energy bills. With that in mind, we’ve found ourselves being asked the same question by businesses– are commercial refrigerators energy efficient?


What is a commercial refrigerator?

A commercial fridge is simply a refrigerator on a larger scale within a commercial or industrial business.

There are different types of commercial refrigeration including walk-in fridges and freezer units for large premises such as factories and restaurants, commercial refrigerated display units for shops, supermarkets and cafes and upright commercial refrigeration units which can be used in many businesses.


What is the difference between a commercial and a domestic refrigerator?

While both commercial and domestic refrigerators serve the same purpose, because commercial fridges are required to serve on a scale, they tend to be much bigger in size and more powerful to hold and effectively chill large amounts of stock and products.

Commercial refrigerators and freezers are specially designed to withstand continuous use, and therefore their compressors, fans and cooling systems need to be able to meet the constant demand.


Are commercial refrigerators energy efficient?

Commercial refrigerators and freezers are essential for food-related businesses such as restaurants and grocery shops. However, with electricity prices in the UK rising by 66.7% in the last 12 months*, energy consumption is something many owners and managers of such operations are concerned about, and a good place to start is looking at the energy efficiency of commercial appliances.

When looking at whether commercial refrigerators are energy efficient, there is no one-size fits all answer. To put it simply, the energy efficiency of a refrigerator varies between each unit, their size and certifications. Let’s explain what we mean by these:

Energy Labels: the best way to find out the energy efficiency of your commercial refrigerator is by looking at its energy label. In January 2021, this new energy labelling was brought to the UK, giving commercial appliances a rating from ‘A+++ to G’, with ‘A+++’ being the most energy efficient to ‘G’ being the least. These labels also include information such as annual energy consumption (kWh/annum) and the total recommended capacity.

EU ENERGY STAR: commercial fridges and freezers that have an ENERGY STAR are on average 20% more energy efficient than standard models due to the components they are built with which have been designed to significantly reduce energy consumption and utility bills. To be awarded an ENERGY STAR, the appliance must undergo rigorous testing carried out by a third party that is EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) recognised.

If you are looking to upgrade your commercial refrigerator, we’d recommend checking its energy label and whether it has an ENERGY STAR to ensure you are choosing the most energy-efficient appliance.


Improve the energy efficiency of your commercial freezer

No matter what type of commercial fridge you own, there are several energy-saving tips you can follow to further improve the energy efficiency of your commercial freezer, such as the following:

  • Regular Cleaning – not only are dirty fridges a health hazard, but letting dirt build up in your refrigerator can actually affect how hard the fridge has to work, therefore increasing the amount of energy usage.
  • Keep on top of your commercial refrigeration service and maintenance - it’s vital that you carry out regular servicing and maintenance checks on your fridge to check that it is not only safe but also that everything is in working order and not using more energy than it should.

  • Not over/under filling – just like running your commercial freezer while it’s fairly empty isn’t maximising the space and the best use of energy, overfilling your fridge or freezer can cause air vents to become clogged, and in turn the air circulation will be restricted which puts strain on other components such as the motor, leading to more energy consumption. Keeping a fine balance is key.

  • Ensuring the doors are kept closed – when your fridge door is open, the compressor will begin to kick in, which increases the number of watts. To reduce this, avoid leaving the door open and be quick when removing or adding items from the fridge.
  • Update your model – because appliances are constantly being developed over the years to become more energy efficient, ensuring you are updating your appliances where possible can help you reduce your energy bills.


Here at Airkool, we offer a range of refrigeration services from commercial refrigeration repairs and installation and repairs to servicing, speak to one of our specialists today for more information.

*Cost of Living Insights: Energy, Office for National Statistics,