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Building controls specialist Resource Data Management (RDM) has helped US food retailer Fresh & Easy adopt energy saving approaches.
With energy costs rising, Fresh & Easy wanted to reduce its power bill and improve the monitoring and control of its chain of stores in California. It adopted a pioneering approach that challenged traditional ways of doing things.
Steve Hagen, Fresh & Easy’s former director of national procurement, said:
“We wanted a prototype store that was environmentally responsible and more efficient than anyone else. When we looked at Europe, where energy costs have shot way up, everybody is using case controllers”.
Since opening its first store in 2007, the chain has employed a range of advanced control and monitoring systems using the latest RDM solutions to deliver and maintain low energy, efficient buildings. Refrigeration equipment accounts for a significant proportion of store energy use. The company is using RDM’s Case Controllers to measure, monitor and control temperature and humidity. It allows Fresh & Easy to operate fans, lights and defrosters only when needed, to improve performance and minimize energy use. With RDM case controllers, remote diagnostic capability is a key benefit.
Mr. Hagen added:
“(with) RDM case controllers, you know how every case is performing, the more data we get, the more energy we save, because the more things we see. When there’s a problem, it’s hard not to notice.”
To further boost energy efficiency, electronic expansion valves are being used to control temperature within refrigeration and air-conditioning systems. The valves under RDM control enable Fresh & Easy to maintain a higher efficiency without the maintenance. Alongside the Case Controller, Fresh & Easy are using RDM Plant Controllers to control store internal and external lighting with light sensors, manage refrigerant gases using leak detection technology, handling of water treatment and manage HVAC systems to control the stores environment.
The whole store network, including cases, lighting and all major power equipment, is under the control of an RDM Data Manager. This central control hub monitors all systems locally, and reports back all temperature and alarm information to an offsite facilities management provider. This enables a rapid response to any problems as they occur, saving money, stock and improving efficiency of maintenance.
“The digital case controllers have had a significant impact on energy costs. As a result of these and other measures, Fresh & Easy store’s now use about 30 per cent less energy than a typical supermarket.”
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