The Cold Chain Federation (CCF) has revealed new Energy Benchmarks for the UK cold chain to help compare the energy usage of their cold stores with similar facilities around the UK.

The Federation said it created the Energy Benchmarks and a new tool to meet an industry need for “up-to-date, UK-specific, robust information” on cold storage energy usage, using the annual energy reported to the CCF from nearly 450 cold stores across the UK.

A bespoke tool is also available to CCF members, created by the CCF working with Jacobs Engineering, for the cold storage businesses which are signed up to the voluntary cold storage Climate Change Agreement (CCA) scheme.

CCF executive director Tom Southall said: “Our industry is making strong progress on improving the energy efficiency of cold stores, but there is plenty of scope for further carbon reduction and significant cost savings.

“Knowing how a site compares to the benchmark for similar facilities can give cold storage operators a stronger understanding of that site’s performance and progress, as well as a better sense of how much potential there is to improve energy efficiency further.”

The Energy Benchmarking Project

Determining the operator’s cold storage S.E.C. (Specific Energy Consumption, which calculates energy consumption against storage volume), the new benchmarks and accompanying dashboard assesses the site’s energy performance against a benchmark for its cohort group.

The six cohorts are based on the cold stores’ cooling volumes and whether they are used for majority chilled or frozen products. CCF said that the new tool also shows the operator the site’s energy efficiency progress between 2021 and 2022 in the context of their cohort’s progress over the same period; and calculates the cost and carbon savings that the site could make by reaching the energy efficiency of the ‘best in class’ of their cohort.

Southall said: “Our new Energy Benchmarking Tool is designed to support our members as they continue their journey towards the net-zero cold chain of the future, saving energy costs while adhering to increasingly stringent regulatory requirements and meeting their customers’ low carbon needs.”

CCF said that the creation of the new tool is part of its Energy Benchmarking Project, a long-term commitment to support the industry to reduce costs while saving energy. It said that the project has enabled the CCF to publish high level results of cold storage energy benchmarks to support businesses outside the CCA to improve their energy efficiency.