If you run a cafe or deli that has an open refrigerated display case—maybe one that displays prepared food, or grocery items—you’ll want to read this.

Although open display cases are convenient for customers, they’re not exactly energy-saving stars. Approximately three-quarters of the energy used by these types of display cases is used to stop warm air from outside the case from mixing with the cool air inside—which means that only one-quarter of the energy expended by the case is actually used to cool food.

Enter a team of engineers the University of Washington and Kettering University, who set about trying to optimize the design of open refrigeration units. (You can read the details of their experiment in this Ars Technica article.) They found that with some inexpensive design modifications, they were able to reduce warm air infiltration by 10%—which may not sound like a lot, but could result in a potential savings of $100 million if implemented in US supermarkets nation-wide. (No stats are available for Canada, alas.)

Simple changes. Big savings.

Do you have an open refrigerated display case? Do you have challenges with energy consumption? Share your story in the comments section.

Image credit: momentcaptured1