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Govt must recognise ‘unique energy demand’ of cold stores - Refrigeration and Air Conditioning

Govt must recognise ‘unique energy demand’ of cold stores - Refrigeration and Air Conditioning

The Cold Chain Federation has urged the government to ensure that any plans to set new ‘energy performance standards’ for industrial buildings will reflect the unique role of cold storage facilities. It should also focus on the energy challenges involved in keeping products safe that are distinct from non-refrigerated warehouses.

The federation, which represents businesses in the UK which store and move frozen and chilled food, has written to BEIS in response to its consultation on introducing a performance-based policy framework in large commercial and industrial buildings. The CCF has stressed the need to differentiate cold storage with a category of its own, because like-for-like comparisons cannot be made between cold storage and other types of warehousing. It said that even a bespoke category would need  to account for the wide range of energy requirements with cold storage services, such as blast freezing and tempering.

Cold Chain Federation policy director Tom Southall said: “Cold storage facilities provide essential services which are crucial to the UK’s reliable and robust food chain, as well as being on the frontline for minimising food waste, particularly in a warming world. Delivering these crucial services depends on a level of energy use that is different to the needs of other types of storage facility. Businesses in the cold chain are committed to improving their energy efficiency and are already making great strides in improving the energy efficiency of their buildings - not least through the very successful cold storage Climate Change Agreement which has seen its signatories make energy efficiency improvements of 16 per cent between 2012 and 2018.

He added: “This BEIS proposal represents early-stage government discussions but it is important that we make the point right from the start of the conversation that any future ratings system would need to recognise the unique operations, requirements, and demands on the cold storage sector. If government decides to move these proposals forward, we would welcome discussions with BEIS about how to ensure any future ratings system is fair, logical and designed to achieve genuine energy efficiency improvements through a unique category for cold storage facilities.”

The CCF said it also made the point that a robust structure of support was needed alongside the policy, particularly for SMEs, to enable investment in any new equipment required ahead of any rating system coming into force, to prevent asset value crashes and smaller operators being left behind. It said that the options could include the extension of the CCA Scheme beyond 2025, along with direct grants for emerging technologies; tax allowances for investments in low energy solutions; or government-backed interest free borrowing.