Study advocates raising commercial freezer temperatures

A research project has found raising commercial freezer temperatures could lead to significant electricity savings without affecting food safety.

Since the early 1960s, provincial regulation required frozen food in commercial freezers to be kept at a temperature of -18 degrees Celsius.

On July 1, new regulation comes into effect eliminating the standard temperature set-point and only requiring that food be kept in a “frozen state.”

“Frozen is frozen, and there is no public health risk to warming standard freezer temperatures slightly,” said James Alden, a developer of the research project.

“For Ontario, this decision will support efforts on climate change, and if adopted more broadly on a global basis, will have a major impact on reducing the electricity use of the over 1.5 billion commercial freezers worldwide.”

The study looked at the internal freezer temperature and energy consumption over an eight-week period in 30 commercial freezers across Toronto.

It found at a temperature of -15 degrees Celsius, there was an average unweighted energy savings of 10 per cent per freezer without compromising food quality of safety.

The research was conducted with funding from the Conservation Fund of the Independent Electricity System Operator and organizations including Toronto Hydro, Toronto Public Health, and the Ontario Restaurant, Hotel, and Motel Association.