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Minimizing Refrigeration Energy Costs in Grocery Stores

Minimizing Refrigeration Energy Costs in Grocery Stores

commercial refrigeration in MOGrocery stores owners and managers spend a large proportion of their operational expenses on electricity and natural gas. In a typical grocery, refrigeration and lighting represent between 45 and 75 percent of the total energy use, depending on climate. This amount of annual expenditure presents an opportunity for big savings. Although energy only represents about 1 percent of total grocery store costs, it is about equal to a typical grocery’s profit margin. That being said, a 10 percent reduction in energy costs can mean a 10 percent increase in profits.

To better manage your building’s energy costs, it helps to understand how you are charged for those costs. Most utilities charge commercial buildings for their natural gas based on the amount of energy delivered. Electricity, on the other hand, can be charged based on two measures; consumption and demand. The consumption component of the bill is based on how much electricity in kilowatt-hours the building consumes during a month. The demand component is the peak demand in kilowatts occurring within the month, or during the previous 12-month time span.

Demand charges can range from a few dollars per kilowatt-month to upwards of $20 per kilowatt-month. Peak demand can be a considerable percentage of your bill, so care should be taken to reduce it whenever possible. As you read the following energy cost management recommendations, keep in mind how each one will affect both your consumption and demand.            

Computers, cash registers, deli scales, and deli cooking equipment should be shut off when not in use.

“Smart” power strips with built-in occupancy sensors are available to shut off plugged-in devices when no users are present. Turn off lights when they’re not in use. Occupancy sensors can help; a less expensive alternative is to train staff to ensure that switches are off when the lights are not needed. Stores open all night may want to install dual-level switching for overhead lights, allowing alternate fixtures to be turned off during low-traffic hours. If commercial refrigeration service in Missouri is a topic that needs to be addressed, contact American Services for further assistance.

Industrial Process Cooling

Industrial Process Cooling

industrial cooling in MOCooling things down, whether in a manufacturing plant or in a restaurant can be an expensive and technologically complicated process.  But to many in the manufacturing and food business fields, it is a necessary expense, whether we’re talking about food or working in the petroleum field, cooling is big business.

When it comes to keeping things cool there are two basic philosophies of doing it, absorption chillers or engine driven chillers.  Absorption chillers require a heat source, which of course requires energy, but they can be efficient if used in conjunction with a heat blow back system.  Meaning that the unit is self contained, supplying its own heat and fueling the absorption process.  Now, this energy isn’t free and still has to have electricity to run it, but does provide an efficient option.  But let’s lay that aside for now and look at how a “normal” absorption chiller works.  Once a heat source is supplied, which can be steam, electrical or gas fired heat, the absorption chiller uses that heat to bring a solution to its boiling point.  The solution can vary depending on the application, but is usually a mixture of lithium bromide and water.  The vapor from the boiling process is used to chill water after it has gone through a few processes like condensing, evaporating and absorbing.  Once that is achieved the chiller can be used to cool anything from the air in a building to equipment that generates too much heat.  On a historical note, these types of chillers were actually developed in the 19th century in Japan in an attempt to prevent the massive importing of foreign fuels, because of their inherent efficiency.

Engine driven chillers work a little bit differently than the absorption chiller process, these types of chillers are driven by fuel powered engines rather than an electric motor.  The benefit of using this type of chiller is that it can save owners money if electricity is at a high compared with the type of fuel that is being used to run it.  Of course, the corollary is also true and they may not be economically feasible if the fuel source becomes prohibitively expensive.

Chillers can be used in a variety of applications across the business spectrum.  You will find them being used for refrigeration, frozen food storage, air conditioning and in manufacturing applications where heat is a byproduct of the manufacturing.  The advantages of chillers is that they can be economical and also allow for the reuse of some of their byproducts which can lead to additional savings.  And if they are combined with geothermal applications, solar power or fuel cells, the economics can increase.  If you own a business and are in need of a cooling process that could save you money you should look into the different types of chillers that are available on the market today.

Whether you have an air cooled or water cooled chiller, we are the company you need to call for maintenance and service. We have the training and on-site experience to effectively and reasonably service your Chiller equipment. Our 24 hour emergency service provided by responsible well-trained technicians is just one of the benefits to being an American Services customer. We are accustomed to working on high demand accounts where time is money. We understand that you have to be up and running in order to make your business work.

For industrial cooling installation in MO, contact us today at American Services located in Saint Louis.



Managing Energy Costs for HVAC Systems

Managing Energy Costs for HVAC Systems

HVAC in MOAccording to the website, “Energy Star qualified HVAC products can save your business approximately $1.70 per square foot over the like of the equipment. For example, a 12,000 square foot building using an Energy Star qualified HVAC product could save more than $21,000 over its lifetime and prevent more than 40,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions”. Maximizing profitability is the primary goal for many. Energy costs are often some of the biggest variable expenses for businesses. It only makes sense to ensure that you are not throwing away good money by paying too much for energy.

They also state that, “according to the Consortium of Energy Efficiency, at least 25% of all rooftop HVAC units are oversized, resulting in increased energy costs and equipment wear. Properly sized equipment dramatically cuts energy costs, increases the life of the equipment, and reduces pollution”. Builders, business owners and other decision-makers should carefully select equipment before installing or replacing HVAC units. It is important to this about lifetime expenditures as opposed to initial equipment costs.

New and more efficient equipment isn’t the only way to save money on energy costs. Consider that pipe insulation can usually reduce energy loss by 90% and also that replacing or installing insulation on existing pipes can result in sizable rebates from some energy providers. If boilers are being utilized, installing turbulators increase heat transfer and boiler efficiency and can cut fuel costs by up to 4%.

The design and construction phase of new building presents the best opportunity to optimize energy efficiency, especially now that there are ever increasing options available that result in efficient building. However, for many moving operations into new structures isn’t a realistic option. For those who must to the best that they can with the space that they have, it is reassuring to know that there are many resources available to them too. For HVAC maintenance near University City, American Services can help.

Efficient Warehouse HVAC Heating

Efficient Warehouse HVAC Heating

HVAC Heating installation in MOEnergy expenses for many warehouses and distribution facilities are regularly as high as 10% of total cost for firms. The United Stated department of Energy estimates that these facilities account for around 8% of this country’s total energy usage in a given year. Heating, along with lighting, are one and two in terms of warehouse energy costs. These two categories account for 64% of overall warehouse energy consumption, according to Cambridge Energy Inc. 

With lighting, it is a little more straightforward regarding how to be conservative. Energy efficient bulbs and light timers can go a long way to saving money in this area. Heating and ventilation energy conservation can be a little trickier and often requires more thought and planning. Installing today’s most modern and efficient gas or electric heating equipment can have you up to 70% per year, when you factor in utility, operational and maintenance savings.

For facility heating, use high efficiency condensing furnaces and unit heaters. A furnace on the inside of the building, potentially suspended from the ceiling to save on space, is going to work better for you than a non-condensing outdoor furnace. Varying space conditioning temperatures and ventilation rates according to warehouse occupancy rates is an important part of the energy conservation process as well. Running programmable thermostats with time clocks, setbacks and demand control ventilation is another part of the puzzle.

Whether you are involved in building a new warehouse, upgrading an existing location, or attempting to green up your operation replacing worn out machinery and putting in the proper kind of warehouse equipment is vital. American Services offers advice and assistance regarding industrial HVAC heating near St. Louis County and would be happy to help any and all interested parties.

Commercial Refrigeration Systems-Freezers

Commercial Refrigeration Systems-Freezers

commercial refrigeration in MOAmerican Services commercial refrigeration service in Saint Louis MO knows that If you run a restaurant you know that food storage is a priority and a good quality freezer can end up saving you a lot of money.  Buying food in bulk is always less expensive, but storing it can often be a problem if your freezer either doesn’t have the capacity or just doesn’t work that well.  Since a freezer is a big expense it only makes sense to know what you’re doing before you buy.

The first thing you want to do when shopping for a product is get an idea of the manufacturers.  Start online and look at some companies that are selling commercial equipment.  From this research gather together some brand names and do some research on those companies, find out what manufacturers have the best reputation and then focus on those brands.  You will want to research any complaints or restaurant forums online that speak specifically to these brands, and also visit the company websites to do some research as well.

Now that you are well armed with information on the brands to shop for, you will want to make sure they are Energy Star qualified.  Shopping for an Energy Star qualified appliance means that the appliance was shown to be energy efficient as deemed by the US Environmental Protection Agency.  This rating will not only cut money from your electricity bill (30% on average), but will also be helping the environment, so it’s a win all the way around.

The next thing to consider as you are shopping around for a freezer is the physical space you have to put the appliance in.  There are a variety of space saving designs to look at, and of course a variety of freezer types from stand up to chest type versions, depending on what space you have to fill.  The other consideration is of course how much storage space you actually need.  Depending on the size of the restaurant and the expected customer volume you will have to size your freezer space accordingly.  Obviously you don’t want something too big as that will cause unnecessary waste or something too small, which will lead to a loss of money because of volume issues.  One way to research this is to find a restaurant in a neighboring town with a similar floor plan and see what they have.  You could even do it in your own town, but sometimes competition issues arise.

The last step is of course to purchase your new freezer and if you’ve done all the research, this should be a fairly simple step.  Make sure you have the correct electrical hook ups and have it professionally installed so nothing is damaged.  After that, buy your food and open the doors so people can start making your restaurant a favorite stop for all things culinary.

Restaurant Equipment Beverage System Configurations

Restaurant Equipment Beverage System Configurations

restaurant equipment beverage systems in MOWhen it comes to restaurant equipment such as beverage systems,  post-mix system is like a miniature soft drink factory. A carbonator carbonates the water from the building water supply. It is then refrigerated along with syrup that is pumped from a 5-gallon container. These two ingredients are then precisely mixed within the dispensing valve and poured into the cup. A finished drink manufactured on-site.

The post-mix countertop system is a common setup. Here the relationship of the dispenser, carbonator, water, syrup and CO2 are shown. The countertop dispenser is a mechanically refrigerated water bath style cooling unit with valves mounted on the front of the dispenser.

Post-mix syrup bag-in-the-box containers contain 5 gallons of syrup. When a container becomes empty it is simple to remove it and replace it with a full container. The syrup pump is connected to the Bag-in-the-Box container with a Quick-Disconnect. The Quick-Disconnect can be removed from the bag by withdrawing the plunger and then lifting the Quick-Disconnect from the bag fitting. Remove the empty Bag-in-Box. 

With an ice-cooled system the refrigeration type is the main difference. Here the refrigeration consists of a bin which holds ice and has a cold plate in the bottom, through which the syrup and water is cooled for your post-mix drink. A remote system separates the dispensing valves from the refrigeration system. Carbonated water or water bath water is circulated between the refrigeration unit and the dispensing valves to insure that a cold product will be dispensed.

Strict Attention must be observed in the prevention of carbon dioxide gas leaks in the entire CO2 and soft drink system. If a CO2 gas leak issues suspected, particularly in a small area, immediately ventilate the contaminated area before attempting to repair the leak. Personnel exposed to high concentration of CO2 gas will experience tremors which are followed rapidly by loss of consciousness and suffocation. For help with restaurant equipment beverage systems in St. Louis, contact American Services.


Supplemental Industrial Cooling Choices

Supplemental Industrial Cooling Choices

cooling HVAC in MOWhen it comes time to deciding how to cool down a large space, there are several options to consider.  Gone are the days when you just bought the largest HVAC system you could find and hoped that it did the job, now you have everything from misting fans to portable cooling units that can be focused on your high heat areas. 

One possible solution is to install an evaporative cooling system.  The principle behind this is that a large high velocity fan is installed and uses evaporated water to cool the air down, by as much as 15 degrees Fahrenheit.  This process is far cheaper than using a HVAC system by itself, which uses a large amount of energy and coolant to cool the air as it comes out of the ducts.  Now of course the evaporative cooling system won’t necessarily replace HVAC in some climates, but it can be a nice supplemental system to reduce operating costs.  In addition, for climates where the air is dry, you get the added benefit of adding humidity to the air, which is good for the workers overall.  These systems are also fairly simple to install and can be reconfigured as the demand arises.

Another option to help mitigate cooling costs is to install industrial ceiling fans.  Much like the fans you would install at home, only sized for larger environments.  These fans have massive blades that are specifically engineered to move great quantities of air, in order to improve circulation in a building.  The fans are also designed to run at low speed, which means they can still push large volumes of air, but use a small amount of energy and minimal force that translates to less wear and tear on the motor.  The fans can also be used in both summertime and wintertime by effectively moving either cool or heated air and saving both heating and cooling costs.

A final possibility for cooling a large warehouse of factory environment is to utilize portable systems.  This can be anything from a portable AC unit to cool down an office to a fan that is used in specific heat generating areas.  Manufacturers do make portable evaporative cooling fans that come in a variety of sizes and powers to adapt to almost any environment.  And of course as the needs change in the environment these fans can be wheeled around to where they are needed most.

Supplemental cooling systems are a great way to minimize costs and help insure that your employees are working in a comfortable environment.  Not only they will work well for your bottom line, but should increase production as well.  With that in mind, supplemental cooling systems provide a great investment, and a nice return on your money.

For a quote on industrial cooling HVAC installation in Missouri, contact us today at American Services.

New Restaurant Equipment vs. Buying Used

New Restaurant Equipment vs. Buying Used

restaurant cooking equipment in ILIt is only natural for business owners to want to save money as much as possible. The main consideration that must be addressed is whether short term savings will end up costing you more in the long term. Buying used restaurant equipment will save money initially, but restaurant owners should make sure that they are thinking ahead before deciding to do so. 

The peace of mind that comes with buying new equipment is certainly an advantage over buying used. New products and machines are usually guaranteed to work. Minimizing risk, in this way, is often worth the added expense. New equipment typically means getting a warranty that lasts for several years, covering parts and labor expenses. Even though there is no guarantee that new equipment will continue to work properly after the warranty expires, usually you will be getting equipment with a longer product life span. Furthermore, buyers would be able to ensure that the equipment was properly maintained right from the start.

New equipment sometimes comes with energy saving technology that isn’t available on used components. Even if this isn’t the case, equipment tends to lose energy efficiency capability with usage. It is a pretty situation rare when you are fully confident that the mechanical devices in question were well taken care of by previous owners and operators 

For those who decide to purchase used equipment, there are several tips to keep in mind. Sticking with top-of-the-line brands takes some of the risk out of the scenario. Also, go with gas. Gas cooking equipment has few working parts that could malfunction and operational defects are typically easier to detect. Lastly, buying used fryer equipment may be a mistake, since they have historically shorter usable lives. American Services can help locate, install and potentially maintain commercial restaurant equipment In Collinsville.

Choosing an HVAC Contractor

Choosing an HVAC Contractor

HVAC Contractor in MOWhen it comes time to have your HVAC system installed it is important that you choose the right contractor or you will have years of regret to live with.  But how do you go about choosing the right HVAC contractor?  There are some simple steps you can follow to make sure you are making the right choice.

The first thing that you will want to do is to start making some calls to various HVAC contractors in your city.  See how they are on the phone.  Are they courteous and professional or rude and hurried?  Are they willing to discuss prices or are they secretive about it?  Now don’t be surprised if they don’t give you a quote over the phone, in all fairness they will probably have to come to your location to see the work they will have to do.  But do be hesitant if they won’t discuss anything over the phone.  They should at least give you some ballparks and possible hourly work rates.  Now, based on your phone calls make a list of companies you definitely want to have come out and then some alternates just in case.  Once you’ve compiled the list, begin to make appointments.

Now that you have the list and have made some appointments you will want to have the contractors come out to your place of business and start giving you written quotes.  This is also the time to make sure this is someone that you can work with during the installation process.  Out of this group now you will want to narrow it down either by price or by those you are willing to work with.  Once this second list is compiled, the research can now begin.  Check all the contractors against any complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau.  Also do a web search of the company and see what comes up, include the individual names of anyone you met because they might have worked for another company in the past.  You will also want to verify that they are properly licensed and insured so you know you are hiring a professional and they carry enough insurance to cover any issues.  You can check state licensing boards to check credentials.

Now that all the web checks and phone calls have been made you will want to visit their office to make sure everything looks legit. They should have a physical location, so if you have any issues you can actually visit them and you also know they aren’t going to leave in the middle of the night.  You will want to make sure that they have an office and a mobile phone so that they can be reached if you should ever need assistance.  Finally, make sure that you get a written contract and that you get a copy that you can study carefully.

If you follow all these steps you can rest assured that you did all that you can do to insure that you hired a competent technician.  If you have any problems be sure to first speak to the contractor about the issue and if necessary get legal advice on how to proceed.  Just remember that installing a commercial HVAC system can be expensive and you want to be sure that you get your money’s worth.

American Services offers top notch contractors for HVAC installation and repair in Missouri.


Heat Pump Are Viable Options for Commercial Heating

Heat Pump Are Viable Options for Commercial Heating

industrial heating service in MOIn most cases heat pumps are used to heat and cool spaces.  However, in other instances they can be used to heat up water as well. Heat pumps can just heat the water or can be used to heat and cool spaces in tandem. Heat pumps use electricity to displace heat, rather than generating heat directly. For this reason, they can often be a good, efficient option for temperature control and for water heating.

A stand-alone heat pump water heater extracts warmth from the surrounding air and displaces it at a higher temperature into a reservoir where the water is then heated. Heat pump water heaters require setup in spaces that stay in the 40 to 90 degree Fahrenheit range. Furthermore, at least 1,000 cubic feet of air space is required for the pump to work properly. Beyond that, heat pumps will not function well in cold spaces, as they tend to cool when they operate already. Installing a combination heating, cooling and water heating system would mean pulling heat indoors from the outside in the winter and from the indoor air in the summer. That being said, any air-source heat pump system works better in a warmer climate.

Geothermal heat pumps pull up heat from the ground in the winter and from air inside during summer months, for heating and cooling. In order to heat water, a desuperheater can be used along with the geothermal heat pump. This device is a small heat exchanger that pulls superheated gases from the heat pump compressor to heat water. The water then gets stored in a water heater storage tank for usage on demand. To get more information or assistance with heating installation near Sunset Hills contact American Services