Worldwide the food system is responsible for 33% of GHG emissions. It is estimated that by 2050, total food production should be 70% more than current food production levels. In the UK, food chain is responsible for around 18% of final energy use and 20% of GHG emissions. Estimates indicate that energy savings of the order of 50% are achievable in food chains by appropriate technology changes in food production, processing, packaging, transportation, and consumption.
Ventilation and infiltration accounts for a significant percentage of the energy use in food retail (supermarkets) and catering facilities service buildings such as restaurants and drink outlets. In addition, environmental conditions to maintain indoor air quality and comfort for the users with minimum energy use for such buildings are of a primary importance for the business owners and designers. In particular, supermarkets and restaurants present design and operational challenges because the HVAC system has some unique and diverse conditions that it must handle.
This paper presents current information of energy use in food retail and catering facilities and continues by focussing on the role of ventilation strategies in food retail supermarkets. It presents the results of current studies in the UK where operational low carbon supermarkets are predicted to save 66% of CO2 emissions compared to a base case store. It shows that low energy ventilation strategies ranging from improved envelope air-tightness, natural ventilation components, reduction of specific fan power, novel refrigeration systems using CO2 combined with ventilation heat recovery can lead to significant savings with attractive investment return. Finally, the potential of ventilation coupled with sensible and latent energy storage for load shifting is proposed as an area worth investigating.