The P & M Group

The hidden cost of a coldstore – Closing the door on thermal loss

Coldstore operators are becoming increasingly concerned about the financial and environmental cost of running their facilities. Minimising energy usage, employing effective maintenance and reducing operational risks is now a top priority. The P & M Group has launched the third and final report in our trilogy of white papers to highlight the hidden costs of a coldstore. Published jointly by our group’s constituent companies in collaboration with the Cold Chain Federation, the report focuses on how doors affect a building’s performance. 


Coldstores are highly energy intensive, which means that more sustainable choices and practices have a major impact on the triple bottom line of People, Profit and Planet. Our white paper trilogy highlights key areas where owners can improve operational and environmental performance. The first in the series, with P&M Group member PLG Insulations, explored the impact of pipework insulation, whilst the second with ISD Solutions focused on thermal efficiency and air tightness. This final report shines a light on how doors contribute to air infiltration, highlighting the damage this causes to your facility and what this means for your business’ bottom line and carbon footprint. We share our expertise on selecting the right type of door for the application, understanding energy saving features and how to maintain and use them to maximum effect.


At The P & M Group, we are committed to supporting customers in optimising building performance and doors play a pivotal role in energy efficiency. They are the weak link when it comes to air tightness, which is critical when you consider that warmer air infiltration accounts for 32% of heat gain in an average facility. The hidden costs are huge. Assuming 5 hours of incorrect usage per day (this may seem high but is not unusual), we have calculated that the added cubic metres of air entering a large coldstore could cost almost £24,000 in extra energy consumption and 18.35 tonnes of carbon emissions (CO2e) per year.


Our report explores the consequences of selecting the right specification of door, ensuring it is properly maintained and not left open longer than necessary. When choosing a door, it is important to consider the demands placed upon it and factors like the temperature differential between the spaces it connects. 


We investigate the factors that influence door efficiency, ranging from the use of airlocks to the quality of components. Our report goes on to examine the three key areas of consideration for minimising heat gain through doors: design and installation, operations, and maintenance.


The consequences of making the wrong choice regarding coldstore doors are wide ranging, including higher risk of health and safety incidents, higher energy bills and carbon footprint. Even where the right door has been selected, maintenance is key, and we provide guidance on how to put an effective and robust maintenance programme in place.


It has never made more sense to invest in the longevity of coldstore facilities and put efficiency at the heart of decision making from the design phase through to construction, use and maintenance. Our report also highlights the importance of training staff in ensuring doors are used to optimal effect.


A key takeaway from the final part of our trilogy is the need to seek expert advice at every stage. Our team is always at hand to provide insight on anything from selecting the most appropriate door to maximising its effectiveness and efficiency. Take time to talk to us about 

the environmental and cost benefits of improving the energy efficiency of your coldstore fabric. From doors to panels, our sustainable solutions can help future proof your operation for the benefit of People, Profit and Planet.


Click here to download part 3 of the trilogy and read more depth about the topic of efficient door systems.

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