What other measures does ALDI SÜD take to achieve an improved energy balance?
Schmitter: Thanks to the comprehensive integration of modern fluorescent lighting with electronic ballasts in freezer cases, we were able to already achieve significant energy savings; in fact up to 35 percent compared to conventional lighting systems. Since the lighting we use has a considerably longer lifespan, higher light output and energy efficiency, we also save important resources and are able to reduce our electronic waste immensely. Since 2012, all of our new freezers and cooling shelves are equipped with LED lighting. Particularly in a cold environment, the very high efficiency of this LED technology can be optimally utilized.
However, we are also pursuing many other measures, addressing –among others – topics such as optimized night covers, Frigotakt PLUS Control (the Frigotakt Plus Control process continuously calculates the ideal operating point of the unit), speed-regulated compressors, energy-saving fans, waste heat recovery, optimized defrost management systems, Bitzer ECOLINE compressors, additional condenser unit cleaning throughout the year or a full maintenance contract with predetermined service intervals.
We also conduct quarterly conferences with our suppliers to discuss energy consumption and refrigerant losses. Every new unit also receives a technical inspection by an external service provider.
What role does the use of intelligent control systems as well as other technical improvements in cooling units play during daily operations at an ALDI SÜD store?
Schmitter: Intelligent control systems have many advantages for daily operations. On the one hand, by using our intelligent control systems we guarantee an optimal temperature level in our cooling shelves and freezers. It is our requirement that our customers receive our products at anytime and anywhere on the cooling shelf or in the freezer at the required temperature level. Our intelligent cooling control systems make it possible to optimize the evaporation temperature at the individual cooling positions and the multi-compressor refrigeration system.
In addition, we have introduced energy monitoring via remote data transmission and also control the settings by remote transmission. Run-time control for the compressors and load management result in continuous energy improvement. What’s more, they allow us to act proactively in terms of the units – instead of just reacting to problems like before.
Particularly with regard to the F-gas regulation that becomes effective on January 1, 2015, the technical development of Mobilec is a big advantage in daily operations at ALDI SÜD. Mobilec, short for “mobile leakage monitoring system“, is an innovative quality assurance system for tracking all refrigerant activities and services such as maintenance operations and leak testing. Mobilec utilizes communication options between the mobile phone of the service employee on site and the benefits of central data management and evaluation. Today, Mobilec already tracks all refrigerant activities and automatically informs the responsible regional subsidiary about an increased leakage rate of a unit. Thanks to Mobilec, today we already meet the “record-keeping and reporting requirements” of the upcoming F-gas regulation.
Many supermarket operators use systems with integrated waste heat recovery to further increase sustainability. Does ALDI SÜD also use these kinds of solutions?
Schmitter: Yes, we do. In our system concepts at ALDI SÜD, we differentiate between waste heat recovery from ventilation systems and waste heat recovery from cooling processes.