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Why do they cool the aisles?!

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Have you been food shopping lately? If so have you shivered through the dairy and produce aisles?  Have you ever wondered why the refrigeration aisles in food stores don’t have any doors on them to keep the cool air in? Instead all of that cool air gets shared throughout the the store.

Can this be energy-efficient?

This year as I realized how darn cold it is in these aisles, I started wondering why they leave it so open? Sure it’s easier to browse this way, but in a day and age when conserving electricity and money is and should be all of our concerns, it makes me wonder why they do this. Most of the stores I shop at are quite large, so that cool air can’t really be helping with the air condition. And what about during the winter time? Do they have to turn up the heat to keep customers warm? Doesn’t make sense to me . . .

Do any of you have thoughts on this? Does anyone work at store?

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1 Cherie { 07.12.10 at 5:37 pm }

The store I usually shop in is not overly cool. Have also noticed the lights in the freezer section are not on motion detectors. I shop later at night and might notice it more than those who always shop during the day. They turn on as I go down the aisle. My store seems to be making the effort, if out of necessity or more altruistic motivations, doesn’t matter, end result is the same.

2 Sandi Duncan { 07.12.10 at 3:30 pm }

@KaToNaStick … very interesting so you are suggesting it’s actually rather energy efficient doing it this way? I have wondered as well about the blast of heat or a/c when you walk in a store

3 KaToNaStIcK { 07.12.10 at 2:28 pm }

The concept is simple – have an open shopping area, with refrigeration fans blowing at the bottom, fans sucking in on top. This creates a swirling action that circulates the air through the product, not just sitting in it. In effect, an “air curtain” is created, and is fairly efficient compared to doors. Ever walk into Sams or Costco and a fan is blowing down hard on you? Same concept; that force prevents cool air getting out, warm air in, and vice versa. Yes, I have managed several food supercenters in my time!

4 Robert_H { 07.12.10 at 12:58 pm }

My guess is the doors fog up when they are opened and closed. That cuts down on the sales. Hard to snag an impulse buyer if he can’t see your product.

5 Courtney { 07.12.10 at 12:12 pm }

I’m no expert, but I’m sure there are motors that run these coolers and generate heat, which in turn could cause spoilage of fresh food. At the same time, when you open doors, the temp drops dramatically in the cooler. So it probably does conserve energy to keep the whole area cooled instead of the thermostat going up and down constantly trying to stay at the same temp.

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