One of the most important types of refrigerated storage in a commercial or institutional kitchen is walk-in storage. There are other types of refrigerated storage conveniently located near the preparation area, like sandwich units, pizza preparation units, or under-counter units. Still, the bulk storage is located in the walk-in cooler or freezer.
There are many different walk-in manufacturers, but one of the main things that set them apart is what kind of medium is located between the interior and exterior metal skins, the insulation that is used. The insulation medium used most often on the higher quality products is either polyurethane or expanded polystyrene insulation Houston. Some of the budget or less expensive walk-ins manufactured may use polyisocyanurate or styrofoam as insulation.
The efficiencies of the various types of insulation are measured by what is referred to as the R value. The higher quality and, consequently, the more expensive insulation has an R value of anywhere from R-25 to R-32. The higher the R value, the more efficient the insulation. While you will pay more money upfront for the higher quality insulation, you will pay less in energy costs to refrigerate a walk-in cooler or freezer over the years, and the return on investment is huge.
Other energy saving features that have an excellent return on investment are LED lights. The energy consumed by the cheaper incandescent lights is much greater than LED lights. Also, the LED lights have better coverage resulting in you needing fewer lights.
There are also refrigeration controls that are a great investment. Both coolers and freezers have evaporators that have to defrost regularly to operate correctly. The defrost cycle uses a lot of energy, so the less defrost cycles you need saves a lot of electricity. Units that only defrost on demand instead of a set number of times a day is a tremendous energy saver.
As you can see, there are times that you are better off spending money up front to save money operating costs over the lifetime of your refrigerated storage.