Engineering Supermarket Solutions Amid COVID-19
In just about every industry, the pandemic has changed the way we do business, as well as the way businesses must respond in order to stay financially viable. Supermarket designs have dramatically changed in what seems like an overnight overhaul of the traditional supermarket setup.
Here are some of the major changes we have seen in the geography of supermarket environments that are forcing changes to the engineering of refrigeration and HVAC solutions within these stores.
- Limited in-store occupancy with shoppers waiting in outdoor lines at six-foot distances
- One-way aisles indicated by directional arrows
- Sneeze guards installed around cashiers and check-out lanes
- Removal of bulk foods, and self-service/salad bars
- In-store food service areas repurposed as click and collect stations
- Click and collect stations relocated to fronts of stores
- Empty refrigeration cases, yet the need for increased walk-in cooler and freezer capacity to accommodate growing click and collect models
- Micro fulfillment centers as store sections are converted to warehouses to store product
Why does this matter to us at CoolSys?
It matters to us because it matters to you. CoolSys Energy Design has a team of 100 refrigeration and HVAC engineers who are rapidly responding to the fast and furious changes that are impacting our industry as a result of the pandemic. The changes directly impact our role as consulting engineers as we consider how supermarkets are being forced to rethink the way they need to operate moving forward. We are reengineering the way stores merchandise their goods, for example by providing recommendations to incorporate additional refrigerator capacity, ideally without needing to increase equipment and energy consumption.
What role does refrigeration engineering play to help mitigate COVID-19?
Understanding how stores work, and how they’ll work while concurrently incorporating COVID-19 mitigation efforts, is vital to the viability of the refrigeration and HVAC industry. At CoolSys, we’re providing guidance and recommendations to our customers to create safe shopping environments that limit the ability of viruses to be transmitted from shopper to shopper.
As the leading HVAC-R experts, we have deep knowledge of the technologies that can kill viruses in air streams and the ways to effectively incorporate these strategies into our customers’ stores. We account for these considerations on behalf of our customers, among many others.
- How do we leverage existing HVAC-R systems to bring in as much outdoor fresh air as possible into the store?
- What are effective strategies for flushing the stores of recirculated air during lower occupancy times?
- How can we use exhaust and cooking hoods to put stores at negative pressures and dilute the air?
- How can we leverage filtration systems to catch smaller particles while maintaining adequate air movement and energy efficiency in the HVAC system?