This Earth Day, Let’s Celebrate How Far Commercial Refrigeration Has Come
It was always important in the world of commercial refrigeration, but this year April 22, 2020 marks Earth Day’s 50th anniversary of the event, which was “born” in 1970 when 20 million Americans gathered to protest environmental ignorance and demand a new way forward for our planet.
The official theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate change (a cause near and dear to our hearts here at Minus Forty) and, perhaps more importantly, it’s also our first Earth Day during an extreme global pandemic. In the interest of social distancing to prevent the virus spread, 2020 Earth Day events are going completely digital.
It’s an understatement to say that COVID-19 has certainly been a challenge for everyone, however one of the more positive outcomes is the sudden and dramatic reduction in pollution.
Because of the government mandated shutdowns of non-essential services, sources of pollution such as traffic-jammed highways have temporarily ceased, and we have seen the impact in a very short amount of time. For example, Venice, Italy’s waterways have turned noticeably clear due to less water pollution and northern India’s residents can see the Himalayan mountains for the first time in 30 years due to less air pollution. These results show us what’s truly possible.
At Minus Forty, every day is Earth Day
Yes, we are passionate about making the best glass door commercial refrigeration units, but taking care of our planet is something we are equally passionate about here at Minus Forty. Since we opened our doors over 30 years ago, we vowed to not only be leaders in reliability and performance, but also in energy efficiency. From the materials we use in our products, to the measures we’ve taken to make our facility as sustainable as possible, we put our passion into practice every single day.
One of the first to use environmentally-friendly refrigerant
Using more environmentally friendly refrigerants is now the law, but we were one of the first in North America to proactively develop R290 refrigerant as a replacement for ozone-depleting R404A. The switch to R290 refrigerant is “win-win” for both the planet and the end user for numerous reasons: it significantly lowers our greenhouse gas emissions, has no ODP (ozone depletion potential), very low GWP (global warming potential) and enables the units it’s used in to run far more efficiently. The reduction in energy usage is huge – a whopping 55% drop on average across all our products – which means they all cost far less to run than pre-R290 models.
Our high-performing insulation contains no harmful HFCs
Insulation is one of the major factors in making a refrigeration unit both effective and energy efficient. The industry standard is to use spray foam insulation with hydro-fluorocarbons or HFCs, which are ozone-depleting and dangerous to even breathe in. There was no question about our choice to use an alternative foam insulation with no ODP (ozone depletion potential), no VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) or GWP (global warming potential). It may not be the norm in the industry, but a choice we are happy to have made to protect both our workers and the planet.
Devoted to making energy efficient products
In addition to environmentally friendly refrigerant and insulation, all our products are built with a long list of energy saving features like the best door sealing in the industry, the most energy efficient glass available and a unique low maintenance condenser style that helps maintain operating efficiency.
Since spoiled product is one of the most tragic wastes of energy, that’s why our units all have a NAMA certified fully integrated SmartLock™ health timer, which protects the integrity of food. We were also one of the first commercial refrigeration manufacturers to introduce energy saving LED lighting, which is up to 85% more efficient than other bulbs.
We’ve gone solar and paperless, too
We don’t just make energy efficient products using environmentally friendly materials, we also strive to be green in the manufacturing process itself. In 2014, we installed a 250-Kilowatt capacity solar generator on our facility plant’s rooftop.
We’ve also converted all our offices to paperless operations, and have since expanded our paperless mission to our manufacturing areas — where our operators now use tablets to receive work orders and instructions. We make sure that any paper we still do use is produced from sustainable forest programs.
A shout out to our essential services clients
From grocery and convenience stores to pet food, many of our clients have been deemed “essential services,” during the current pandemic lockdown, and we are proud to continue to serve them. All of us at Minus Forty would like to say “thank you” to everyone bravely working the front lines.
As we all move forward together, it’s good to focus on what we’ve managed to accomplish so far and remain optimistic. This Earth Day, and every day, Minus Forty’s commitment to commercial refrigeration innovations that help the planet, and our customers, remains strong as ever.