Refrigerating plants in hotel and catering industry

To the frequent uses of refrigerating plants in hotel and catering industry was not paid a lot of attention in the way of energy efficiency so far. We are talking about plug-in cooling units and custom-made cooling equipment. Aim of the project: finding out the manner and amount of refrigeration usage, as well as the estimation of energy savings potential and measures, especially for custom-made cooling equipment.

Short Description




Until now, little regard has been paid to the numerous appliances of cooling devices in the hotel and hospitality sector regarding their energy efficiency.

Objective of the project

The objective of the project was appraising the extent and description of the electric power requirement of cooling devices in the hotel and hospitality sector as well as identifying energy-saving potential and concrete possibilities of optimisation. In addition, the implementation of said potentials is assisted by a consulting manual.


Based on the evaluation of cooling devices in 30 Tyrolean businesses, their electric power requirements and energy-saving potentials as well as possibilities of heat recovery were investigated. Accordingly, manuals for energy consultants were developed.


1. Power requirements and possibilities of optimisation:

The electric power requirements in a typical 3 – to 4- star hotel for cooling devices amounts to 2,8 kWh per guest-night and accordingly 18 % of the overall power requirement of 15,3 kWh per guest-night. Of these 2,8 kWh per guest-night 1 kWh is used by plug-in devices such as ice-crushers, carbonators, wine coolers, mini bars etc; while 1,8 kWh are used for industrial, individually manufactured cooling devices.

Projecting this figure on the Tyrol, this means an energy demand of 77 GWh per year for cooling devices, taking into account ca. 27,5 million overnight stays in hotels and guest houses in 2009. This corresponds to the energy demand of 22.000 households or approximately just less than half of the annual output of the Inn power station in Langkampfen.

Of these, 50 GWh are used in individually built cooling devices. The theoretical electric energy-saving potential of individually built cooling devices amounts to 8 % in case of adaptation and refurbishment; in the case of reconstruction of the refrigeration system (RPM-regulated multi compressor refrigeration system) in combination with standard insulated cold rooms 33 %, and in combination with first-class insulated cold rooms even 50 %. The potential for heat recovery of refurbished refrigeration systems in the Tyrol amounts to 55 GWh per year in case of reconstruction with standard insulated cold rooms and 41 GWh per year in case of reconstruction with high quality insulated cold rooms.

2. Support of implementation and, accordingly, energy counselling:

In addition to the counselling manual as defined by the project goal, three partly computer-based tools and a new system of assessment were developed.

  1. Checklist for cooling devices (Consultants)
  2. Excel Refrigeration Counselling Tool
  3. Excel ordering criteria with explicit quality requirements (consultant and hotel owner)

With this very simple method, the energy saving potential of cooling devices can be assessed for the first time. In the evaluation tool and the ordering criteria a new assessment system with the categories A++, A+ and A was developed, since such a system was not available for industrial, individually configured cooling devices so far.


The results show a huge potential in the modernisation of industrial refrigeration systems. Completely new investments with multi compressor refrigeration systems are particularly interesting from an energetic and economic view-point, since it generates two-fold benefit due to an optimal potential of heat recovery.

The reconstruction of individual systems often prevents sensible package solutions later on. The current subsidy grant structure in the Tyrol and Austria is inadequate. Subsidies are granted for heat recovery but not the new construction of better insulated cold rooms or low-current installations. As in building, thermal insulation and efficient cooling should be subsidised.

Project Partners

Project management

DI Roland Kapferer
Energie Tirol


Michael Braito
Energie Tirol

Project or cooperation partner

  • DI Andreas Greml
    TB Greml
  • DI Wolfgang Kreuzer
    TB Kreuzer

Contact Address

Energie Tirol
DI Roland Kapferer
Südtiroler Platz 4/3
A-6020 Innsbruck
Tel.: +43 (512) 589913 -15
Fax: +43 (512) 589913 -30