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eCube is a device for commercial refrigerators and freezers that saves energy and increases equipment life. Originally designed as a food safety device, and certified by NSF International, these units have been used in the UK for more than four years and are now available to the U.S. market.
Thermostats in commercial refrigeration units measure air temperature rather than the temperature of the food and beverage being stored. And, because air temperature is volatile and higher than the temperature of the food, refrigeration units cycle on and off more than necessary. Commercial refrigerators waste 15% to 30% of their energy and run 50% or more cycles than necessary trying to keep food temperature constant.
eCube consists of a food simulant contained in a plastic enclosure that mimics food temperature at approximately 15mm beneath the surface. With eCube, the thermostat regulates the refrigeration temperature based upon food temperature rather than air temperature. When fitted to the thermostat sensor, which controls the compressor, eCube reduces compressor cycles by at least 50% and saves an average of 20% in energy while reducing wear and tear on the equipment.
An example from eCube: a dairy case cycles 3 minutes on, 2 minutes off = 12 cycles per hour. With eCube, the cycles change to 8 minutes on, 7 minutes off = 4 cycles per hour. As the start-up of a refrigerator compressor uses three times more power (i.e., start-up 12 amps, run 4 amps) energy savings are achieved. Also, the more efficient refrigeration cycle leads to a more efficient unit, which leads to a colder storage area. Consequently, the thermostat’s set point is adjusted upward to compensate for the colder temperature created by eCube, thereby saving additional energy.
eCube is available in three models/sizes in order to fit the probes on various thermostats. Facilities can expect a two year (or better) financial return on the investment and the units are expected to last indefinitely, as there are no electrical or mechanical parts.
Companies that have installed the product in refrigeration units at their facilities include Wendy’s, Holiday Inn, TGI Friday’s, Marriott, and Dunkin Donuts.