DA12 Energy Efficiency in Cold Rooms

DA12 Energy Efficiency in Cold Rooms is a new Design Application (DA) manual in AIRAH's collection of technical resources.

What are walk-in cold rooms?

Walk-in cold rooms are intended to store chilled or frozen foodstuffs and other perishable items. They are accessible by at least one door, suitable for persons to walk through.

How can this DA manual help?

This manual covers walk-in cold rooms constructed from insulated sandwich panels, forming an enclosure that is constructed onsite or is factory built and prefabricated, delivered either ready for assembly or made up and pre-assembled.

Set for an April 2020 release, DA12 covers:

  • Design considerations
  • A star rating index for walk-in cold rooms
  • Refrigeration equipment, controls and defrost
  • Insulated enclosures
  • Installation, commissioning, operation, maintenance and documentation
  • And more.

DA12 is designed for:

As the definitive reference for walk-in cold room energy efficiency in Australia, this manual is designed for engineers, refrigeration technicians and contractors, as well as equipment owners, operators and specifiers.

Using DA12 will help all stakeholders overcome the barriers to improved energy efficiency in cold room operation. Anyone involved in the design, construction, commissioning, operation, maintenance and documentation of energy-efficient walk-in cool rooms and freezers should keep a copy of this manual handy.


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About DA12

According to Cold Hard Facts 3, in 2018 there were about 260,000 walk-in cold rooms (80 per cent) and freezers (20 per cent) in Australia. The average system consumed around 18,800kWh/year, with a total national annual electricity consumption of about 4800GWh. Energy wastage was conservatively estimated at more than 25 per cent of consumption, or 1200GWh/year.

Cold rooms and freezer refrigeration systems typically have the highest leak rates in the economy, and use high global warming potential refrigerants. This sector clearly offers opportunities for reductions in costs and environmental impact.

AIRAH teamed up with industry stakeholders (including the Expert Group and AIRAH members) and government (Victoria’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning) to conduct field research into barriers to improve energy efficiency in the walk-in cold room and freezer room sector of the refrigerated cold chain. The project findings concluded that energy efficiency uptake was poor in the walk-in cold rooms sector because:

  • There was no good-practice guideline or technical standard for walk-in cold rooms that covered design, installation, commissioning and maintenance
  • There was no requirement to undertake an accurate heat load calculation
  • Minimal documentation was provided to the contractor or end user 
  • When installing equipment that requires charging with refrigerant, there was no requirement for specific skill sets for service providers, except a refrigerant handling licence
  • The National Construction Code had no energy efficiency requirements for walk-in cold rooms, and there was no efficiency measure or label requirement under Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards
  • It was difficult for end users to understand what the walk-in cold rooms may cost to operate or what constitutes poor or good operating efficiency.

To help overcome the identified barriers, the collaborating team produced this DA manual on energy efficiency in cold rooms. DA12 provides an overview of the key factors that affect efficiency in the refrigerated walk-in cold room storage sector. It covers small- to medium-sized refrigerated storage, excluding refrigeration display appliances, large cold-storage facilities, and specialised systems used exclusively for medical, scientific or research applications.

For more information on AIRAH’s Refrigeration Special Technical Group, please click here.

  • AIRAH runs a variety of face to face, distance learning and online training courses covering technical areas of HVAC; sustainability; refrigeration; and water treatment. Click here for details
On Thursday, May 7, AIRAH hosted a Streamline session on DA12 Energy Efficiency in Cold Rooms with Peter Brodribb, M.AIRAH. AIRAH members are able to watch a recording of the presentation and Q&A here.
Explore AIRAH's other coming Streamline sessions