Commercial refrigeration uses roughly 1.3 quads per year of source energy, representing about 7% of total commercial building use in the U.S. In supermarkets, grocery stores, and convenience stores, refrigeration can account for up to half of a building's total energy use. The Refrigeration Technology Research Team is pleased to provide resources, information, and guidance on improving the efficiency of new and existing refrigeration systems and components. 

Ensure Project Success : Refrigeration Commissioning Guide
Showcase Your Refrigeration System: Contribute a Case Study
Events Calendar

Better Buildings partners participate in webinars, peer-exchange calls, meetings, and industry workshops and conferences. Browse upcoming events and opportunities to participate by month.


The Refrigeration Technology Research Team is not currently active. For questions about the resources on this page, please contact the Better Buildings Alliance. 

The 2020 Summit is Going Virtual

The Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit is transitioning to a virtual leadership symposium, taking place June 8-11, 2020. Experience 4 days of sessions, workshops, recognition, and more with industry experts and peers.

Featured Solutions

This report breaks down best practices and guidelines for conducting case retrofits by project stage, from initial planning through project completion and system monitoring.
This case study documents one year of operating experience with a transcritical carbon dioxide (TC CO2) booster refrigeration system at Delhaize America’s Hannaford supermarket location in Turner, Maine.
This report is a field test of a liquid refrigerant pump that enhances the performance of a supermarket refrigeration system.
Field demonstrations of high-efficiency permanent magnet synchronous (PMS) AC motors for evaporator fans in commercial refrigeration equipment that was developed in partnership with DOE.
This report is a laboratory evaluation of transcritical CO2 booster system for supermarket refrigeration.

Other Resources


Spreadsheet tool for a mechanical designer to calculate the feasibility of heat recovery system integration. Assumes that the refrigeration system is a system with a single suction group.

Case Studies

This case study, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, discusses the motivation, implementation, and results of Fresh & Easy’s case retrofit program.
Pilot project to characterize and estimate the potential for supermarkets to participate in utility demand-response programs, with focus on the refrigeration system.
To advance its commitment to cutting energy waste, CKE, in collaboration with Southern California Edison’s (SCE) New Products Development and Launch (NPDL) organization, field tested an advanced demand defrost control system for walk-in coolers and freezers in their Carl’s Jr. restaurants. 


Easy-to-use guidance for achieving 50% energy savings in new grocery stores ranging in size from 25,000 to 65,000 ft2 with medium- and low-temperature refrigerated cases and walk-ins.


Refrigeration often accounts for over half of the energy consumption in supermarkets, grocery stores, and convenience stores. Learn how the Better Buildings Alliance is helping members reduce refrigeration energy consumption.
Learn about the Refrigeration team's current initiatives, future activities, and resource development and deployment from day 1 of the Summit. 
Learn about the Refrigeration team's current initiatives, future activities, and resource development and deployment from day 2 of the 2014 Summit.
Refrigeration Systems: How Smart is Yours? 2016 Better Buildings Summit
In this session, panelists described how display-case controllers can help lower costs for installation, start up, energy, and maintenance, all while improving food quality and safety. Learn whether display-case controllers are right for your food retail business.


Experimental and analytical evaluation using thermal mass in supermarket refrigerated display cases to lower peak electric demand.

Showcase Projects

Brooklyn Third and 3rd Showcase Project
Whole Foods installed a Gray/storm water recycling system, a 157-kW combined heat and power (CHP) plant, a 324-kW solar canopy array, and 19 self-generating wind/solar powered parking lot lights at this Brooklyn, NY store.
South Euclid, OH Showcase Project
Store #2362 in South Euclid, OH, was selected by Walmart to serve as a platform to test and showcase technologies that go above and beyond what is required to achieve LEED® Silver certification.


This webinar was an introduction to case door retrofit technology and the potential that it offers food retail store operators.

Additional Information

GreenChill Partnership
An EPA partnership with food retailers to reduce refrigerant emissions, global warming and ozone layer impacts.

ENERGY STAR Commercial Refrigerators and Freezers
A directory of qualified self-contained commercial refrigeration equipment.

Commercial Refrigeration Equipment Rulemaking
DOE energy conservation standards and test procedure rulemaking documents. Includes discussions on energy-efficient technologies and full analytical results.

Food Marketing Institute
Among many other things, FMI provides information and resources related to food retail, and hosts the annual Energy & Store Development Conference.


Meet the Technology Expert