New insulated glass doors are said to reduce energy consumption by up to 60 percent.

The Cologne, Germany-based Remis GmbH has formed a joint venture with Elkhart, Ind.-based Dehco Inc. to create Remis America LLC and put insulated glass doors, popular in Europe, on mechanical refrigeration cases in a growing number of supermarkets in the United States.

Two recent installations involved Martin’s supermarkets in Mishawaka, Ind., and a Sweetbay store in Tampa, Fla.

According to a statement from Remis America, Martin’s plans to expand the installations to stores in North Central Indiana and Southern Michigan. The pilot project in Mishawaka involved about 88 feet of upright refrigerated display cases.

The idea was to reduce energy consumption by about 60 percent over traditional open food cases. That was looked at as an environmental benefit. Said Jim Schwartz, CEO of Remis America, “Our energy saving products will allow retailers throughout North America the opportunity to have a positive effect on the environment.”

In addition, an in-store survey showed customers being less motivated to pull product from the back of the case where they traditionally have believed was a colder area. Instead, said Schwartz, they perceived the overall space to be colder and the products fresher.

An additional benefit of the glass cases, he said, was an extra refrigeration barrier that could prove helpful in maintaining food quality longer in case of a power outage.

The Sweetbay project involved a store in the Hyde Park section of Tampa with about 76 feet of doors retrofitted along a multi-deck refrigeration display case.

Schwartz said the doors have been engineered to custom fit individual case specifications and have been used in more than 10,000 retail stores in Europe.

With that track record in Europe, Remis GmbH began looking for a distribution and manufacturing partner in the United States and approached Dehco which itself has more than 50 years of manufacturing and supply chain management. Dehco has six locations in the United States and more than 500,000 square feet of warehouse space.

Matt Pletcher, managing director for Remis America said, “The combination of consumer benefits and energy savings, along with the creation of new jobs, makes this venture a positive event for Elkhart County (Indiana) and grocery retailers across the United States and Canada.” The Elkhart facility produces tempered glass refrigerator doors and bunker freezer covers.

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Publication date:09/07/2009