ASHRAE has published theAdvanced Energy Design Guide for Grocery Stores, which focuses on grocery stores ranging in size from 25,000 to 65,000 square feet with medium- and low-temperature refrigerated cases and walk-ins. The information in this guide can be combined with that in Advanced Energy Design Guide for Medium to Big-Box Retail Buildings and used for larger stores that consist of both grocery and general merchandise.

It is available for free download at

ASHRAE notes that grocery stores often present unique challenges in the design process because of the balance that needs to be created between refrigeration, food service, and HVAC systems. When coupled with the need to create an inviting environment and positive shopping experience for customers, energy efficiency may get overlooked.

Refrigeration systems account for approximately one-half of the total energy consumed by a typical grocery store, and they interact with other building systems in a number of ways. One example is the heating load created by refrigerated cases without doors. Humidity control is another major issue. These interactions impact equipment performance and fresh food perishability.

“Traditionally, the refrigeration and food service are considered independently from the rest of the building systems and the HVACR is expected to meet the loads,” Paul Torcellini, chair of the committee that wrote the guide, said. “An integrated approach looks at the building holistically and addresses issues such as humidity levels that are critical to the performance of the refrigeration system, refrigeration system waste heat that can be used for hot water or conditioning the outside air, and food service operation that generates lots of heat that must be removed. Adding doors to refrigerated cases reduces uncontrolled cooling, simplifies temperature control, and reduces system load. Better management of exhaust hoods and better selection of equipment reduces the food service loads. Proper introduction of outside air that is semi-conditioned helps minimize cooking smoke and odors with minimal conditioning. These are just examples of how the pieces need to work together.”

In addition, this guide discusses principles of integrated design and how they can be used to implement energy-efficient strategies. A chapter addressing design philosophies for grocery stores is devoted to interaction between refrigeration and other building systems.

An expanded section of tips and approaches is included in the “How to Implement Recommendations” chapter. These tips are cross-referenced with the recommendation tables. This chapter also includes additional “bonus” recommendations that identify opportunities to incorporate greater energy savings into the design of the building.

The guide is the fifth in a series of advanced design guides that provide recommendations for achieving 50 percent energy savings over the minimum code requirements of ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2004, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings. In the case of this guide, all recommendations also meet or exceed the requirements of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2013, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings.

The series was developed by a committee representing a diverse group of energy professionals drawn from ASHRAE, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Support and funding was provided by DOE through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

For more information on the entire Advanced Energy Design Guide series, or to download a free copy, visit