Person: Eric and Ann Franzenburg

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Many fruit and vegetable farmers are
building their own walk-in coolers to
save money and be able to customize
the cooler to fit their needs.
• Window air conditioning units
equipped with CoolBot systems have
become a popular alternative to commercial
chilling systems in coolers,
because they are cheaper to install.
• Energy use and temperature control
was compared on three farms; two
used AC/CoolBot systems, and one
used a commercial chilling system.
KEY FINDINGS
• The walls and ceiling of a walk-in
cooler should be air-tight, and
should have a minimum R-value
of 20.
• Fiberglass insulation with a vapor
barrier is not recommended for
the primary internal material.
Instead of fiberglass insulation
with a vapor barrier, closed cell
foam is recommended in order to
avoid condensation and reduction
of fiberglass R-value.
• In this study, the AC/CoolBot
system struggled to maintain
temps below 40°F in the heat of
the summer.

April 1, 2015 

RESEARCH REPORT

Three farms recorded the energy used
during seed starting for the 2013
season.
• For each plant started, energy cost
ranged from $0.002 – $0.033.
• Commercial grow lights were the most
energy intensive item used by any
farmer in the study.
• Though energy efficiency
improvements could be made, farmers
found that starting their own seeds
was cost-effective.

December 2, 2014 

RESEARCH REPORT