Upgrade of refrigeration fans delivers 80% savings for convenience stores in Northern Ireland


Leading fan manufacturer ebm-papst and Cross-Group, which delivers industrial and commercial refrigeration solutions, worked together to install over 2,000 new fans for the Henderson Group throughout its company owned stores in Northern Ireland. The project replaced the existing stock of 38W AC fridge fans with ebm-papst’s EC 8W fans.

The fan installations led to reduced fan power and heat load in the fridge cabinets, resulting in an 80% reduction in energy consumption across the Henderson Group stores, including those under the Spar brand. The upgrade project is expected to deliver annual cost savings in excess of £70,000 per annum for the group.

The project

The project to upgrade the existing stock of 2,000 fridge fans was part of the Henderson Group’s energy reduction initiative, and was completed in conjunction with a fridge LED lighting retrofit to provide comprehensive energy savings across its stores.

The upgrade of fans from AC to EC is one of the simplest and most cost effective ways of improving energy performance. This can result in a reduction in energy consumption by up to 70 per cent, resulting in a payback as low as two years. Other benefits include reduced noise and low maintenance costs as EC fans are usually directly interchangeable with their predecessors, allowing for simple replacements with minimal disruption.

In most cases the upgrade project for the Henderson Group was a straightforward one-for-one replacement of the existing AC fridge fans with energy efficient EC fans from ebm-papst. However, in some cases Cross-Group had to use adapters as some of the Henderson Group’s stores had different types of refrigeration cabinets.

The fans

The fans used during the upgrade were ebm-papst’s EC 8W fans. Compared with the existing 38W AC fridge fans, the kW demand will be reduced from 91.2 kW to 17.60 kW. This will lead to a total power consumption reduction of 644,736 kWh, as the new EC fans will only consume 154,176 kWh in a year compared with 798,912 kWh in the existing fans. The fan upgrade will also lead to carbon dioxide savings of 318.50 tonnes per year across all the stores involved in the project, which is the same weight as 2,023 double-decker buses.


The upgrade project is expected to deliver significant energy savings for the Henderson Group’s stores in Northern Ireland, with an estimated 80% reduction in energy consumption. This will result in a substantial cost saving of £70,000 per annum for the group and a significant reduction in carbon emissions across all the stores. Other benefits for the upgrade project include a reduction in noise levels in the refrigeration cabinets and improvements in the reliability and performance of the refrigeration cabinets in the stores.