Archive for the ‘Freeaire System’ Category

Small Dog Electronics: Solar and Polar Power, Combined

Sunday, February 19th, 2012
Freeaire's Richard Travers at the Small Dog Solar Array Ribbon Cutting

“Power Cord Cutting” Ceremony at Small Dog Electronics

There have been a couple of significant ribbon cuttings in the Mad River Valley recently.  First there was the Mad River Food Hub, and then this week there was the official ‘power cord cutting’ ceremony at Small Dog Electronics to mark the commissioning of a dedicated solar array at their headquarters in Waitsfield, Vermont.  The opening was attended by Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, staff from Small Dog, and Freeaire’s Richard Travers.

The 42kW solar panel array is projected to generate the power needed to run Small Dog’s retail store in South Burlington  as well as half of the power for the company’s Waitsfield headquarters.

Solar power, however, is not Small Dog’s only investment in alternate energy technologies.

A Freeaire system has regulated the temperature of the company’s server room since 2008, using cool Vermont air to safely and reliably cool sensitive electronic equipment.  A server room can be kept at a relatively high temperature (65 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit) meaning that outside air can be used as a primary cooling medium almost year round.  Additionally, Small Dog recently upgraded their Freeaire system to the latest Cooler Controller, which includes humidity monitoring and management settings that further increases the utility of  the system in data center environments.

Polar Power and Solar Power — They go together like Yin and Yang.  Props to Small Dog for their ongoing commitment to energy conservation and sustainability (and reduced energy bills!).

Read more:  Top national Apple supplier welcomes AllSun solar trackers


Local is Cool: Freeaire at the Mad River Food Hub Opening

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Tuesday January 17th, 2012 was an important day for the agricultural sector of Vermont’s economy —  marking the official opening of the Mad River Food Hub in Waitsfield, Vermont, adjacent to the Freeaire offices.

“Conceived in 2010 and constructed in 2011, the Mad River Food Hub is the first fully equipped, licensed vegetable and meat processing facility in the State of Vermont (& NE USA). It offers farmers and food producers affordable, daily rental of state licensed meat and vegetable processing rooms, together with on-site storage and distribution services to local market outlets.

The design and implementation of the Mad River Food Hub’s services relied extensively on the research, data and analysis from the State’s Farm to Plate Strategic Plan. Funding for this facility was provided by a number of state, federal and foundation funds as well as private investment.”  — From Vermont Business Magazine

The food hub is a conceived as a central facility that can be shared between multiple agricultural and food processing businesses, reducing overhead and making it easier for small business to bring locally produced food to market.

Mad River Valley Food Hub opening
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin stressed the importance of the agricultural sector to the state’s economy in his opening remarks. The MRVFH compliments a similar facility in Hardwick, Vermont and there are plans to add a third food hub in the southern part of the state.

Freeaire system in cooler - Mad River Valley Food Hub

The food hub features large-scale freezer and cooler spaces.  Advanced Freeaire Cooler Controllers optimize both of these spaces for maximum energy efficiency and the cooler (pictured above) also has a Freeaire Polar Power package installed, taking advantage of outside air for cooling.

Freeaire - Mad River Valley Food Hub opening

Freeaire’s Richard Travers and Brad Long demonstrated the sophisticated capabilities of the Cooler Controllers for a large delegation of state legislators.

Freeaire - Lawson's Finest

Heard of double IPAs?   How about double Freeaire systems?  Sean Lawson of Lawson’s Finest Liquids has a newly installed Freeaire system at his small Warren brewery and will also be using food hub’s facilities.


Freeaire: The Word Gets Around

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Freeaire - Word Gets Around

As 2011 comes to a close, we’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the efforts of our Freeaire partners throughout North America who have participated in trainings at our offices in Waitsfield, Vermont.

While some of our partners are from our own backyard — Vermont and surrounding Northeast states — we also have partners from the mid Atlantic, upper Midwest, and throughout Canada.  Our most remote dealer is located in the Northwest Territories where winters are very long, dark and cold and allow for ample opportunity to take advantage of outside air for cooling.

Our partners have helped spread the word about Freeaire’s environmentally friendly commercial refrigeration solutions.   The image above shows how the word is getting out about Freeaire —

  • mailer
  • web page
  • van graphics
  • newspaper advertising

We appreciate these efforts and the efforts made by all of our valued business partners, and we wish all a prosperous 2012.

If you are an HVAC or energy efficiency professional looking to grow your business in 2012 by offering your customers the most efficient commercial refrigeration components, please contact us to learn about how you can become a Freeaire partner and to learn about upcoming 2012 training opportunities.

If you are an end user interested in the Freeaire system, contact us with some basic information on your application and we’ll be happy to direct to you to a qualified partner in your area.

Unexpected Freeaire System Benefits: Ethylene Gas Dispersion (Apples and Carrots Stored Together, Happily)

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Freeaire systems provide many benefits, including:

  • Reduced energy use saves money.
  • Reduced energy consumption leads to reduction in a business’s ‘carbon footprint’.
  • Less system run time means reduced wear and tear and maintenance for conventional refrigeration equipment.

But that’s not all.

In the area of  the unexpected benefits, bringing fresh, filtered outside air into a cooler can help store fresh produce for extended periods, and also allows for diverse products to be stored together.

A walk in cooler is a closed environment, the atmosphere is usually stale, musty and somewhat unpleasant.  When fresh produce is stored in such an enclosed space, the ethylene gas given off by certain fruits and vegetables can accelerate ripening, with detrimental consequences:

Ethylene Production Classification Of Some Fruits And Vegetables

Ethylene is a natural plant growth regulator, produced by “climacteric fruit”, such as apples, tomatoes and bananas (see Table 3). It is a colorless gas that is thought to coordinate the ripening of these fruits. Ethylene gas is also produced by tractors and other equipment with internal combustion engines and can accelerate ripening of climacteric fruit. Ethylene can have a number of deleterious effects on other products. These include faster yellowing and senecence of leafy vegetables, browning reactions such as russet spotting on lettuce leaves, development of bitterness in carrots, and sprouting of potatoes.  (Source: Cornell University Ecogardening Factsheet #19, Summer 1999)

When a walk in cooler has a Freeaire Polar PowerTM package installed, the system uses highly filtered, cold outside air as a cooling agent and turns off evaporator fans and condensing units for weeks or even months at a time. The air that can be brought in will vary in relative humidity, from very moist to very dry.  The Freeaire system uses a combination temperature and (optional) humidity sensors to control the use of outside air and to regulate humidity.

Real world examples:

  • One Freeaire owner supplemented the moisture inside a walk-in cooler full of carrots and other root crops with a humidifier that added enough moisture to maintain a temperature of 33°F with a relative humidity of almost 95%, even when using the extremely dry air of mid-winter.
  • Another owner reported excellent results over a winter of storing carrots and apples together, a combination that is usually unsuccessful due to ethylene gas given off by the apples causing premature ripening of the other crop.

The exchange of air inside the cooler keeps the ethylene levels very low.  Additionally the air quality of many coolers has benefited from using outside air brought in by their Freeaire systems. Even coolers that smelled bad or stale and musty before due to mold spores or un-swept floors littered with food scraps can “smell as fresh as all outdoors” with a Freeaire system.

Disclaimer:  We have not formally studied or quantified the precise benefits of ethylene gas dispersion via Freeaire systems.  The anecdotal evidence presented above, however, represent real-world examples of two Freeaire system owners who have shared their experiences with us.

Hanging out with Tim Horton and Jimmy Dean, or Freeaire Impressions from the 2011 NACS Show

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Freeaire at NACS

The NACS (National Association of Convenience Stores) annual trade show  is not primarily an equipment show — it’s a somewhat terrifying exposition featuring the amazing variety of  processed foods, sugary drinks, alcohol and tobacco products and varied knick-knacks that are found in convenience stores throughout the land.

That being said, the Freeaire crew returned from the recent NACS show in Chicago feeling upbeat and positive about the experience. We went to this event with the specific goal of forging new connections with small to mid-sized chains of convenience stores that would be good potential users of Freeaire systems, and in this goal we were successful. We also had the opportunity to speak with several journalists covering the event for various industry publications.

Freeaire was quite unique at NACS in that while there were other equipment manufacturers present, no others were devoted to solely to economization and energy efficiency. Attendees did appreciate our approach to reducing costs and energy consumption. Many visitors also commented favorably on the durability and quality build of the Freeaire system.

Here is a quick synopsis of some of the feedback and questions from visitors to the Freeaire booth during the show:

Booth visitor: ‘Wow, I knew somebody would eventually do this (use outside air for cooling)!’

Booth visitor: ‘I’ve seen this type of thing before, but never this nice, never this polished and refined looking.’

Booth visitor: ‘So, your Cooler Controller reduces evaporator fan run times, compressor run times, door heater run times, cooler lighting and what else?’
Freeaire: ‘It can also control electric defrost and it controls our Polar Power outside air system.’
Booth visitor (possibly a competitor): [Speaking to a colleague] ‘Their one box does it all, we can’t touch that.’

Booth visitor: ‘So this isn’t just about outside air – your controller actually saves energy in the summer too, huh?’
Freeaire: ‘Yes, it does.’
Booth visitor: “’Fantastic, that’s great, a year round solution with the ability to make use of winter’s cold too, perfect! I’ll be in touch!’

Booth visitor: So how long have you guys been doing this?’
Freeaire: ‘Well, Richard started this in 1978.’
Booth visitor: ‘That’s longer than I’ve been alive!’

Booth visitor: ‘It seems that you have thought of everything with this system. I’ve seen these before, but nothing this complete’.

Booth visitor:  ‘The last time I saw anything like this, it was a simple fan hooked to a light switch. This is real now, isn’t it?’

Want to see more photos from the show?  “Like” Freeaire on Facebook for more insight into our experience at NACS and for updates about product installs, press coverage, etc.

Upcoming Freeaire Training – October 19, 2011

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Training at Freeaire

Freeaire will be conducting training for the 2100 Freeaire Refrigeration system at our headquarters in Waitsfield, VT on October 19, 2011. The six-hour session is intended for HVACR professionals and will cover topics including:

  • Features and expanded capabilities of the new Freeaire 2100 Cooler Controller and low voltage Polar Package

    Cooler Controller training

    Hands-on training with the latest Cooler Controler

  • How to specify, order, and install a Freeaire 2100 System
  • How to commission and troubleshoot the 2100 Controller
  • Tips and techniques on how to successfully sell the Freeaire 2100 System to your customers
  • How to energy audit a commercial walk-in cooler or freezer
  • Tour our on-site 11,000 cubic foot cooler and freezer with Freeaire systems installed
  • Take away technical and sales binder
  • Information about leasing programs
  • Our Partner Program – “The Freeaire Force“

Completion of training qualifies your organization for preferred Partner Pricing and other benefits.

Please RSVP by October 14th to reserve your spot as space is limited. Once you have registered, you will receive a detailed training agenda as well as information about travel, lodging choices and local attractions.  Lunch and beverages will be provided during training.

Cost:  There is a one-time $50 fee for the training.

Please RSVP to Brad Long, or by calling 802 496-5205.

It’s (NACS) Showtime!

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011


Freeaire systems have been used successfully in a wide variety of environments — breweries, food processors, server rooms, etc. — almost any situation where a product needs to be kept in a cooler with a size of 1000 cubic feet or greater.  It’s a very flexible, reliable system with many possible applications.

That being said, Freeaire systems have always found particularly wide acceptance in convenience stores, going all the way back to when founder Richard Travers had his “eureka!” moment on a cold Vermont winter night and started tinkering with the refrigeration system at the Warren Store.

Since that moment more than 20 years ago, Freeaire systems have been installed in hundreds of separate retail locations throughout the United States and Canada.

energy consumption in convenience stores

Refrigeration can be the largest single source of energy consumption in a convenience store

The reason that Freeaire systems are popular in convenience stores is simple: Refrigeration makes up a large percentage of the overall energy consumption in this environment.

The Freeaire system dramatically reduces energy consumption over conventional refrigeration systems and produces significant energy savings.

The president of Champlain Farms, a 38 store chain in Vermont and New Hampshire, said installing Freeaire systems in all of his stores was “one of the best business decisions he ever made” (read the complete case study here).

With this track record in mind, we’re excited to be participating in the NACS (National Association of Convenience Stores) annual trade show, October 1 – 4, in Chicago.  Going to an event of this magnitude is a big effort for us but we know that we have a story to tell.  We are looking forward to meeting with prospective customers in a face-to-face environment.   Our next-booth-neighbors will be Tim Hortons so come by and smell the doughnuts!

Planning on being in Chicago for the show?  Please come by booth 2950 and say “Hi” — we’d be thrilled to meet you!

“Is your refrigerator running? Then you better catch it!”

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Would you leave your window unit air conditioner running 24/7 year round, even when you didn’t need cooling?

In that same sense, would you leave your car idling overnight while you slept so that it was ready to go in the morning?

How about driving your car with the gas pedal fully depressed 100% of the time, leaving your only form of speed modulation the brake pedal?

Commercial refrigeration runs 100% of the time.  Evaporator fans run 100% of the time, 24/7, but at Freeaire, we can reduce that run time alone by 50% or more in all cases, in all locations throughout the United States and Canada. That’s the Freeaire All Climate System.

Logic controls for your un-tamed commercial refrigeration.

Relax, take your foot off the gas and give your brakes a break. Or in our case, let your refrigeration system catch some fresh air.


Vermont’s 1st LEED Certified Restaurant Uses Freeaire® System

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Moe’s Southwest Grill in Williston, Vermont recently became the first restaurant in the state, as well as the first Moe’s franchise location, to qualify for a prestigious LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification from the US Green Buildings Council.

The LEED certification process involves taking a comprehensive approach to energy efficiency and green building design throughout all systems in a building. This includes heating/cooling, lighting, water and ventilation.

Moe's in Williston, Vermont

In the Williston Moe’s, a Freeaire® system consisting of a Cooler Controller combined with a Polar Package actively manages the restaurant’s walk-in cooler for maximum energy efficiency year-round. When conditions allow – 115+ days per year in northern Vermont – the system uses filtered outside air for cooling. This simultaneously saves energy and reduces wear and tear on the refrigeration equipment.

Total estimated energy savings for all systems installed in the restaurant exceeds 20% compared to a similar ‘conventional’, non-LEED-certified building.

We are proud to be a part of this project and wish the Moe’s team in Williston every success going forward!

Read more about this project:

Writeup in Fast Casual magazine

Moe’s Southwest Grill newsroom

Freeaire Polar Power at Pete & Gerry’s Organic Eggs

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

At Pete & Gerry’s Organic Eggs the farm’s cage-free, organically fed and humanely treated birds are excellent egg layers, making Pete & Gerry’s the largest supplier of “specialty eggs” in the Northeast. And with a commitment to conservation, sustainability and organic foods, Freeaire was a natural choice for refrigeration.

With so many eggs at stake, refrigeration must be fool-proof. “If our coolers go down, our eggs can only stay above 45 degrees for fifteen minutes before they cant be used for retail,” says Jesse LaFlamme, co-owner of Pete and Gerry’s. “We have lots of confidence in this system. It really takes care of itself.”

One of Pete & Gerry’s main goals was to substantially reduce their carbon footprint while still producing high quality eggs. After installing the Freeaire system, they have achieved a significant improvement in cooling efficiency and energy use reduction. LaFlamme explains that, “With Freeaire, we can keep the price of our eggs down, and dramatically reduce our carbon footprint at the same time”.

Pete & Gerry’s now uses about 48% less energy each year, which saves over $6,291 annually. The improved refrigeration system has allowed them to run their compressors only 23% of the time, contributing to savings all year, even in the warmer months!

Below Jesse elaborates on the positive changes that have been prevalent at Pete & Gerry’s after the installation of the Freeaire System.