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September 9, 2021

Contrary to what the name implies, a cold room is more than just a refrigerator for your restaurant. Also known as “cold storage,” it is a key aspect of the food supply and distribution network. Changes in food processing, purchasing, and consumption have led to cold storage construction becoming a top priority for supply chain players. If you are looking to build a cold room, you may be wondering what factors go into the process? For that matter, how much does cold room construction cost?

Type of cold room construction

First and foremost, you need to select the way in which you approach the construction. There are numerous options that can help determine the best design for each cold storage facility. Choosing a construction type is an important facet when it comes to a building’s insulation and cooling. New construction for cold storage can be done with insulated metal panels, insulated concrete (be it tilt-up or precast), or both.

Additionally, a dry warehouse can undergo conversion to transform into a freezer/cooler. This is possible by installing insulated metal panels inside existing walls. This is a “box-in-a-box” option, and it is a great solution when the location you have your eye on is in a heavily built-up area. Specifically, an area with minimal land available. This allows a cold storage user to convert ambient space into a cooler, freezer, or cold dock.

Temperature control

When designing, you must consider how adjacent temperatures, product, and equipment loads can affect the spaces. At this point, you need to figure out how to achieve the necessary R-value for a cold room. For context, the R-value measures how well a two-dimensional barrier resists the conductive heat flow. Such barriers usually include a layer of insulation, a window, wall, or ceiling. After identifying the R-value requirements, you can move forward with selecting refrigeration equipment.

The expected operating cost, drawing from local power costs, is an additional key component in equipment selection. It also has a hand in determined R-values. It can potentially have cost implications for the end-user following the construction of the cold storage. However, by increasing the R-value, you could counterbalance the operating expenses and cost of mechanical system premiums.

Power supply and backup system

Cold storages consume a huge amount of power, with the lighting and HVAC systems utilizing most of it. Other components that require power are automatic doors, security monitors, and response systems. All of this adds to operational costs, which if you do not adhere to specific guidelines, can rapidly rise.

Furthermore, an additional power supply source being readily available as an alternative will boost costs even further. This backup power source, even at a bare minimum, must be strong enough to preserve the necessary temperatures. This way, the perishable goods will remain in good condition.

Sanitary conditions

Sanitary maintenance in storage environments is crucial for cold rooms where food is undergoing processing. These types of facilities are subject to frequent cleanings. This is why smooth construction methods are incorporated into the foundation, structure, finishes, trims, and other factors. These techniques get rid of recesses and crevices in order to hinder bacterial growth. Additionally, it reduces the chances of water collecting and languishing.

Another pivotal cold room construction technique is the floor heating system installation. Adding heat to an environment where it is nonessential seems counterintuitive, but it helps dry the floors after cleaning. Any moisture present in food storage or processing settings can increase the amount of bacteria. Consequently, it jeopardizes the food supply.

Maintaining your cold room is important, from the sanitary conditions to the aforementioned temperature control. Our Calgary construction services also specialize in facility maintenance and will be happy to provide assistance if you need it.

Above-ground vs. Below-ground cold room construction cost

The average above-ground unit derives from modular construction that presents fabricated metal panels with a 34 R-value. HVAC unit installations occur indoors, often settling close to a metal pole barn. This way, it saves on insulation, lumber, and concrete. Costs for electricity also experience a rise due to an increase in heat conduction gain. In total, the costs of such a unit are roughly $33,300. A basement unit, on the other hand, incurs upfront costs that typically exceed $50,000. To learn more about the costs of cold storage, check out our previous article, Examining Cold Storage Warehouse Cost.