When your business is based on an 80 mi2 island serving residents and a booming tourism industry, reliable refrigerated warehousing space is paramount.
Bahamas Food Services, the largest food distributor in the Bahamas, serves the island nation’s hotel, restaurant and grocery industry from its 220,000-ft2 Nassau distribution center on the island of New Providence. When the distributor outgrew the capacity of its 10-year-old refrigerated warehouse, it returned to the company that had built the original facility for expansion.
Jacksonville, Fla.-based Stellar, an integrated firm focused on design, engineering, construction and mechanical services, built Bahamas Food Services’ original facility more than a decade ago. The Nassau, Bahamas-based distributor required additional warehouse space to meet rising demands.
The facility expansion includes a -10°F (-23°C) freezer, three separate coolers, dry air-conditioned space, a meat processing room and an electrical room as well as pallet storage racks and LED light fixtures for energy savings.
Stellar doubled the refrigerated space — adding 56,000 ft2 and two new temperature zones — and designed an advanced refrigeration and automation solution that is expected to allow Bahamas Food Services to operate the expanded facility at pre-expansion energy levels. Stellar provided design, construction, refrigeration, thermal and automation services for the project, which began February 2012 and was completed February 2013.
“What is unique about Stellar is that they are food industry specialists, with deep expertise in areas like refrigeration and automation,” says Phill Duncombe of Bahamas Food Services. “In this regard, they provide more than just a building. They find ways to make your facility more resilient, energy efficient and productive. They also have all the staff and resources in-house to fully deliver the project, from the construction of the building to the energy analysis and automation integration.”
Prior to construction, Stellar conducted an extensive analysis of the future expansion’s required refrigeration loads. The company’s integrated refrigeration team — comprising both mechanical and automation engineers — designed an advanced refrigeration system with modern controls and energy-monitoring capabilities. To obtain baseline data to measure future results, the team installed energy-monitoring controls six months prior to construction start.
“Stellar was very proactive in suggesting ways we could save more energy,” Duncombe says. “Our electric bill is a major portion of our operating costs, so finding cost-effective ways to save energy is incredibly valuable.”
“Bahamas Food Services operates a highly energy-intensive facility on an island where power averages $0.38 per kilowatt-hour — compared to $0.06 to $0.11 in the United States,” says Kevin Frantz, Stellar’s automation manager. “The facility is also subject to disruptive weather events and must be highly resilient, with backup compressors to ensure the system continues running at all times.”
Stellar revamped the facility’s refrigeration system, designing a new compressor lineup that includes variable-frequency drives and booster compressors to increase resiliency and improve energy efficiency. Stellar also upgraded the refrigeration system’s controls using Rockwell Automation’s ControlLogix. The company now remotely monitors, controls and troubleshoots the system via high-speed Ethernet.
To learn more from Stellar, Jacksonville, Fla., call (800) 488-2900 or visit www.stellar.net.