NATIONAL REPORT—While fewer hotels are offering minibars, mini refrigerators are an expected appliance today, especially given COVID-19 and the inclination for travelers to bring their own food to their guestroom. Your choice of mini refrigerator can make a difference in not only guest satisfaction but your energy bill as well. The Energy Star website provides a page that allows one to search by price, size, capacity, brand name and shows annual energy consumption. Green Lodging News reached out to some of the lodging industry’s leading makers of mini refrigerators to get their latest take on this expected appliance.
Minibar Systems Worldwide has just launched the SmartFridge Eco, a Wi-Fi-enabled (using tablet or smartphone) guestroom refrigerator that will connect to a hotel’s property-management system so it can be turned on at check-in and turned off at checkout. The LED control panel allows guests to individualize their user experience with ON/OFF, SNOOZE, and QUICK COOL touch buttons. Hotels benefit from the advanced energy saving electronics that allow the unit to be shut down in vacant rooms, saving up to 50 percent in energy consumption. SmartFridge features auto snooze and defrost for silent overnight operation. Online dashboards provide real time housekeeping and maintenance status reports as well as energy consumption scenarios. Several door options are available.
Walt Strasser, Executive Vice President, Minibar Systems Worldwide, says energy savings will be in the 80+ percent per year per fridge. “An average convenience fridge costs about $30 per room per year for energy,” he says. “We’re reducing this to the $5 to $6 range with these features.”
Briana Woodley, Sales & Marketing Coordinator for MicroFridge, a subsidiary of Danby Appliances, highlighted her company’s newest product—the Danby 1.0 Cu. Ft. DAR010A1BDB. The Energy Star compliant compact refrigerator uses R600a refrigerant, has an auto defrost system, offers quiet operation at 37dB and comes in black.
The new 1.0 Cu. Ft. refrigerator is just one of many different models of compact refrigerators offered by MicroFridge. All feature the patented Safe Plug power management system designed to reduce energy use and increase safety.
Vincent Beaudet, V.P. and Managing Partner of Loc International, says his company’s line of innovative auto defrost mini-refrigerators offer large improvements over compressor-based units, with completely silent, vibration-free operation that won’t disturb a single night’s sleep. Unlike absorption models, these are also 100 percent ammonia-free, containing no toxic or environmentally dangerous chemicals while performing with 30 percent more energy efficiency. They are available with solid or glass doors.
“Using a heat pump cooling system, our fridges aren’t just quiet: they’re absolutely silent, making no noise to disturb a guests’ sleep,” Beaudet says. “Since these are designed without fans or motors, and no moving parts to rattle or hum, the fridges are 100 percent vibration-free.”
Loc International offers a variety of other different brands.
The Dometic Eco Compressor Line of convenience fridges with compressor cooling technology are available with cool glass door or with standard decor panel. According to Dometic, it is “a perfect alternative for hotels having non-stocked programs or for large hotel rooms where possible noise from the compressor will not disturb the guest.” The refrigerators feature electronic control, bright LED light, and auto defrost.
Absocold has developed the Quick Chill ‘N Snooze feature for its line of Hospitality Compact Refrigerators. This proprietary feature to the Suite Fridge line allows a guest the ability to simply push one button to temporarily shut down the unit for a predetermined amount of time while they sleep or rest. The refrigerator will then restart on its own and operate in its usual, reliable way. The Quick Chill ‘N Cool also has a button to rapidly cool down beverages and groceries while guests are settling into their room.
“It cools within two hours,” says Jim Karczewski, Director of Hospitality Sales for Absocold.
Absocold offers six different sizes, the smallest being the Commercial UL Listed Suite Fridge models. The Suite Fridge comes in two sizes—2.0 cu ft. and a 1.1 cu. ft.—that fit most existing absorption-unit cabinetry making change-outs painless.
“Our units are super quiet, and each unit has a five-year warranty,” Karczewski says. “All of our refrigerators meet and exceed Energy Star requirements.”
Karczewski says that when comparing mini refrigerators, look for the quality of the product and a long warranty. His company, for example, offers two years warranty on all parts and labor.
To view Absocold’s Sustainability document, click here.
Also be sure to check out Avanti Products.