Walk-In Cold Rooms, a Practitioner’s Technical Guide

Design and Operation of Walk-In Cold Rooms for Precooling and Storage of Fresh Produce in Hot Climates, in Off-Grid and Unreliable Grid Situations

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In many countries in the Global South, large shares of the population are dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. A holistic, well-functioning cold chain – from farm to fork – can bring an important boost to incomes and foster sustainable development. Cold rooms constitute an essential link in the cold chain, preserving the health, safety, quality and nutritional value of food.

Wider access to precooling and cold room storage can help to reduce postharvest losses, improve food security, increase income for marginalised farmers and reduce price fluctuations by better balancing supply and demand. However, there are significant challenges for cold rooms to operate effectively in locations remote from reliable power, away from supply chains, hard to reach for technical support, and within a hot climate.

The Walk-In Cold Rooms: A Practitioner’s Technical Guide consolidates the current state of the art and outlines 12 steps to follow when specifying, delivering and operating a walk-in cold room, covering both the technical and business perspectives.

The production of the Guide is based on cooperation between the International Institute of Refrigeration and Efficiency for Access, with the contribution of the ESMAP Efficient Clean Cooling Program of the World Bank. It results from the collaboration of more than 40 leading experts and suppliers, particularly in Africa and India.

The Guide presents accessible, practical guidance that enables developers, owners, operators, and suppliers to specify, install and operate effective, economically viable and appropriate precoolers and cold rooms.. Priority is given to environmental sustainability through high energy efficiency and informed choice of components as well as refrigerants with a low Global Warming Potential.

The recommendations apply to all types of commercially available small walk-in cold rooms designed to precool and store fresh horticultural and agricultural produce near farms or at rural aggregation centres, communities or markets, using temperature, humidity, and gas-controlled conditions for maintaining the quality of produce.


Program Partner

  • International Institute of Refrigeration