Automatic commercial ice makers make and harvest ice and may include a means for storing and dispensing ice. They have a condensing unit and ice-making section operating as an integrated unit, and the condenser can either be air-cooled or water-cooled. Ice makers can be divided into two categories: batch type and continuous type. Batch-type ice-makers operate with alternate freezing and harvesting periods and include cube-type and tube-type machines. Continuous-type ice-makers continually freeze and harvest ice at the same time and primarily produce flake or nugget ice. Automatic commercial ice makers are typically found in hotels, restaurants, health care facilities, and educational settings.
Federal standards for ice-makers were adopted in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and became effective in 2010. The standards, for cube ice-makers with capacities between 50 and 2,500 lb per 24-hour period, were based on state standards adopted earlier by Arizona, California, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington. The standards for energy use are expressed as kWh per 100 pounds of ice and vary based on capacity and equipment type. The current standards also limit the condenser water use for water-cooled equipment.
DOE published a final rule for updated standards in January 2015. DOE extended coverage to flake, nugget, and tube-type machines and to capacities up to 4,000 pounds per 24 hours. Standards are based on the maximum energy use and maximum condenser water use to make 100 pounds of ice. The 2015 standards are effective in 2018.
Air-cooled, cube-type ice makers are eligible for ENERGY STAR qualification. Qualified units use about 15% less energy than standard units. The ENERGY STAR specification also contains a requirement for potable water use. Businesses could save about 1,200 kWh/year and about 2,500 gallons of water a year by using ENERGY STAR-qualified models.
The minimum amount of water necessary to produce 100 pounds of ice is 12 gallons. However, additional water is typically required because of incomplete freezing, purge water, or harvest melting, which can add about 15-50 gallons per 100 pounds of ice. The ENERGY STAR specification limits potable water use to 25 gallons per 100 pounds of ice for most types of ice-makers. Technology options for improving the energy efficiency of ice-makers include higher insulation levels, higher efficiency compressors, and improved fan motors and fan blades.