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Understanding The R- Value Of Grocery Store Coolers And Freezers

Small insulated panel showing the temperature of the core polyurethane foam as well as FUSIONFRAME vs HDR vs Wood frame options.

What Is R-Value

R-Value is a way to measure the thermal resistance of the insulated panels. This number varies based on a number of factors such as type of foam, overall thickness, the frame material of the panels, holding temperatures, and the difference between the ambient temperature and the holding temperature. R-Value is calculated per inch thickness and referenced as such. This means that the higher the R-Value, the better the insulating performance. For example, an R-6 is better than an R-4.

R-Value Components To Consider

When discussing R-Value, there are two elements to consider: the envelope and the components.

R-Value Envelope

The envelope references the framing of the panels used to build entire cooler boxes, meaning the ceiling, the walls, and the floor. KPS Global panels for all of these areas to help maximize that R-Value.

R-Value Components

The next element is the components, which are the individual items that make up the envelope – the framing, the core insulation, and the metal skins. We place a high emphasis on the components, specifically the framing and high-quality foam, to ensure the entire envelope provides sufficient R-Value to your coolers.

As an example, grocery store coolers manufactured by KPS Global using our poured-in-place polyurethane foam, the R-Value is generally 7.19 per inch of foam thickness. A KPS Global cooler panel injected with 5” of foam can reach an R-Value of 35.95. Freezer panels are even higher to help maintain the lower temperatures of the interior of the enclosure, having a general R-8.06 per inch of foam thickness. This means for 5” of thickness, a KPS Global freezer can reach an R-Value of 40.3.

Frame Type R-Value

At KPS Global, we offer three types of frames for coolers in 3½”, 4”, and 5” thicknesses. We have wood, which is roughly valued between R-1.2 and R-1.4, INSULFRAME® high-density rail (HDR), which rates around R-4, and our patented FUSIONFRAME®.


FUSIONFRAME® is an innovative product created by KPS Global to further improve the R-Value of grocery store coolers or other coolers/freezers and provides an R-Value of R-5.86 per inch thickness. By combining the structural elements of wood with the insulative properties of polyurethane foam, FUSIONFRAME® allows the best of both worlds. 

You can see when comparing the three types of frames in various temperatures, FUSIONFRAME® performs significantly higher in R-Value, as it joins together the R-Value of both wood and HDR. This ensures that your grocery store cooler stays cool and meets your needs. Keep in mind, this is only taking into account the frame, and does not account for the additional R-Value of the core insulation. It’s also important to note that freezers can only be built with 4” and 5” thicknesses, as they require higher insulation.

How Does Installation Placement Affect R-Value?

Installation placement is also vitally important to the understanding of R-Value. As an example, let’s imagine a 33°F grocery store cooler is located inside a grocery store that is kept at 75°F. Although 75°F may not be “hot”, it’s obviously a huge increase from 33°F. While the refrigeration system is working to maintain the cooler at a steady 33°F, the outside temperatures are trying to heat it back up by pushing its way through the insulated panels. 

With too low of an R-Value, the panels will not be able to prevent the heat from entering the cooler and will ultimately mean the cooler heats up. This creates issues such as condensation and ruining of products being stored within the cooler. While this cooler can be maintained with any of our three thicknesses, a freezer kept at 0°F would need 4”-5” panels to ensure a solid defense against the drastic temperature differential.

Contact KPS Global

Ready to customize and scope a grocery store cooler? You can learn about some of our unique grocery store coolers. For more of our products, check out our products page to see what we can offer you. Or, to reach a knowledgeable expert.

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