Cooler strip curtains are made of long pieces of PVC plastic that is soft and transparent. They stack very close together and form a barrier between masses of air. It is not airtight but does a decent job of isolating areas of different air temperatures while allowing easy access whenever pushed through or brushed aside. Some cold air escapes between the strips, but the barrier retains more air than an open door.

Common plastic curtains of this nature are estimated to reduce the energy requirements of refrigerated displays by around 30 to 40 percent. Wherever electricity is expensive, this is a tremendous saving. Even where electricity is reasonably priced, the refrigeration devices are spared a lot of work and therefore last longer without maintenance.

The only disadvantage is that customers and stockers have to brush past the curtain in order to move merchandise. Many customers might not mind the inconvenience, especially in areas where this is common. Not everyone should be put off, as they do open doors to reach frozen items. Regular customers will find it only a minor inconvenience while the benefits are undeniable.

There are other benefits to controlling airflow. The first is that many displays rise above a cold sink and are liable to being warmer than displayed items lower in the sink. This might not be much of a problem for vegetables, but some vegetables start growing if they are not kept very cold. It is a significant problem for dairy products, which absolutely have to be kept colder than a given temperature.

Another item that needs reliable refrigeration is meat, of which customers concern themselves over much more than plant products. Cheese generally do not spoil if kept slightly above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, but many customers are leery of meats that are not completely refrigerated. A barrier might help to allay their fear of a highly perishable product that ideally is bought as fresh as possible.

Cooler strip curtains can also be used to separate storage areas from the work floor. The large door of stockroom coolers are usually kept shut, but they are kept open for long periods of time while inventory is being loaded from delivery trucks. The curtains conserve cold air while inventory is being moved and also prevent warm air from entering. This actually has safety benefits as warm air contains more moisture than cold air. A curtain reduces condensation on the floor.

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