How Much Cost to Build a Cold Storage?

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With the emphasis on vaccine transportation, cold chain has naturally been pushed to the cusp and becomes a hot topic in the food logistics industry.

Food cold chain refers to the process, storage, transportation, distribution, and retailing of perishable food from the place of origin until the hands of consumers. All procedures are always in the specified low-temperature environment to ensure food quality & safety to reduce losses.

The food cold chain must connect to the construction of cold storage, so how much does it cost to build cold storage? Let’s discuss this today.

Cold Storage Construction Cost

What we talked is the normal price for cold storage construction. Because the construction cost of cold storage will fluctuate and vary from place to place, project to project, the ALL-IN price ( cold-room panel cost + installation cost) we give is approximate and only for reference:

10~100m3          $160~210/m3    ⇔    $140~190 / sq.ft

100~500m3       $120~160/m3    ⇔     $115~145 /  sq.ft

500~1000m3     $100~150/m3    ⇔    $105~120 / sq.ft

(M3 = Cubic Meter, Sq.ft = Square Foot)

Please Contact Us for custom request, meanwhile supplying us all the details, we will give you a satisfied solution.

Cold Storage Installation 1

Cold Storage Construction

Cold Storage Price Affecting Factors

When building cold storage, price is the first consideration. What are the operating costs after construction? Is the power consumption high? How long can it be used? Reasonable use of resources to reduce the cost of building your own cold storage, and build the best cold storage!

Cold storage is widely used in food industry, pharmaceutical industry, chemical industry, hotel catering, electronic industry and so on. But most people lack knowledge about cold storage and only emphasize its price.

Actually, the construction of cold storage needs to consider many factors, only considering price may affect its quality and after-sales service.

Cold Storage Size

Generally speaking, the larger the cold storage, the higher the requirements for technology and materials. The price of large cold storage is much higher than small cold storage. And the larger the cold storage, the better the preliminary work needed. Because for large cold storage, even small problems’ maintenance may involve many issues, meanwhile the maintenance cost is very high. So the preliminary work and after-sales service of the cold storage mustn’t ignore.

Approx cold storage size (length*width*height):

Small          6*6*7ft

Medium    10*10*12ft

Large         30*30*21ft (or larger)

Of course, we can custom your cold room, contact us for more information please.


Cold Storage

Surface Material

Cold storage panel cores normally use polyurethane (PU), stone wool, glass wool, etc

There are a variety of surface  materials to choose from:

a. Color steel: strong anti-rust, no anti-corrosion ability.

b. Stainless steel: high-quality anti-corrosion, anti-rust material.

c. Aluminum plate: beautiful appearance, with certain anti-rust and anti-corrosion ability.

d. Salted steel: anti-acid, anti-salt, resistance to various solvents, used in special environments, long lifespan.

e. Zinc-coated steel: strong anti-rust, anti-wear, anti-corrosion, long lifespan.

PU Panel

Condensing Unit 

There are many manufacturers of cold storage Condensing Units, but the prices are very different. We recommend you choose a good reputation company (especially the manufacturer that uses a big brand compressor, such as Copeland, Bitzer, Danfoss, etc.), with good quality. Although its price is higher, quality is guaranteed, avoiding many maintenance costs in the future.

Ambient Temperature

Different temperatures require different configurations, and cold storage has 3 types of temperatures: high, medium, and low.

ApplicationPanel Fireproof GradePanel ThicknessRoom Temperature
Fruit / VegatableB2
75mm0~5°C / 32~41℉
Chemical / PharmaceuticalB275mm0~5°C / 32~41℉
Ice Cream / Ice StoreB2100mm-10~-5°C / 14~23℉
Frozen MeatB1150mm
-25~-18°C / -13~0.4℉
Fresh Meat ( Store 6 Months)B1180mm-40~-30°C / -40~-22℉

Cold Room Temperature for Different Goods

Generally speaking, the lower the temperature, the higher the price of the cold storage (same area and height).


Try to find a local builder, in this way, you can save lots of expenses and the construction is also convenient. The local after-sales service is easy to handle (just a phone call is OK).

If you hire a foreign company to build, it will require more material transportation and processing fees, labor costs, etc.,

Generally, the cold storage construction will leave a quality guarantee deposit to ensure the follow-up, repair, and maintenance.

Other Factors

Mostly you will encounter the problem: the offer of every cold storage supplier is different. Why?

High price

The company has a large number of installers, maintenance personnel, engineers, etc., so the expenses are large.

Advantage of high price: the engineer has worked 10+ years and has more exquisite cold storage design technology, which can make your cold storage temperature more accurate and the design more reasonable; the installers are all skilled, so they are more professional in the cold storage installation steps and procedures, and the cold storage is more aesthetic.

Sufficient maintenance personnel means when your cold storage fails, they can rush to the site for emergency repairs to avoid your unnecessary losses.

Low price

The company has fewer staff, but can greatly reduce various expenses.

Disadvantage of low price: In the busy season, not enough installers, so they can only find temporary workers, so the installation level and technology are much worse.

There are also possible situations if the price is low: the refrigeration unit is counterfeit, such as refurbished units, second-hand units, and so on.

Looking for a legal cold storage manufacturer, although the cost was higher, the maintenance and repair will be guaranteed in the future!

Controlled Atmosphere Storage Price

Controlled atmosphere (Also called “CA”) cold storage has a better fresh effect than the normal cold storage. No matter in terms of the fresh time and the fresh effect, the controlled atmosphere storage is the best choice.

Controlled atmosphere cold storage

Controlled Atmosphere Storage

The CA cold storage price is 25~30% higher than normal cold storage, which means the ALL-IN price ( cold-room panel cost + installation cost) is:

10~100m3          $200~250/m3

100~500m3       $150~200/m3

500~1000m3     $125~180/m3

CA cold storage is in its start, and the market is less than 20%.  Most of the customers are still very unfamiliar with it.

Question: Which is more cost-effective: controlled atmosphere storage or normal cold storage?

CA Cold Storage Advantages

Controlled atmosphere storage needs to maintain a stable low-temperature environment ( like normal cold storage) while maintaining a specific gas composition that is different from the ordinary atmosphere.

According to the different needs of products in the controlled atmosphere storage, the O2 content is usually lower than 21%, and the CO2 content is higher than 1%. The controlled atmosphere storage has a better sealing condition.

1. Controlled atmosphere storage is high-temperature storage, kept fresh food won’t freeze, foods’ original flavor will remain, and the nutrition won’t be lost.

2. Under the same fresh quality and temperature conditions, the fresh time of controlled atmosphere storage is 3 to 5 times that of normal cold storage, and even up to 10 times for some foods, which is unmatched by normal cold storage.

3. Since the operating temperature of controlled atmosphere cold storage is 0~8℃, which is 18~33℃ higher than that of ordinary low-temperature cold storage, its power consumption is far less than normal cold storage in the same preservation time.

4. Controlled atmosphere storage uses inert gas to isolate the air, which can effectively inhibit the respiration of food cells, not only prolonging the preservation time but also prolonging the shelf life of the food after leaving the cold storage.

Controlled atmosphere cold room 1

Controlled Atmosphere Storage

5. The use of CO2 gas in controlled atmosphere storage can’t only effectively inhibit the formation and effect of ripening components such as C2H4, but also have the functions of sterilization, bacteriostatic, and elimination of the toxic and side effects of pesticides.

6. Since it has a humidification system, which can not only keep the moisture of the food itself from being lost but also won’t change the color and texture of the food.

Not only reduces the stored loss, but also retains the original quality.

7. Adopt PLC program automatic control, which has strong safety and reliability and high production efficiency.

Why CA Cold Storage is Expensive

CA cold storage added a set of atmosphere-controlled equipment than the normal one (under the same conditions). Controlled atmosphere cold storage is expensive, mostly because of this equipment.

Under normal circumstances, a cold storage project only needs 1 set atmosphere-controlled equipment. That is to say, no matter how much cold storage the project has and whether the storage temperature is the same, only 1 set equipment is OK.

Therefore, the larger the CA cold storage, the lower the unit cost.

In addition, CA cold storage has super sealing and thermal insulation, and the equipment needn’t operate 24 hours a day.

Compared with traditional fresh cold storage, the initial investment of the CA cold storage is more, but in the later operation, CA cold storage is more energy-efficient and saves operating costs.

Cold Storage Price Comparison

The cost of cold storage includes two parts: construction cost and operation cost.

We will compare the cost of the two types of refrigeration systems: ammonia refrigeration and fluorine refrigeration (under the same condition).

1. Which cold storage construction price is low

The construction price of ammonia cold storage is cheaper, but its construction procedure is more complicated.

Ammonia refrigeration is generally used in large-scale cold storage projects and is built in relatively open places. Before its installation, you must submit it to the relevant departments for review.

The construction cost of fluorine refrigeration cold storage is higher, but no need to report to relevant departments for review before installation.

2. Which cold storage has the lowest operating cost

The refrigeration capacity per unit volume of ammonia is twice that of fluorine refrigerant, and the maintenance price of daily required refrigerant is also cheaper than that of fluorine.

For large-scale cold storage, operating cost is a big expense. Therefore, many large-scale cold storages still use ammonia refrigeration systems cold storage, but it has certain safety hazards. The operating cost of fluorine-refrigerated cold storage is higher, but no potential safety hazard.

Therefore, at present, almost all small cold storages use fluorine refrigeration systems.

How to Reduce Cold Storage Operating Cost

1. Prevent the exhaust temperature from being too high

If the exhaust temperature is too high, will foul the lubrication of the compressor, and increase the friction force and the energy consumption.

At the same time, the high exhaust temperature will also increase the heat exchange between the refrigerant and the cylinder wall, resulting in a decrease in compressor efficiency.

2. Reasonably adjust the operating parameters of the refrigeration system to improve the performance of the equipment

Evaporating and condensing pressure & temperature of the refrigeration system are the basis for operation and adjustment.

According to the actual conditions and system changes, you should continuously adjust and control the operating parameters to run the equipment under economical and reasonable parameters, which can ensure the safety of machinery, and stored products.

Meanwhile, give full play to equipment efficiency, and save water, electricity, oil, etc, finally save money.

3. Prevent the condensing pressure from being too high

Increasing the condensing pressure will lead to an increase in the compression function, a decrease in the cooling capacity, and a decrease in the cooling coefficient, finally resulting in an increase in energy consumption.

When other conditions remain, the power consumption will increase by about 3% for every 1°C increase in the condensing temperature corresponding to the condensing pressure.

Generally condensing temperature should be 3~5 °C higher than the outlet temperature of the cooling water.

4. Prevent the evaporation temperature from being too low

1). The temperature difference between evaporation and storage roughly is 10℃. The evaporation temperature of the fruit and vegetable cold storage is about -10℃, and the freezing room is -33℃.

In actual operation, the temperature difference of many fruit and vegetable storage is 15℃. In developed countries such as Europe, the temperature difference between evaporation and storage is about 3~5℃.

2). If the temperature difference between evaporation and storage increases, the evaporation temperature will be too low, which will lead to a decrease in the cooling coefficient and an increase in energy consumption.

When the evaporation temperature decreases by 1 °C, it will consume 1~2% more power. In addition, the increase of temperature difference increasing will also increase the dehumidification capacity of evaporator and reduce the humidity of the storage, which will increase the power consumption of food and reduce its quality.


Well, today we explained the factors to affect the cold storage construction and operation cost,  if you need more information or have any questions, please Contact Us for free.

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About Author

Vic Cheung
Vic Cheung

Hi, I'm Vic! Start working in HVACR field since 2008, our main products included: air conditioning, cold room refrigeration system, water chiller, ice machine, commercial dehydrator, dehumidifier, heat pump, electric motor, and all accessories. Since joined China Speedway Group in 2012, I worked in here more than 10 years, as the general manager of export department, we have established 50+ agent in different countries and areas.
As our experience and strong technical support, we can solve your issue once you have, and our chief engineer has worked in HVACR field since 1997. I am so proud of our knowlege is more and more popular not only for engineer, and for HVACR business new comer, DIY lovers. Hope you are enjoying our articles, if any question or comments just welcome to send me marketing at

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