According to a study published in the International Journal of Low-Carbon Technologies, behavioral variables and inadequate maintenance account for 45 percent to 70 percent of wasted electric energy in commercial kitchens. While better personnel management can help with the energy loss due to human interaction, there are various additional steps that can be taken to make a restaurant kitchen more energy efficient.
By doing an examination on your appliances, site placement, and lost energy, an energy expert can relieve you of a lot of stress and time. This step could be money well spent in terms of detecting, planning, and resolving issues with energy consumption. If you’d prefer to be more involved in the process, take it one step at a time.
Placement and Air Handling
In a commercial kitchen, work area arrangement and air handling go hand in hand. You may have inherited a structure that was designed for cooking, but the layout may be completely incorrect. Inadequate airflow may overwork HVAC equipment and vent hoods, resulting in lower employee productivity. This can result in a stale workplace, greater utility expenses, and more safety infractions. Condensers in refrigerators and freezers are forced to operate longer hours, increasing the need for repair and replacement. Have a whole-building assessment done for inefficient ventilation systems before looking at specific pieces of equipment for cost-saving energy consumption choices. It may be essential to reorganize your facility, divide your HVAC system into zones, or enhance your air flow system.
Refrigerators and Freezers
Your walk-in cooling system may appear to be in good working order, but is it? In a commercial kitchen, refrigerators and freezers require the most energy. The following are some quick energy-saving refrigerator tips:
- Overloading should be avoided at all costs.
- Door closers and alarms should be installed.
- Set the temperature of the food to the recommended level.
- The ventilation panels are transparent.
Simple precautions can save you up to 10% on your energy bills. A regular maintenance program for inspecting controls, seals, and condensers should also be in place. However, these methods may not be as beneficial as looking into new equipment with intelligent controllers, improved motor fans, better circuit design for greater performance and air movement, hydrocarbon refrigerant, fan cut-out switches, and other technologically advanced features. Although the cost of replacement may appear to be prohibitive, a 50% reduction in wasted energy is well worth the investment.
The operator has always had control over grills. A grill could be one of your largest energy hogs, depending on staff engagement. Upgrading to a new type that uses infrared elements and only turns on when activated by a product put near the heat source has proven to save approximately 80% of energy.
Steamers and Bain Marie
The era of boiler-powered steamers is drawing to a close. New commercial Connectionless models are changing the way people steam. Not only is there a significant reduction in water usage (40 gallons per hour against 2 gallons per hour), but superior insulation also minimizes heat loss and improves efficiency.
The days of steamers powered by a boiler are numbered. The use of steaming is changing thanks to new commercial Connectionless models. Not only does this save a lot of water (40 gallons per hour versus 2 gallons per hour), but it also saves money by reducing heat loss and increasing efficiency.
In any business kitchen, ovens are a must-have. If you don’t already own a Combi-oven, now is the time to get one. Energy costs can be decreased in half when compared to traditional ovens. Convection, steam, and combination cooking features not only reduce cooking time but also increase air circulation.
Other steps can also help a restaurant kitchen save money on electricity. Microwave ovens, for example, can save up to 90% of the energy used to heat food when compared to conventional ovens. This is a low-cost way to save money on power. Water is expensive, and today’s updated dishwashers may save up to 30% by using smaller wash tanks and recycling wastewater. Always keep an eye out for the obvious. Lighting and heat bulbs can drain energy invisibly. Check out the latest energy-saving bulbs and install timers on lights to prevent lights from being left on by accident.
Knowing where to start when it comes to better managing your commercial kitchen’s energy use does not have to be a difficult undertaking. These suggestions may appear to cost a lot of money upfront, but if you start with a strategy, evaluate your energy usage, and address each issue one by one, you’ll wind up saving more money in the long run.