Expert’s Guide to Commercial Kitchen Energy Saving
With Earth Day quickly approaching, now is the time to go green. If you’re in the food service industry, initiating more energy efficient operations and practices not only lessens your impact on the environment, it can also save you thousands in annual energy expenses. Quick Servant is here to provide operators with the knowledge and tips you need to reduce your footprint and boost your bottom line.
Part I: The Kitchen
#1 Power Down When Possible
When the afternoon lull hits, turn your kitchen equipment off rather than leaving it sit on idle. It’s also a wise idea to create an end-of-day shut down strategy to ensure your operation isn’t consuming energy after closing. Only turn on your kitchen’s cooking and heating equipment 20 minutes before use.
#2 Train Your Staff
Make sure all staff members know how to operate the machines they use correctly in order to maximize efficiency. In addition, proper employee training will also help prevent any mishaps or kitchen hazards.
#3 Consider Your Capacity
Purchase cooking equipment that meets your kitchen’s capacity needs. Equipment that is too large for your food service operations will waste unneeded energy, and equipment that’s too small will consume more energy as it works hard to cool or heat a space larger than it’s built to control.
#4 Invest in Energy Efficient Equipment
When purchasing new equipment for your kitchen, consider energy ratings. Outfitting a commercial kitchen with Energy Star qualified appliances will save operators roughly $4,800 each year. You may also want to consider investing in multi-purpose appliances.
#5 Improve Your Kitchen Lighting
Energy Star certified light bulbs consume 70 to 90 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs, and last 10 to 25 times longer. Because fluorescent lighting emits less radiant heat, you will also enjoy higher comfort in the kitchen by not increasing the existing high temperatures due to appliance use.
#6 Evaluate Your Cooking Methods
Review your menu and consider which food items can be prepared on more efficient equipment. Try to eliminate as many energy-wasting pieces of equipment as you can.
#7 Seal Leaks
Check your doors and windows regularly for any cracks or areas where air may be escaping. Seal any leaks or replace previously sealed areas that have worn down to prevent further energy loss.
#8 Check Your Comfort Controls
Check your thermostat and control systems often to ensure that everything is operating as it should be and temperatures are properly set. A technician experienced in commercial kitchen equipment can help you find the right thermostat product and controls for your kitchen’s unique needs.
#9 Routine Maintenance Is Key
Scheduling regular maintenance service for your commercial kitchen equipment will save you the headache of unexpected breakdowns as well as costly repair expenses. A trained maintenance technician can also help identify areas where energy is being wasted and offer more efficient solutions. If it comes time for a repair job, make sure you resolve any appliance issue with manufacturer’s parts. Because these pieces are specifically designed for your equipment, they will ultimately help reduce overall energy waste. Call a trusted commercial maintenance company to determine how often your appliances should be serviced.
Part 2: Heated Holding Cabinets
#1 Power Down When Possible and at Night.
Shut down your holding cabinets at night to prevent them from heating an empty space. During slow times of the day, turn off some or all of the holding cabinet warmers to save energy.
#2 Insulation Is Essential.
Well-insulated heated holding cabinets are up to 65 percent more energy efficient than uninsulated alternatives. Routinely check all door seals to ensure no air is leaking. Seal areas where you find leaks to reduce energy loss.
#3 Maintain Your Holding Cabinet.
As is the case with your kitchen equipment, scheduling regular maintenance appointments with your technician is key. Not only will it prolong the lifespan of your holding cabinet and prevent breakdowns, it will also ensure it runs at peak performance and efficiency
Part 3: Steamers
#1 Keep the Door Shut.
Closing the door will not only keep your food warm, but it will also reduce the amount of energy consumed.
#2 Use Timers.
Make sure your steamer is set so that it only runs at full heat when needed and no longer.
#3 Power Down When Possible.
Shut down unnecessary compartments of your kitchen’s steamer during slower times of the day and at night.
#4 Clean Regularly.
Clean your commercial steamer on a regular basis. This will ensure both peak performance and efficiency.
#5 Maintain Your Commercial Steamer.
Have your steamer serviced on a regular basis. This will prevent the risk of unexpected breakdowns and costly repairs. Have your technician replace and worn or broken parts to increase energy efficiency and improve overall operation.
Part 4: Ice Machines
#1 Keep the Lid Closed.
Train your staff to make sure all team members limit the amount of time they keep the door to the ice machine open. Keeping the lid closed will keep cold air in and reduce energy waste.
#2 Clean Regularly.
Read your manufacturer’s user manual to determine proper cleaning methods for your ice machine. This will help ensure everything runs as effectively and efficiently as it should.
#3 Check and Change Your Water Filter.
Water filters impact the quality of ice your machine produces. Changing them on a regular basis will improve the taste of the ice, reduces the frequency of maintenance and cleaning and ultimately improves the overall efficiency of your equipment.
#4 Consider Your Capacity.
Having an ice machine that is either too big or too small for your capacity needs will result in wasted energy.
#5 Maintain Your Ice Machine With Routine Service.
Maintenance is key if you want to ensure effective operation and extended lifespan.
Part 5: Refrigeration Equipment
#1 Switch Bulbs to CFL’s.
Replace incandescent light with low temperature CFL bulbs. That way, your refrigerator won’t have to work as hard to keep cool.
#2 Keep the Door Closed.
Don’t let cold air escape by keeping the refrigerator door open too long. Make sure all staff shut the door completely to reduce energy waste.
#3 Recharge Your Refrigerant Levels.
Having too little refrigerant will increase the energy needed to cool your refrigerator unit.
#4 Avoid Small Spaces.
Don’t position your reach-in refrigerators in small spaces. Without proper air circulation, the coils won’t work efficiently and will have to work much harder to stay cool.
#5 Clean Regularly.
Clean your kitchen’s refrigerator coils and condenser on a regular basis.
Part 6: Oven Top
#1 Follow Manufacturer’s Recommendations.
When using combination ovens, follow manufacturer guidelines for proper usage of programmable features to increase energy efficiency.
#2 Load Fully.
Whenever possible, fill the oven with a full load. A full oven will increase the appliance’s efficiency.
#3 Shut Doors.
Keep oven doors closed while in use to avoid the escape of heat and reduce energy waste.
#4 Reduce Temperature.
During lulls and slower times of the day, reduce the temperature to conserve energy.
Replace worn-down seals and realign doors to help keep heat inside the oven.
Part 7: Range Top
#1 Reduce Hold Times.
Train and work with your staff to determine the best way to reduce overall hold times during food preparation.
#2 Maintain Burners.
Clean your burners regularly. The flames should be almost completely even blue with a small hint of yellow. Flames should not be wavy.
#3 Use lids.
Use pot lids to keep heat in. Not only will this conserve energy, it will also shorten cook times.
#4 Invest in Induction Technology.
Smaller scale food service operations may want to consider investing in induction technology for range tops. These features allow for easier use, quicker heating and higher efficiency.
#5 Turn Burners Off.
Turn all burners off when the range is not in use.
Part 8: Fryer
#1 Invest in Energy Efficient Fryers.
Fryers with high efficiency ratings can result in up to 25 percent in energy savings.
#2 Clean and Change Oil.
Follow your commercial fryer’s manufacturer’s instructions on how to clean and change oil. This will keep the fryer working effectively and efficiently.
#3 Check and Adjust Thermostats.
Regularly check your thermostat to ensure it’s set for proper cooking temperatures. This will ultimately help conserve energy in overall foodservice operations.
#4 Turn Off During Lulls.
Fryers spend as much as 75 percent of the day idling. Turn your equipment off during slower times to reduce energy consumption.
Call the Food Service Efficiency Experts at Quick Servant
Our team of highly trained technicians have decades of commercial installation, maintenance and repair experience. Quick Servant is committed to providing you with the most energy efficient solutions for your kitchen’s unique needs. Call us today at (888) 238-4133, or schedule service online to get on the road to energy efficiency and savings right away. As always, we’ll be there when you need us.
Information from this blog was inspired by an article from Manitowoc Foodservice on greener foodservice operations.