Kitchen equipment uses a large amount of energy. By making sure you have energy-efficient appliances and processes in place, you can make great strides in lowering your energy usage.
Make sure first that you're using Energy Star and high-efficiency appliances. Appliances such as electric and gas steam cookers, electric and gas fryers, hot food holding cabinets, ice makers and solid door refrigerators all are available in energy-efficient models. You can utilize Energy Star savings calculators to highlight areas of improvement.
More and more facilities are utilizing combi-ovens, which utilize superheated steam for browning and surface cooking, and saturated steam for finish cooking. Steam-cooking uses less energy per pound of finished product than conventional cooking.
You can also retrofit your existing equipment with the goal of limiting natural gas use and reducing hot water usage, as well as lowering the energy required to heat or cool the facility. There are a number of available options:
- Install sensor controls that control temperature based on food presence, appliance insulation, infrared or powered burners and recirculation tubes/baffles.
- Insulate thermostats in appliances such as fryers and griddles, which can reduce heat loss by 25 percent.
- Utilize demand ventilation that uses infrared sensors and VFD motors.
- Install side air curtains around cooking appliances, helping to restrict air flow and reduce energy loss.
For more information on reducing energy usage, visit the Energy Resource Guide from the Energy Solutions Center and the Gas Foodservice Equipment Network.
There are a number of other steps you can take:
Energy-efficient Equipment utilization
- Use integrated controls and sensors that turn down heat in the absence of food.
- Run only full dishwasher loads, operating at standard temperatures.
- Turn off the dishwasher's automatic power rinse.
- Clean your dishwasher regularly, using low-flow, pre-rinse spray valves and aerated faucets.
- Separate and group cooking and cooling equipment. This allows you to use the same vent for all cooking equipment, while also helping refrigeration systems use less energy.
- Turn down your water heater after business hours.
- Turn off kitchen equipment when not in use.
- Determine and control the appropriate cooking temperature for all foods, and utilize the most appropriate temperatures for foods.
- Do not preheat steam tables, grills, or broilers; it takes approximately 15 minutes to preheat ovens.
- Keep your kitchen equipment clean and maintained, adhering to maintenance schedules and regularly inspecting seals around equipment.
- Use other equipment to minimize use of the stove top, which will help decrease additional heat dissipated into the kitchen and increase energy efficiency. You can precook or cook using steamers, microwave ovens or ovens. You can also reheat food before frying or finishing on the stove.
- Cover all pots when cooking, which reduces cooking time and heat loss.
- Operate fryers at no higher than 350F.
Ventilation is another key to improving your efficiency. It's important to incorporate your kitchen ventilation units into the building's heating, ventilation and HVAC systems. By arranging your kitchen equipment strategically, you can maximize your system's efficiency; for example, grouping your cooking equipment based on production of effluent. Char broilers, for example, should go under the center of the hood.
There are multiple types of exhaust fans you can use:
- Upblast fans direct exhaust away from the roof, and increase energy efficiency.
- Utility sets can handle large amounts of air and high temperatures. They have low maintenance costs, and long lifespans.
- Use exhaust fans with adjustable speed controls.
You can also utilize your ventilation system by using exhaust air to preheat air for space or water. For more information on utilizing recovered energy and improving air quality visit Air-to-Air Heat Exchangers Recover Energy and Improve Air Quality.
Other ventilation ideas:
USE DEMAND VENTILATION FOR RANGE HOODS
Using infrared sensors and VFD motors modulates the range hood and air fan speeds. DCV using CO2 sensors can be used together to regulate air intake rates.
- Use the correct amount of makeup air to compensate for air removed by the ventilation system. Minimize makeup air velocity to no more than 75 feet per minute.
- Properly install and seal access panels, so duct work is accessible for cleaning.
USE ENERGY-EFFICIENT EXHAUST HOODS THAT UTILIZE OUTSIDE AIR WHEN COOKING
Exhaust hood technology includes:
- Mesh filters: less efficient and must be cleaned frequently.
- Baffle filters: can be cleaned using a dishwasher.
- Cartridge filters: can be cleaned using commercial dishwashers.
- Water Wash: require a direct source of hot water and have costly installation fees.
- Continuous water mist: effective in grease removal, this systems uses a continuous stream of cool mist sprayed into the extraction system.
- Ultraviolet: breaks down grease into carbon dioxide and water, then moves the compounds through the exhaust airflow.
Click here for our project checklist for cooking, refrigeration and office equipment