We all know that this particular space is one fitted with all types of machines, running heavy on power and water; not the best news with regards to environmental friendliness yet the industry is doing better than ever. To reduce its footprint, one of the ways is to use efficient equipments. In this segment, we will talk about selecting the most suitable equipment according to the areas in the workspace, that include the service area, washing, cooking area and preparation area.
BEHIND AN EFFECTIVE SERVICE
HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning)
Commercial kitchens need to have ventilation and air- conditioning due to the air being affected by odours, relieve the heat created due to convection, meet air quality hygiene requirements, prevent moisture from cooking and washing as well as providing a comfortable work environment. On an average, the HVAC takes up about 28% of a restaurant’s energy use therefore it is the first place to look at when implementing energy-efficient plans. Revamping the ventilation to better capture heat and fumes from cooking equipments cut down the strain on other equipments for cleaner air and greater efficiency. By choosing a variable-speed vent that allows adjustment of fan speeds to be higher during peak hours and lower at relaxed periods, up to 30-50% of ventilation energy costs can be saved. Automatically adjusting systems are already available such as the M.A.R.V.E.L. system* that provides a demand controlled ventilation (DCV) system that can identify the current status of the cooking equipment, whether off, heating or cooking in progress and then adjusts the exhaust flow rate accordingly, providing better use of energy. The system is reprogrammable anytime to respond to changes in a kitchen’s layout. Working with Capture Jet® technology, efficiency of hoods is increased as capture jet is able to form a protective barrier, preventing heat, smoke, grease and other contaminants into the air, cutting down the air-conditioning’s workload for a more comfortable workspace and reduction of energy bills.
The M.A.R.V.E.L.*(Model-based Automated Regulation of Ventilation Exhaust Level) and Capture Jet® are available in products offered by Halton Foodservice.
On the subject of cooling, ice is one of the most important item in a commercial kitchen; whether to keep ingredients at an optimum temperature or to be served in drinks. Due to a constant need, the machine is likely to be kept on running most of the day and new models made with energy efficiency in mind is definitely welcomed. Aside from designing machines to conserve energy, manufacturers have taken it a step ahead by using hydrocarbons (HC) which are climate friendly and cost reducing refrigerants to heat, cool and freeze. Energy consumption can be lowered by up to 20% per unit with machines fitted with hydrocarbon refrigerant*, resulting in more effective running costs and reduces carbon emissions. Ice machines with this technology comes with zero ozone depletion potential (ODP) and low global warming potential (GWP).
*Hydrocarbon refrigerant fitted ice machines are available from Manitowoc Foodservice & Hoshizaki
KEEPING CLEAN & TIDY
Moving from manual washing to electric dishwashers, these machines continue to be very helpful but are also one of the largest energy consumers. Its many classes of commercial dishwashers (conveyor machines, stationary rack door, under counter etc) means various energy output from the pump and conveyor motors but the largest need is the heating of water for the rinse cycle which determines the requirement of water heaters. By using an efficient heat recovery system, energy of hot exhaust air is used to heat the cold feed water. Additional energy savings come in the form with Climate heat pump that heats cold feed water and also the tank water of conveyor dishwashers. The machine rely on four aspects for great wash result which include temperature, time, chemistry and mechanics and by matching these four elements perfectly, the dishes only require a single wash instead of twice traditionally. Water consumption is lowered as well as detergent usage which are formulated with environmentally friendly ingredients for a more sustainable wash.
*Dishwashers with efficient heat recovery or Climate heat pump are available from Winterhalter
Invest in sturdy storage racks that are designed to keep cleaned items away from dirt and dries quickly to avoid moisture build-up. Choose those that are made with polyproplylene for years of durability. Although they might not be direct eco-friendly equipment, they keep wares clean so that you can save water, chemicals and electricity from having to rewash these wares. Meanwhile, the material used to make these wares give you many years of use, reducing the need of manufacturers having to produce at a high output which impacts the environment.
*Storage racks suitable for wares are available from Cambro
PREPARING FOR THE DAY
A smooth service begins with detailed preparation and the refrigerator comes into great importance. It is common knowledge that these machines use up a lot of energy in a commercial kitchen for they have to be kept running even though service has shut down. New eco-conscious refrigerators are fitted with DC (direct current) fans as compared to AC (alternating current) fans. While AC fans have motor that uses higher voltage than DC fans, DC fans is more suitable for energy efficiency (conserving up to 80% energy to protect the environment and give you better cost efficiency). Fridges with automatic closing door are convenient to save energy, not to mention prevent food from being spoilt when someone accidentally did not close the door tightly. Ice that build up on the evaporator makes the refrigerator work harder to chill the items inside it and a function like scheduled evaporator defrost cycle helps a lot. Another technology that has been recently been incorporated into refrigerators for domestic use is the inverter technology. It allows for the refrigerator’s compressor to work harder when more cooling is needed and lesser otherwise. A refrigerator’s temperature varies throughout its “on” “off” cycle but with inverter technology, temperature is kept more stable resulting in savings on electricity consumption. Give it a little time and soon the commercial kitchens will be changing to inverter technology refrigeration.
*Energy efficient refrigerators with the DC features are available from Hoshizaki
These are imperative to have in a commercial kitchen for organisation purposes and easy access. Shelves that are quick and easy to clean definitely saves water whilst its durability and recyclable polypropylene material contributes to eco-friendliness in the long run. Choose also shelves that feature anti-rust / corrosion properties for hygiene and long term investment.
*Eco-friendly shelves are available from Cambro
THE HEAT IS ON
Deep fried food tastes so good but the machine to make them hampers quite a bit on the energy use in a kitchen. The minimum cooking efficiency of 50% for gas and 80% for electric ought to be achieved for a fryer to have the Energy Star® label. Or think about switching to fan- assisted burner technology (turbo) that helps energy efficiency by up to 55%. For added convenience, there are fryers that can go into idle mode automatically after a period of inactivity and choose a fryer with fast recovery time (electric fryers recover faster). It might be a worthy investment in high-end electric fryers that come with insulation around the frypot which can diminish stand-by losses by up to 25%. In some places, used oil is even collected to be sent for recycling into biodiesel although it could take a while for such initiative to reach this region.
These smart machines are a great boost for kitchens’ food production as they are able to steam, poach, and bake all in one space. Like the CT Express (Alto-Shaam), heat and humidity levels are maintained within the closed cooking cavity to minimise water, gas and electric costs yet uncompromising on efficient cooking performance. At the same time, a built-in quenching system cuts out the need for supply of cold water condensate. Meanwhile, Hobart’s Pro and Plus range features ovens built to be 91% recyclable and uses 100% biodegradable cleaning products to cut down on impacting the environment. With humidity control, steam production is kept to a minimum and reduces water consumption by up to 40%, a direct cavity burner and micro injection system gives 40% more energy efficiency and a quick clean system uses 60% less water.
Induction cooking is gaining ground, especially in tight spaces such as apartment units where smoking hot cooking may be too much for the environment. But induction ranges are also applicable for commercial kitchens. The pot or pan becomes the heating element compared to traditional methods of heating up a burner to heat up a pan that heats the food. With induction, the pan is directly heated with a coil beneath the surface of the stove creating a magnetic field around the bottom of the pan. As the magnetic flux passes through the pan’s bottom, a current generates in the metal of the pan, transformed into heat by the resistance of the metal pan and gets things cooking. Its environmental friendliness lies in the fact that it uses no gas, releases no fumes and chemicals nor does it require any irreplaceable fossil fuels, translating into conservation of natural resources. Without the fumes from gas, the kitchen is cooler thus enabling you to reduce the work of an air conditioner for more energy savings.
*Induction stove tops across all ranges are available from Dipo.