Tips on saving energy in commercial kitchens
Boiling, baking, simmering. Refrigerating and freezing. Washing, ventilating and lighting. In the foodservice industry, the kitchen and its equipment, is one of the places where energy is in highest demand. Depending on the type and size of the foodservice business, the kitchen accounts for as much as 25% of total energy consumption. The potential to save energy here is subsequently high. We show you how to significantly reduce your energy costs with easy-to-implement measures, in each area of commercial kitchens.
Boiling and simmering requires the most energy in commercial kitchens With rising energy costs, this area has the greatest impact on overall costs – and therefore offers the greatest potential for savings. Energy consumption can be significantly reduced if attention is paid to the finer details, such as placing a cover or lid on a pan when cooking and only heating as much water as is actually necessary.. Of course, you should avoid lengthy heating and use the residual heat from the cooker and hotplates after switching them off. Checklists with corresponding instructions can help to ensure that you don’t forget these things in stressful situations.
If you want to reduce energy costs further, use modern cooking equipment in the kitchen. They are also effective for smaller businesses because the acquisition costs quickly pay for themselves due to the significantly lower energy consumption. The main kitchen equipment is the combi steamer, which cooks food with steam or hot air, depending on the dish and temperature requirements. As a combination of convection oven and steamer, it offers many advantages all in one. For example:
- Simultaneous cooking of several different dishes without cross-contamination of taste
- Shorter heating and preheating times
- Lower temperatures than a standard cooker thanks to better heat distribution
- Energy-efficient cooking process thanks to pre-set programmes for different types of food such as fish, meat, vegetables or pasta
- Efficient and time-saving self-cleaning programme
- Minimal energy loss thanks to multiple glazing and integrated heat exchanger (for new generation units)
Foodservice warewashers are also among the larger electricity consumers in the kitchen. The largest proportion of electrical energy is required for heating the wash water. This means that everything possible should be done to allow as little heat as possible to escape from the machine. The machine should also consume as little water as possible. Innovative warewashers come with a range of features for this purpose. For example:
- an efficient washing and filtration system that ensures that very little fresh water is required for each wash cycle
- a double-skinned housing that has very good insulating properties and keeps the heat inside the machine
- an internal heat recovery system that uses the energy in the machine to preheat the cold inlet water.
- digital services that make it possible to analyse all relevant operating data of the networked machine and provide individual notes on saving energy
However, it’s not just the technology that helps to reduce the energy consumption. The operation of the machine and the handling during washing are also contributing factors. Here are some examples of how to wash dishes in an energy efficient manner:
- Adjust the size of the plates to the amount of food and avoid serving mini-bites on oversized plates – large, cold plates use up more energy in the machine than small ones.
- Wash at a favourable time – if possible, just before peak times. This means that plates come out of the machine hot and do not need to be preheated.
- Switch on the machine shortly before washing to avoid unnecessarily long heating times.
- Before washing, remove food residues and stubborn dirt and when pre-washing make sure that the water is only lukewarm.
- Do not completely switch off your machine if you temporarily pause your washing operation for a time. Use the stand-by mode for this.
In commercial kitchens, lights are often on all day. As energy consumption can add up, the most important rule for lighting in the commercial kitchen is: use modern power-saving LED lamps instead of incandescent bulbs and halogen spotlights. In addition, there are some other tips on how you can further reduce lighting costs:
- Only use lamps that have a high energy efficiency class.
- Use LEDs with cold white light between 3000 and 5000 Kelvin, as it stimulates concentration and performance
- A built-in surge protector increases the service life of the lamps
- Clean the lamps regularly to guarantee maximum light output.
- Equip corridors, side rooms and storage rooms with motion detectors.
- Only switch on heat lamps at the pass as needed and switch them off again immediately after the food has been removed.
- Lamps with mirrored reflectors provide better, more targeted lighting on work surfaces and tables