Establishments with commercial kitchens are often faced with a big energy bill at the end of the month. However, there are ways around that. By implementing energy efficiency measures in your kitchen, you will not only help the environment, but lower your business bills as well.
First and foremost, be sure you are not overpaying for your energy bills by taking a close look at your business energy provider. Be sure to compare business energy
deals in order to settle on one that is perfect for your establishment, no matter how big or small.
Your Equipment is Precious
If you’re looking to reduce energy waste in your kitchen, having a close look at your appliances is a good place to start. This doesn’t necessarily mean having to buy all the latest top-notch equipment in the market. Ensure that your appliances are functioning at their optimum efficiency by having regular maintenance.
One very important practice is properly cleaning your equipment. Something as simple as cleaning the grease trap from your stove can do wonders. Another way to maximise equipment efficiency is to ensure that your kitchen layout works in your favour. It’s a good idea to separate heating and cooling equipment. For example, if your ice machine is next to your oven, both appliances are probably working harder than they should.
If you’re able to, consider buying equipment accessories that facilitate the conservation of water, such as a pre-rinse spray valve. Consider installing water filtration systems in any equipment that uses significant amounts of water to prevent unwanted calcification and mineral deposits.
One major appliance common to most commercial kitchens is the dishwasher, and it’s no secret that it can consume large amounts of energy. Make sure you wait until it is fully loaded before running it and try shortening its drying cycles whenever possible. Take note of any worn spray heads that might need replacing.
If any leaks are reported in your kitchen, make sure to bump that high up on your priority list; it’s worth checking for leaky taps and pipes regularly. Enforcing all of these practices will help you eliminate water waste during food preparation, cooking and cleaning as well.
Hot water is an essential component to running any commercial kitchen and the energy bill at the end of the month reflects that. However, you can quickly and effectively reduce the costs of running your kitchen simply by ensuring that your water temperatures aren’t higher than they need to be. According to the NRA, the mandatory dishwashing temperature is around 60°C, hot enough to kill Legionella bacteria, yet cool enough to ensure safety among staff members.
When it comes to reducing unnecessary hot air in your kitchen, consider installing thermostatic radiator valves (TRV) to increase temperature control. TRVs automatically measure the air temperature and reduce the heat output as your kitchen becomes busier and hotter during peak times.
…and the Cold
Oh, the refrigerator. Every commercial kitchen has one. Every commercial kitchen owner knows that it consumes an incredible amount of energy. Fortunately, there are ways to maximise its energy efficiency and lower your energy bills at the end of the month.
Firstly, make sure that the condenser coils are cleaned regularly. If they aren’t, you could be risking early compressor failure and other parts of the equipment breaking down due to overuse.
Secondly, inspect refrigerator and freezer doors very carefully. Worn gaskets can prevent the doors from completely closing, making the appliance use more energy than necessary to maintain its temperature balanced.
Thirdly, make sure you and your staff understand storage food temperature codes. For example, ice cream and frozen foods fall under the L1 category, which is specified to be below -15°C, while canned and bottled drinks are categorized as H2 and should be stored between -1°C and 10°C (Carbon Trust, 2012).
If you have a walk-in fridge or freezer, study the possibility of having cooler curtains to help reduce air flow in and out of your unit, which will consequently allow the equipment to retain its temperature more easily and effectively.
Your Staff is There to Help You
Make sure not to overlook the role that the menu choices play on the energy bill of the establishment. Consider lowering menu costs not simply by purchasing cheaper ingredients, but also by planning with your chef how best to cook the meals. Because some kitchen appliances consume more energy than others, coming up with a strategy from the menu can reduce your energy bills.
It’s good measure to include all your staff on the energy saving practices in your kitchen to ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards a common goal. To enforce energy efficiency measures, it may be helpful to label switches, sockets and equipment with the estimated times that they should be switched on and off. All of these measures will not only reduce your energy bills but will also provide a more efficient working environment for all those involved.
The Customer is Your Ultimate Stamp of Approval
As customers are becoming more environmentally aware, it is expected that establishments with commercial kitchens follow in their footsteps. Eco-conscious customers will appreciate your efforts at maximising energy efficiency and so will your piggy bank. By implementing some of the tips outlined above, you will reduce your commercial kitchen energy bills, while helping the environment, attracting more customers, and saving money in the process.