When it comes to managing your foodservice operation, almost every manager and owner is looking to save energy in their foodservice operation. Afterall, the kitchen is typically one of the highest areas of energy use in an operation. Between the heavy duty cooking equipment, food prep equipment, ice making equipment, warewashing equipment and so on, you have several appliances that require a significant energy draw. Here are ten easy steps that you can take to save energy in your commercial kitchen:
1. Turn Off Kitchen Equipment Whenever Possible – leaving equipment on when it isn’t needed uses unnecessary energy. Spend some time documenting the activity level of your kitchen so that you know the peak operation times and the slow times when you can shut some equipment pieces off.
2. Keep Your Staff Well Trained – Take advantage of start-up training on new pieces of foodservice equipment whenever possible. Also make staff training a priority and monitor utilization of any equipment so that it is being used to it’s fullest capacity whenever possible.
3. Review Your Cooking Methods - Examine your menu for items that can be cooked on more energy efficient cooking equipment and modify usage of energy wasting equipment.
4. Create and Follow a Maintenance Plan – create a plan for regular maintenance of all your cooking equipment on a regular basis that takes into account age and use. Follow this plan to ensure that your kitchen equipment is always running efficiently.
5. Use Manufacturer Parts – Using parts from the manufacturer rather than aftermarket kitchen equipment parts can reduce energy waste of your equipment because those parts are made specifically to fit the equipment you are operating.
6. Recalibrate – Check to see that controls and thermostats are accurate and working correctly. Test often to ensure that all equipment is operating at the cooking temperature it should be so that you reduce energy loss.
7. Seals – Be sure that all door seals are proper working order. Check gaskets and seals on a regular basis and replace as needed to optimize minimize energy loss.
8. New Equipment – If you are considering a new piece of equipment, be sure to review the energy ratings as well as versatility with regard to your menu so that you select an efficient choice that can save money in multiple ways.
9. Capacity – Make sure that you are purchasing and operating equipment that has a capacity consistent with your production. Equipment that is too large will waste energy because you will be heating or cooling capacity that your operation will not utilize.
10. Lighting - This is an area that can often be overlooked but has great potential for energy savings. Utilize dimmers where ever possible as they are available for LEDs and CFLs. For additional savings, consider investing in Daylight Dimmers, which are special sensors to automatically dim lights in a room based on the amount of available natural light in an area. Swap out any older open/closed signs or exit signs with newer LED options will also net you energy savings.