There’s little doubt that high on the consciousness of every commercial kitchen owner at the moment, has to be the energy bill. With an annual energy cost of over £1.3 billion in the hospitality sector, resulting in carbon emissions of more than 8 million tonnes per year, it is essential to look at how commercial kitchens can become more energy efficient – not only for the environment but also to benefit the business by saving on the bills. Some simple steps can save businesses in this industry huge amounts of money in energy costs, so it must be worth considering and implementing a few of these practical measures. It will also start to help bring your business in line with the government’s laws to end the UK’s contribution to global emissions with its target of bringing all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.
This blog will look at some of the ways you can start to make your commercial kitchen more energy efficient and begin to save money.
1. Energy efficient equipment
Fridges and freezers use large amounts of energy to function, but it is worth checking they’re set at the recommended temperatures for the food they’re storing and not having to work harder than necessary. Overloading fridges and freezers can also cause them to consume more energy. Stock rotation and ensuring that overordering doesn’t take place can help with this problem.
Allowing oven, fridge or freezer doors to remain open whilst working also wastes energy, so staff should be encouraged to keep these doors closed as much as possible and consider installing auto-close doors on equipment and auto defrost for freezers, as all of these help reduce energy consumption. Another energy saving principle is to only turn ovens, grills, steamers and fryers on when they’re going to be used and not heat them too early.
Consider upgrading old appliances. Newer pieces of catering equipment are generally more energy efficient and the investment can pay dividends in the savings made over operating old, inefficient ones. Newer models also have the added benefit of generally operating more quickly as well – speeding up cooking processes. Abraxas supplies equipment from the top manufacturers in the country, giving you a vast selection of energy saving appliances to choose from.
2. Regular maintenance
Equipment that isn’t regularly cleaned will be working harder than it should have to which will mean it’s using more energy than necessary, therefore regular maintenance will also save energy consumption in the long term. Regularly check seals, controls and condensers and that there is sufficient ventilation space around the equipment. If there is dust and grease build-up on the condenser coils of fridges and freezers, it will prevent them from expelling heat and cause them to use greater energy to keep the food cool.
Water heaters and filtration systems need to have filters replaced, which prevent limescale building up, which can cause a drop in the efficiency of the equipment. The extraction and ventilation systems also need regular maintenance as dirt, dust and grease can build up inside the ducting and filters causing the machinery to work harder, making it less and less efficient and even potentially contravening legislation that can cause the workplace to become unsafe.
Abraxas is pleased to offer service and maintenance packages that can keep your equipment working efficiently, safely and prevent expensive downtimes.
3. Equipment placement
Consider the physical placement of equipment in the kitchen. It makes no sense to position fridge or freezer units next to ovens, cookers or fryers, where they will have to work much harder to remain cool. If cooker hoods and extraction systems aren’t placed accurately, they won’t be functioning effectively and could even be in danger of creating safety violations. Ventilation systems also need to be optimised, maintained and controlled to prevent energy loss by over-functioning which wastes energy unnecessarily. If you are repositioning your kitchen layout and value advice from a friendly design expert, why not contact a member of our design team for advice to ensure you make the most of your available space in an energy-efficient and safe way?
Some simple methods to save money on lighting can include simply replacing old (CFL) lightbulbs with LED ones that last longer – up to 8 or 10 times – and use a fraction of the energy to power, up to 80% less energy for around 50,000 hours of light. Sensors that cause lighting to come on only when people are in the area and switch off when the room is empty will save human error in forgetting to switch them off. Sensor controls and LED bulbs can save up to 50% on energy costs for your business. External areas can have solar powered lighting fitted as this will save the installation money over time and eventually cost nothing to power, as they use the energy they collect.
5. Heat usage
Using smart thermostats for controlling the temperatures of the commercial kitchen and also customer dining areas can save vast amounts of money. Diners and staff alike don’t need to be too hot, and inside the kitchen, the appliances will tend to heat the space effectively – meaning not much is needed in the way of heating. If the thermostats are app-controlled, then staff can’t turn them up or down according to personal choice. Heating and air conditioning can be pre-set to only switch on when the temperature rises above or drops below pre-set levels and can prevent both heating and cooling systems from working against each other. Here are some tips:
- Check the temperatures of dishwashers for health and safety levels and make sure that they’re not heating to unnecessarily high temperatures.
- Hand driers can be replaced with low-energy, high-speed air machines that use up to 80% less energy and dry hands more quickly. These machines also usually have a shut-off feature turning off the machine when not in use.
- Consider installing a combi-oven as they use convection and steam combined to speed up cooking times whilst reducing costs by up to 50%, and many models will switch off at times of low usage.
6. Water consumption
Water consumption is another unavoidable energy cost in a commercial kitchen. Make sure that your staff are using the right size of pan for the task as boiling excess water uses more power, takes longer and wastes money. Water usage is, of course, essential for cleaning, but many kitchens have high-pressured nozzles on taps that can be exchanged for low-flow versions reducing the amount of water being used without impacting day-to-day operations. Sinks for hand washing can also have low-flow aerators fitted to reduce the amount of flow from the taps. Maintenance is vital here also, as leaking taps can cause a vast deal of wastage if not fixed swiftly.
7. Staff support
Try to get staff on board with saving energy and encourage them to turn off lights and appliances when they’re not using them. Teach them the value of keeping fridge, freezer and oven doors closed as much as possible to save wasting energy and use signs to remind everyone to turn things off and keep doors closed. Motivating them by creating a good working environment will help to encourage them to do their bit to help save the business’s energy bill and the environment.
Look at your menu with your chef, some of the dishes may use more energy to create and could be either cooked differently or replaced with more energy-friendly options. Using lids on pots and pans will minimise heat loss and cooking multiple items in the oven simultaneously reduces the amount of energy used.
And in conclusion…
Implementing some of these simple changes could make a whopping difference to your business’s energy bills. Also, don’t forget to shop around for the best available energy deals, as you can’t just assume that your current provider is offering the best rates.
For personalised advice about how to help make your commercial kitchen more energy efficient and start saving you money, or if you need help sourcing newer and more efficient equipment, get in touch online, give us a call on 01562 863 222 or email us at [email protected]
areas we cover
We are a company with proud roots in Worcestershire and we provide our service, maintenance and gas safe services throughout the Midlands. Our design, installation and project services are provided across the whole of the UK, take a look at the map to see just a few of the projects we have completed.
Abraxas specialise in commercial kitchen and servery counter design and the supply of commercial catering and foodservice equipment. We are a family run business based in Kidderminster, Worcestershire and employ our own engineers. We take a genuine pride in the services and products we provide to all our clients from a County Council to a small café.
We design kitchens that are efficient, well organised and cost effective, tailor-made to your needs.
Kitchen extraction is imperative for employee & customer safety and is a legal requirement.
Every installation fully project managed ensuring your kitchen complies with all necessary regulations.
Bespoke servery counters
Bespoke servery counters, working to your exact requirements and specifications.
Servicing & Maintenance
We can service, repair and maintain your catering equipment to ensure your kitchen runs efficiently.
We understand the meaning of a Gas Safe Kitchen & can make sure you meet all the necessary regulations.