Hundreds of products are used in a busy commercial kitchen or central production unit during the course of a week, and whilst they may all be essential to the smooth running of your food business, it’s easy to forget about the impact these choices have on the environment.
The growing demand for more eco-friendly businesses has seen significant changes to the way catering companies source their produce, design their kitchens, choose their cooking equipment and even buy eco-friendly products for cleaning in order to adhere to environmental sustainability standards.
Not only does an environmentally friendly kitchen help the future of our planet it is also far more cost-efficient and billions of pounds have been saved by the use of Energy Star-rated appliances. (Energy Star is a government energy rating awarded to energy-efficient products.)
This is our guide to help you reduce energy costs, reduce waste and offset your carbon footprint by creating an eco-friendly dark kitchen rental.
Designing your energy-efficient & eco-friendly kitchen
Reclaim and re-use
Using reclaimed materials is not only great for the environment, with fewer materials ending up in a landfill site but also ensures fewer natural resources and less energy is used in your kitchen.
Where using wood, try to look for products that are FSC Certified so you know that it has been harvested in a responsible, economically viable and environmentally friendly way.
Use sustainable materials in kitchen design
- Ecoboard is an example of a fully recyclable product that is practical and durable with its ability to be cut and worked like traditional timber. It uses agricultural byproducts which are an ecological alternative to chipboard, MDF, OSB and Plywood with the benefit of a negative carbon footprint.
- Bamboo is another great sustainable product, as it is so fast-growing.
- Resin can also be used to replicate concrete flooring, without huge quantities of water and chemicals needed to produce cement.
- Prepare your food on wooden cutting boards harvested from a sustainable source.
- Using long-lasting products such as different grades of stainless steel or cast iron pots and pans will reduce your kitchen’s carbon footprint as well as being resistant to corrosion.
- Cut down on plastic food storage in your fridge and freezer by switching to products made from silicon, glass or metal and use beeswax wraps instead of cling film and explore eco-friendly options for food delivery services.
Create your own compost pile
You can reduce food waste by creating your very own compost bin from biodegradable kitchen scraps which will eventually become nutrient-rich soil.
Install planet-saving technology
High-tech kitchen equipment not only streamlines tasks but makes them more eco friendly too. For example, a boiling water tap can provide hot water on demand but also saves water and electricity and aims to tackle the £68 million a year UK energy waste from boiling kettles, according to the Energy Trust.
A dishwasher is also considered energy-efficient equipment as it wastes a lot less water compared to regular hand dishwashing. If you do need to use the kitchen faucet from time to time it’s best to get a low-flow faucet head to reduce water consumption.
LED lights are the perfect eco-friendly solution for commercial kitchen lighting. They will last considerably longer and waste a lot less electricity and also come as LED light strips for task lighting.
Use green cleaning products
To reduce the spread of dangerous toxins, switch to all-natural, green cleaning agents and eco-friendly products such as baking soda, lemon juice, oxygen bleach and white vinegar.
Energy Star certified appliances save money on your energy bill, reduce your carbon footprint and benefit your health. Here are some must-have energy-saving appliances in your commercial kitchen:
Induction cooking is a huge energy saver. An induction range works by applying electromagnetism to pans with high iron content. This directly heats the pan and not the hob surface. The range stays cooler to the touch, which means fewer burns. It is also quicker and easier to clean than a conventional range and the burners turn off automatically when the pans are removed.
The use of hydrocarbons in commercial kitchens or cold rooms is another environmentally-friendly must-have. Hydrocarbon refrigerants virtually eliminate the direct greenhouse gas emissions whilst also reducing indirect emissions by improving energy efficiency.
They can reduce energy consumption by up to 15% and a great example to use in your commercial kitchen is an Electrolux. These appliances are foamed with cyclopentane and feature Smart Defrost Technology that starts only when ice is actually building up in the evaporator and ends as soon as the ice has actually melted. By defrosting only when necessary, less energy is needed and it reduces ice build-up.
Heat recovery systems
Utilising ventilation with heat recovery systems works by recovering heat from extracted air and transferring it into filtered fresh air which is drawn into the kitchen via a Heat Recovery Ventilator or MVHR system and at the same time extracts stale, moist air with minimal heat loss. This improves air quality and efficiently controls the temperature of your commercial kitchen.
You can reduce the carbon intensity of your cooking by following a few simple energy-saving tips:
On the hob
- When cooking on a stove, using the correct sized pot for each of the stove burners makes a huge difference.
- Ensuring all of your pots and pans have close-fitting lids to bring boiled water up to temperature, will reduce energy usage by keeping the heat in the pan and decreasing cooking time.
- Copper-bottomed or cast-iron pans heat more effectively than stainless steel.
- Use a steamer to cook multiple vegetables at the same time
In the oven
- Keep the oven closed while cooking as each time the door is opened the oven loses heat and requires more energy to get back up to the correct temperature.
- Fan-assisted ovens allow for a lower cooking temperature.
- For longer cooking cycles, switching off the oven 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time and using residual heat to finish cooking will save energy.
- Maintain the seal on your oven.
- Glass and ceramic dishes are the most efficient for oven usage.
Adapt your menu
The origin of your food can have a huge impact on the planet. Ingredients that are grown domestically often have a much smaller carbon footprint than those shipped across the globe. Switching to produce grown closer to home is, therefore, a simple yet incredibly effective way to reduce the food miles of your menu.
At Dephna, we offer complete flexibility and 24-hour access with commission-free deliveries in any of our food delivery kitchens. If you’re interested in our eco-friendly commercial kitchen rental, cold storage rooms or catering kitchens, enquire now to book a visit.