Society has become more conscious of the danger that our wonderful planet is facing. The population is also more willing to make behavioural changes to tackle this problem. From ditching single-use plastic to cycling to work instead of taking the car, every change counts!
While making personal changes is crucial, the biggest impact happens in industries with a significant environmental impact.
Let’s explore how food businesses can slice their commercial kitchen energy consumption and play their role in looking after Mother Earth.
Do you know the amount of energy used by restaurants?
The catering industry is diverse, meaning the average energy consumption between any two businesses will differ drastically. For example, a cafe will use significantly less energy than a steakhouse.
The average annual energy consumption for restaurant businesses based on size is:
- Micro Businesses – 5,000 kWh to 14,000 kWh
- Small Businesses – 15,000 kWh to 24,000 kWh
- Medium Businesses – 25,000 kWh to 45,000 kWh
- Large Businesses – 50,000 kWh to 65,000 kWh
However, the gas usage in many restaurants often exceeds these estimates, and a large percentage of this energy consumption comes from energy waste.
Energy-Saving Hacks for Commercial Catering Kitchens
Following these energy-saving hacks will lower the carbon footprint of your food business, but they will also help you save on overheads by reducing your yearly energy costs!
Regular Cleaning and Maintenance of Equipment
For example, loose seals on oven doors result in heat loss, equalling wasted energy. Other common issues occur in oven gaskets, gas burners, fridge and freezers, but you must examine and maintain all equipment in your commercial kitchen.
Likewise, if dirt and grime build up on equipment, components work harder and create more energy waste.
Invest in Energy Efficient Equipment
The running of your commercial equipment is usually the main contributor to energy consumption, but you can reduce this significantly with some sensible switches.
Although swapping out your appliances for their more energy-efficient counterparts might seem an expensive move, it can save you thousands per year on running costs.
From energy-efficient dishwashers, deep fat fryers and even fridges, there are plenty of planet-loving swaps to be had.
Banish “Stand-By” – Turn Off Idle Equipment
You’ll be surprised about how much energy you can preserve if you just flick the switch. Huge amounts of energy are wasted every day from idle equipment running instead of properly switching the appliance off when it’s not in use.
There are many ways to enforce this in your catering kitchen;
- Timed lighting or motion-powered lighting
- Smart controls to start or shut down appliances remotely
- Create a schedule for busy periods and startup or shutdown appliances accordingly
Implement an Energy-Efficient Kitchen Layout
Surprisingly, the layout of your commercial kitchen has direct links to the efficiency and energy consumption of your operations – and staff.
If you want to maximise the energy efficiency of your kitchen and appliances, you should consider:
Hot and Cold Temperature Zones
To avoid your appliances overworking in order to maintain their intended temperatures, you should create separate hot and cold temperature zones in your kitchen. For example, if your ice machine is next to your grill station, the ice machine will have a hard time operating efficiently.
Although this isn’t always as easy to implement as our other layout tips, if possible, you should try to maximise daylight in your kitchen and only use artificial light as it starts to become dark outside.
If you’re working in a kitchen without any windows this isn’t achievable, but if you’re looking for a new commercial kitchen to rent when your lease is over, it might be worth looking for a space with windows.
Sufficient Kitchen Ventilation
Proper ventilation systems throughout your kitchen space are vital for maintaining a healthy environment, adequate temperatures, and increasing the efficiency of your appliances.
Cooling Space for Appliances
Any refrigeration equipment, whether that be a cold room or a free-standing domestic fridge, needs to essentially ‘breathe’ and expel hot air in order to cool itself down. Therefore, your kitchen layout design should reflect this and any refrigeration appliances should have ample space around them, otherwise, it takes more energy to stay cool.