When it comes to energy costs for a restaurant, refrigeration equipment takes the cake as one of the biggest sources of expenses, followed by air conditioning and lighting systems. To lower your running costs, choosing energy-efficient kitchen equipment is the way to go. But there’s more at stake than just maximizing your bottom line. Today, restaurants and other types of eatery businesses are in a rush to protect the environment, and energy-friendly equipment is part of the solution. Save the world and your wallet by choosing energy-efficient kitchen equipment using our super-helpful checklist. Let’s get cooking.
Start by selecting the right size
Wrong-sizing kitchen equipment can also lead to severe energy wastage, given that energy consumption is usually directly proportional to the size of the machinery. For example, getting a dishwasher that regularly runs on just half its load capacity is most definitely one way to spend more electricity than you have to.
The temptation for restaurant owners is to get dishwashers that accommodate load – that being the number of plates- being processed at peak times. But it’s ideal to consider things more holistically by considering the average load size throughout the day.
Keep in mind that a large and small kitchen appliance can have the same energy rating, but the larger one may have more energy requirements still.
Check for energy star ratings
What are energy star ratings? The US EPA, otherwise known as the US Environmental Protection Agency, whose name pretty much explains its purpose, is the body responsible for the ENERGY STAR label. It is a stamp of validation, quite literally, offered to kitchen and other types of appliances that meet certain energy requirements such as:
- Resulting in substantial energy savings to the national grid
- A product being able to realize utility bill savings that recoup a slightly higher market cost than generic alternatives
- The energy efficiency is measurable or provable by acceptable metrics (as determined by the US EPA)
This is just the tip of the iceberg of the requirements that the ENERGY STAR product specs lay out. To cut a long story short, the key takehome here is to prioritize kitchen appliances that have an Energy Star certification, usually visible as an unmissable blue label on the machine’s exterior.
Prioritize energy-saving features
Some kitchen equipment have bonus features that help you to consume less electricity than a standard or generic alternative. Let’s consider the case of a commercial dishwasher for a restaurant.
Aside from the energy star certification, you to also be on the lookout for the following energy-saving features or capabilities:
- Low-water usage: When a machine is water-efficient, it is, of course, by extension energy efficient. It takes energy for national water suppliers to process and supply the commodity. When a business reduces its water use that means lower amounts of greenhouse gas emissions
- Heat recovery systems: The appliance recovers heat from the drying process to reinject into the drying cycle thus saving a couple of units of electricity
- Variable wash cycles: This allows you to match the demands of the load – that being the number of plates in need of processing – for more efficient energy spend
Of course, energy-saving features may manifest differently across various appliances. For example, in the case of a refrigerator, you may want to prioritize things such as an energy saver switch. You need to ensure that the kitchen appliance you go for has tricks up its sleeve to cut down on energy consumption.
Embrace new technologies
We have nothing against buying the kitchen appliances of yesteryears. In fact, doing so might give the equipment a new lease on life while reducing the number of avoidable trips to the landfill.
That being said, these technologies have nothing on the new age designs. For example, some devices are merging the functions of multiple tools into one. We have appliances with multiple cooking modalities, doubling up as an all-in-one cooking machine. Such equipment don’t just save energy by reducing the number of appliances you need, but they also make your workflow more efficient and versatile.
Beyond that, consider the case of new-age technologies that support sous vide cooking, for example. With precise temperature control, there’s a reduction in energy wastage while ensuring better consistency for food. For instance, sous vide cooking machines cuts off the 40% volume loss that occurs when you cook steak via conventional means. Paying attention to such technologies can help make your restaurant more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.
Look past gimmicks
To get a leg up on the competition, kitchen appliances such as refrigerators are now going overboard with over-elaborate features. While they are usually more convenient and even sometimes offer more practical applications for restaurants, they also increase the energy demands of the appliance.
For instance, some refrigerator features that may not be worth it include:
- Temperature zones: Unless your business needs to store liquids at different temperatures, in-fridge temperature zones are not a must-have
- Smart technology. These can certainly make a restaurant seem forward-thinking, but it’s likely your customers won’t be snooping around the back to see it. While smart fridges can be cool and helpful, they can also inflate energy requirements due to the surplus technology and circuitry
- Spill-proof features and gigantic ice makers. Your business probably has a dedicated freezer for ice so need to double up
At the end of the day, you want to keep in mind what your objectives are for the kitchen appliance you’re getting, so you can discern between essential features and gimmicks that only inflate the equipment’s purchase and running cost.
Reuse. Recycle. Reduce
As we wind up, keep in mind the three important Rs of recycling. Speaking of which, buying second-hand restaurant kitchen equipment is also one way to lower the carbon footprint of your restaurant business. The AAA finds that we stand to lower carbon emissions by over 226 kilograms annually by just buying second-hand. Besides, doing so is also a great way to save some money. If you’re seeking the cheapest kitchen accessories and energy-efficient kitchen equipment at large, it’s also prudent to shop from a supplier with a focus on sustainability. One such supplier is Industbay, a fast-growing marketplace for all sorts of Industrial equipment. Visit their website