Unfortunately, many restaurant owners do not realize that each time they open their doors for business, they are unknowing guzzling energy, throwing away profits and polluting the environment. Whether you are designing a new restaurant and re-designing an existing restaurant, going green and changing a few daily behaviors can reduce energy waste, help protect the environment and increase your profits. The following guidelines will help get you started in designing a “green” commercial kitchen.
Investing in ENERGY STAR commercial kitchen equipment will help your business consume less water and less energy. The average restaurant spends 30% of its annual budget on energy, but switching to energy efficient equipment can save the typical restaurant an average of $15,000 each year. Conducting simple maintenance tasks such as changing air filters, regularly cleaning equipment and checking/replacing seals and gaskets can also help to reduce the amount of energy consumption.
When designing a new commercial kitchen or remodeling an existing area, it is important to separate the cooking equipment from the cooling equipment. When refrigerators are near appliances such as an open burner, the oven vent, broilers, fryers and steamers it causes the refrigeration unit to work hard at staying cool, which burns energy and cuts into profits.
Restaurants use hundreds of gallons of grease and oil each week and unfortunately, most of the used fats, grease and oils end up in the sewer system, streams, lakes and local groundwater. Proper grease management can help eliminate sewer and water system backups, minimize pollution and increase your profits. A grease recovery device helps to trap the grease, however, it is vital that the traps be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis to avoid build-up. An automatic grease recovery device not only traps the grease, but separates the grease from the water, leaving clean “yellow” grease, which can sold for a profit to grease handlers or a biodiesel company.
When it comes to restaurant expenses, water is thought to be one of the least expensive utility bills. However, there is already a global demand for cleaner, safer drinking water and with a few simple steps, you can reduce water consumption and save money. Reusing water whenever possible and installing an energy-efficient dishwasher and low-pressure spray valve is a great start to reducing water consumption. Use cold water instead of hot water whenever possible to save on energy consumption and reduce water waste. Make sure all hot-water pipes are insulated and check the water temperature on a regular basis.
A commercial kitchen requires effective lighting, however, by installing overhead, fluorescent lighting you can save money on the energy bill, reduce energy use and have sufficient lighting. If the lighting sources are already in place, simply replace traditional bulbs with energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs. Switching to fluorescent bulbs can save you a few hundred dollars each year on energy costs.
Making the decision to go “green” in a commercial kitchen is often a slow transition, however, by making these small changes you will be helping to preserve the environment, conserve energy and earn a larger profit by reducing your overall costs. An even better incentive to create an environmentally friendly commercial kitchen is your customers. Studies have shown that consumers prefer to dine at a restaurant that is environmentally friendly, so advertising your business as a “green” business, may help increase your customer base, which is ultimately an increase in profits.