Foodservice Professional – Equipment, Recipes, Tips and Tricks
Foodservice Equipment – Energy Efficiency
Energy Efficiency ($$$’s not ZZZ’s)
I want to tell you a little about how all of the energy conciseness and the green movement can help you get money in your pocket, the real green movement. Every time you flip a switch, you are bleeding out money, and helping add to a death by a thousand cuts. Maybe not that dramatic, but I got to make the power bill entertaining right?There are a lot of ways to help lower your power consumption and help get those dollars and cents back to the bottom line where they belong. First, it’s more than that blue sticker on the side of your equipment that you need to help lower your bill. You need to have a little discipline and a little training to identify potential problems. I’m not here to give you the discipline, I can’t do that (if I could I would be making a lot more money as a motivational book writer). What I can do though, is help you identify some problem areas.
Without running out and purchasing brand new equipment, you should first look at what you currently have, and what operational condition it is in. One of the quickest and easy things you can do to get started is to look at all the seals and cleanliness of your equipment. You should keep the seals clean so they do not become hard or brittle and keep condenser coils and heating elements clean so they do not work harder than needed. In order to make sure the seals are in fact sealing properly, I like to take a piece of paper and put it halfway in the cabinet so you can close it in the door, then pull it out. You should have to tug on the paper a bit to remove it from the seal, if it is just sliding easily out you have a bad seal. If you don’t have a seal you can more than likely, and very easily, adjust the door to tighten it closer to the body of the cart. If you can’t figure it out, call the company service line, FWE, and most of the companies out there, are happy to help you out.During day to day operations, make sure to keep the door closed as much as possible. I know that it’s easier said than done, so if you are in and out of a cabinet a lot, you might want to consider the benefits of a “Dutch Door” cabinet (two doors, one on top of another). By only having half the cart open at any given time, you are able to keep all of the air from escaping out of the cabinet. Skip the doors that are see through, solid stainless steel doors are more efficient than glass or Lexan, because they are insulated much better. Closing the door can be difficult with your hands full and using your foot is an accident waiting to happen, so I highly recommend you get the optional self-closing hinges, they will pay for themselves in energy savings.
The little blue sticker of approval, and the money that it can save you.
Energy Star is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency voluntary program that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect our climate through superior energy efficiency. The sticker of approval will not help much though if you do not follow the basics listed above, and I will elaborate more on these topics in separate posts (if you have any question about energy savings let me know and I will address it specifically). One major thing to not overlook is the possible rebate that you can get with the purchase of an Energy Star piece of equipment. Click here for the Commercial Food Service Equipment Incentive Finder for hot food holding cabinets. This is pretty good cash back depending on the amount of carts that you need to purchase. Every day companies such as Food Warming Equipment Co. are making strides to make more efficient equipment. These sustainability and “green” efforts not only help in the reduction of greenhouse emissions, but give you a better performing equipment that also helps your ROI. These companies have test laboratories that run state of the art tests to determine the best insulation, controls, and designs to better maximize power consumption.