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5 June 2013

Cutting running costs in the kitchen

Being a member of The Artisan Food Trail has many benefits and we’re able to offer savings on a variety of services thanks to our selected partners.

Eco Catering Equipment are one of our partners who can supply the latest high quality state of the art kitchen equipment to help save you money and benefit the environment.

Their experience and customer service is second to none and we’ve been lucky enough to have Tim Taylor, the managing director, share his knowledge on energy efficiency looking at a couple of examples of energy saving products and the positive effect they can have on your utility bills.

AFT: Is it costly running a commercial kitchen?

TT: Energy costs are on the up and this is looking to continue for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately in the commercial kitchen nearly every piece of equipment consumes something whether it is electricity, gas, water or all three and producing food day in day out can mean the bills spiral upwards very quickly.

AFT: Are there any efficiency grading systems to assist in making the best choice when buying kitchen equipment?

TT: Unlike domestic appliances there is currently no efficiency grading system to help guide you although this is currently being reviewed by the EU but could take months if not years to conclude and implement.

In the meantime we are left to decipher manufacturer’s information, some of which is very informative with independent test results and others being vague and misleading and some companies unwilling to supply any data and trying to hide the true consumption figures of their units. However it’s worth persevering, potentially large savings can be had from buying efficient durable equipment.

AFT: In this economic climate it is very easy to be driven by purchase price but time and again we see examples of this costing customers far more in the long run. What should people consider before choosing their appliances?

TT: Efficiency, durability, service support and ‘fit for purpose' should be the key points considered when choosing a new unit only then should price be a factor. What is the point in owning cheap refrigerator that can't keep temperature in a hot kitchen or a mixer that can’t handle the load you need? Your production will be hampered, you run the risk of losing stock and if the machines are being overworked consumption will increase and it is likely you will either damage or shorten the life of the machine.

AFT: Refrigeration is probably one of the most important things in the kitchen, could you give examples of some of the more efficient units?

TT: Refrigeration is one great example, units are in operation 24/7 365 days a year drawing power continuously, they’re crucial for keeping your stock fresh and making sure you are working within the food safety guidelines.

Refrigerators are a key area being targeted by the EU in creating a rating system however we don’t have to wait for this to be implemented to find examples of manufacturers who are already striving to make market leading efficient units now.

Foster is one such example, with the launch of their new G2 range they created what is regarded as one of the most efficient commercial units currently available. To back this claim they have had independent tests undertaken against competitors units and to prove things further they are willing to arrange on site tests where you can monitor your consumption and run real world tests.

Example of the independent test results against some of their biggest competitors showing where significant cost savings can be made. (click image for larger version)

Liebherr is another crucial brand, their refrigeration cabinets are built to typically high German standards and every piece of equipment is thoroughly tested to Germany’s tightly regulated efficiency standards. With every unit they give a clear consumption figure making for easy comparisons, proving they have nothing to hide and everything to prove.

It is refreshing and rare to find a manufacturer willing to make this information available. Not only should this give the end user confidence in the brand but it also makes life far easier for you to do your homework. We are yet to find a manufacturer so open and so efficient.

Also both manufacturers have a large number of their models listed on the ECA Carbon Trust scheme.

AFT: Dishwashers are also vital part of any kitchen and heavy use requires a fair amount of energy consumption. Do you have any recommendations that will help people save money?

TT: Another piece of kitchen equipment that is often forgotten but again can make significant savings is your dishwasher. That work horse that is integral to any successful kitchen but is often forgotten until it has malfunctioned.

Hobart are one of our preferred choices for a number of reasons, however as we’re talking efficiency on this occasion I won’t deviate but keep to the point and will demonstrate where money saving technologies can make a big difference to your pocket.

Hobart created a unique 4-sided hood which is now present across the whole range of their hood dishwashers. This feature alone saves 2kW of electricity per hour. Steam is trapped in the hood when opened instead of escaping in to the void above. This reduces the amount of heat loss in turn reducing the amount of power required to keep the machine at temperature. As an example of what this can mean in direct savings to your running costs:

Energy saving of 2kWh per hour @10p per kWh = £0.20 pence/hr
Typical operation where machine is in use 5 hrs/day, 365 days/year
= a Saving of £365.00 p/year

You also negate the need for a condense canopy above the machine, another significant install cost saving.

On top of this you then have double skinned construction, smaller wash tanks, efficient spray patterns, heat recovery systems, vaporinse technology and more. These features result in dramatic reductions on water, electricity and detergent consumption.

On top of this you have German reliability and longevity which again saves considerable money and inconvenience. Using running cost calculators figures can be calculated against competitors’ machines to demonstrate significant savings. Another manufacturer happy to make their consumption figures readily available.

AFT: These are just brief examples of two components found in a kitchen, do you have any more advice on keeping costs down?

TT: Imagine taking these points into consideration for every piece of equipment you have. You can soon see how even a small kitchen can achieve significant energy savings by giving more thought to their requirements. Cost savings not only on energy but also downtime, servicing and repair bills which can be significant over the life of the machine.

It’s also important to keep in mind that these are not just potential savings to you and your company but also to the environment, all of the consumption savings are also benefitting the environment and helping reduce your carbon footprint.

In turn this could lead to further financial incentives for you, there are a number of grants and tax breaks available to companies seeking to be greener. It is always worth talking with your local authority to see what’s available.

AFT: Earlier, you mentioned the ECA Carbon Trust Scheme, how can it help people?

TT: Central government also offer tax incentives. Take the ECA Carbon Trust Scheme for example. Any refrigerator on the ECA list qualifies for this green tax break which equates to approximately an 11% saving on the purchase price of the unit.

AFT: Is there anything else people should be thinking about when buying their kitchen appliances?

TT: When looking for your next piece of equipment give some serious thought to exactly what you want from that unit and how the equipment can better serve you. You may pay a little more initially but you would be surprised just how quickly you can recoup that difference and make considerable savings over the life of the machine.

For more information about Eco Catering Equipment visit the website: www.eco-catering-equipment.co.uk

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