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Richard Young, Food Service Technology Center Fisher Nickel, Inc.

Richard Young, Food Service Technology Center Fisher Nickel, Inc.

The Foodservice Technology Center is funded by California utility customers and administered by Pacific Gas and Electric Company under the auspices of the California Public Utility Commission. Operated by Fisher- Nickel, Inc, FTSC is the industry leader in commercial kitchen energy efficiency and appliance performance testing.

“Small things really add up — leaky sink faucets, hoses, filler connections should be addressed, especially if they carry hot water. Train staff so they don't let water run in sinks while doing something else. Use procedure signage in areas where reminders are necessary.”

Get a valve job. “The savings are so dramatic you'd have thought all high flow pre-rinse spray valves would be replaced by now, but they're not. At one hour of use per day, natural gas at $1.20/therm and water at $5 per unit, you'll save $73 a month. The valve costs about $60.”

Operate equipment properly. “Combi ovens are a good example. They are great, but as you add water to anything hot, you have to add more energy. In Europe the approach is commonly to add a little moisture and use dry heat for the rest. In the U.S. they often run full blast in combi mode. There's a case study on this at:

Replacement vs. retrofit. “It is often not cost effective to replace a working piece of equipment based on energy efficiency alone because of the labor involved. It is in retrofit and new construction that the opportunities lie.

“You want to educate administrations carefully so these kinds of investments don't get value-engineered out. We are often frustrated by calls that begin, ‘We just opened a new facility and the energy and water costs are running higher than expected. Can you help us?’ The time to think about that is before the specifications are established.”

We need more and better standards. “How do you accurately compare equipment for efficiency? It can be difficult. You can go to a car lot and see an mpg sticker, but you can't find comparable ratings at the NRA show for kitchen equipment.

“There are a half dozen foodservice equipment categories in the Energy Star program. Many people believe that as technology has advanced, some of the Energy Star standards have become too easy and need to be tightened. On the other hand, it's a program that has moved the industry forward. We would like to see more categories included, and for the program to move its bar up to the next rung.”

Know what utility rebates are rewarding. “In every state outside of California, utility rebates have been established to support the marketing and other business goals of the utility. These goals include many objectives besides energy efficiency.

“California rebate programs are different — they are based only on energy savings. That is why the California rebate list is used by many other states and consultants looking for good specifications. Because Energy Star equipment is the minimum requirement in California, it often takes more efficient equipment to qualify for California's rebates.”

“The most practical heat recovery we see is from flue gas, which doesn't have the grease content of oven exhaust air. If you have a significant hot water load, you have an immediate use for preheating and can evaluate if it will pay out.”

“Kitchen ventilation is absolutely an area where there can be huge improvements. Get a UL-listed hood so you can run it at a lower rate, then optimize that. On large hoods, put on side or quarter panels to reduce the perimeter of the hood. This increases the pressure across the front and forces more air through there. We have a hood design guide on our web site.

“Manufacturers will do this for you for a few extra dollars if an educated end user requests it. Follow these specs all the way through installation. Since it can be a bit out of the ordinary, the changes sometimes get ‘lost’ along the way.”

TAGS: Operations
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