Kitchen equipment: Better for you - and the planet

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SOMETIMES IT takes a blow to the wallet to remind us to do the right thing, and there's little doubt that rising energy costs and the increasing...

SOMETIMES IT takes a blow to the wallet to remind us to do the right thing, and there's little doubt that rising energy costs and the increasing financial pressure on pub operators to comply with environmental standards have helped to focus attention on the issues.

So much so, in fact, that David Smithson, CEO of warewashing specialists Winterhalter UK, says: "I can't recall a meeting over the last year where I haven't been asked what we can do to help reduce energy, water and chemicals consumption and, ultimately, cut costs."

While there's no shortage of operators offering a varied range of energy saving and 'green' solutions, Winterhalter believes its joined-up approach to the issue puts it ahead of the game.The company has brought together the work of various teams of white-coated boffins to launch a range of resource-saving technologies under the umbrella name of IRT - which stands, as if you needed to ask, for intelligent resource technology.

David says: "IRT isn't the result of a single 'eureka' moment - rather, it is a series of developments, initiatives and events. Singly each of them is highly significant. Collectively, we believe they are momentous." Various IRT technologies have been developed for all Winterhalter machines, from compact front loaders through pass-throughs to the high volume rack and flight conveyor systems.

They include:

  • A new rinse system developed for Winterhalter's front loader and pass-through machines uses a new design of water jet that delivers improved rinse results yet uses up to 25 per cent less water. Less water means energy and chemical consumption is reduced, too.
  • A new glasswashing system called ReTemp, which allows users to wash glasses at only 40C, instead of the standard 60 or 65C that traditional glasswashers require. Alongside these, Winterhalter has developed detergent and rinse aid designed for use at 40C. The ReTemp machine delivers cooler glasses, so they can be used straight after washing
  • Energy is an air-to-water heat exchanger that takes the waste steam from a pass through dishwasher and uses it to heat the incoming fresh water. A more sophisticated system, Energy+, adds a water-to-water heat exchanger to the system. As well as recycling heat from the waste steam, it takes heat from the waste water and uses it to heat the incoming fresh water
  • The MT Series of high volume rack and flight conveyor machines has a new drying zone that usesless energy and delivers better drying results. Air is drawn in from outside the machine, warmed gently and then used to dry the washed items. Because the fresh air is less humid, drying is significantly improved.

Taking into account the energy cost of kitchen equipment has been a key buying decision for managed pub chains for some time, but the issue is now increasingly on the radar for independent pub operators as well. German combi-oven manufacturer Eloma recognised that energy prices would become an operational cost factor several years ago, and has developed a range of energy efficient gas-powered ovens.

Eloma marketing manager Barry Hill says while performance, ease of operation and reliability are the top criteria in buying a combi, energy cost is rising fast as a consideration. "Any pub with a busy food operation should have a combi-oven already, but when the times comes for renewal asking about the energy efficiency of the oven is crucial to running costs of the kitchen."

No matter which combi-ovens are on the buying shortlist for their performance, energy cost has to go into the buying equation."While most gas combis randomly mix gas with air before combustion, the Eloma models control the mixture of gases to give maximum burner efficiency. This system delivers energy efficiency of up to 85 per cent.

A further energy saving comes from doing away with an in-built boiler for generating the steam which aids cooking. With a steam boiler, the whole tank has to be heated, even if just a small amount of steam is needed. The Eloma ovens only draw as much water as is needed.One model, the Eloma Genius, recycles that waste heat through a heat exchanger which heats incoming cold water to as high as 85C.

Demonstrating just how fast technology is moving, refrigeration specialist Foster Refrigerator has updated its PRO G 600 model to make it 40 per cent more energy efficient than it was three years ago, when it was launched.

Foster was the first refrigeration company to be listed on the ECA Scheme with the PRO G 600 cabinet. Under the scheme, products conforming to requirements on energy efficiency, performance and capacity can be registered and appear on what is known as the Energy Technology List. 

Equipment purchase from the list attracts 100 per cent tax relief on the investment in the first year.  Foster now has more than 20 commercial service cabinets listed on the scheme.

John Savage, director at Foster Refrigerator, says: "Choosing refrigeration from the list can be an enormous benefit for a business as the tax saving is made up front in the first year. This delivers a significant cash flow boost over and above the long term savings on energy costs that will result from purchasing one of these products."

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