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greening your lodging - kitchen

Money Saving Tips - Kitchen
Reprinted with permission from

  • Install humidity control panels in coolers. Dry space takes less energy to cool.

  • Clean your refrigerator condenser coils at least every three months. Implement a preventive maintenance program to ensure the cleaning takes place. As much as 25 percent more energy is required to maintain the proper temperature if dust and dirt are allowed to accumulate.

  • Ensure refrigerator and freezer units are operating at the appropriate temperature. Cooling to unnecessary levels simply increases energy use and costs.

  • Check to make sure bar refrigerator seals are in good condition and leave enough space around them for good ventilation.

  • Check oven and steamer seals.

  • Minimize the use of inefficient glass-fronted refrigerators that also require lighting.

  • Purchase appliances rated efficient by the U.S. government’s Energy Star program.

  • Keep your refrigerators away from all heat sources including direct sunlight. Also keep non-insulated walls from facing the sun.

  • If you are in the market for a new dishwasher, look for energy-saving features such as a short wash cycle. Shorter washing cycles, with fewer rinses, save both water and electricity.

  • Plan food service needs carefully to avoid unnecessary waste.

  • Donate excess food to charitable organizations.

  • Check if there is a local organic waste recycler in your area.

  • Purchase condiments and other non-perishables in bulk to reduce packaging and waste.

  • Educate staff. Review portion sizes, proper specifications and procedures for handling, storing and serving food.

  • Defrost freezers frequently. Frost buildup reduces efficiency. Choose models with probes that detect ice buildup on the evaporator coil.

  • Clean interior oven walls and elements to improve heat transfer, and regularly clean grease and food particles from exhaust hoods.

  • Turn off door heaters on reach-in refrigeration. Door heaters typically run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but should only be used if condensation appears around doors. Look carefully to find the switch.

  • Strip curtains or plastic doors on walk-in refrigeration can significantly reduce compressor run time by reducing infiltration of warm, moist air, which saves money.

  • Preheat broilers, fryers, grills, ranges and other cooking equipment 10 to 15 minutes maximum.

  • Use steam cooking. It uses 30 percent less energy.

  • Run dishwashers at full load only. Pre-scrape dirty dishes.

  • Check and clean the door seal and gaskets regularly. Gaskets should remain somewhat soft and pliable. This ensures a tight seal and reduces the amount of air loss or heat gain.

  • Sort dish loads by degree of soil before washing. Dishes with less soil can be washed on a shorter wash cycle than those with more soil.

  • Turn on ovens, stoves, deep fryers and other equipment only when needed. Purchase equipment that includes precise temperature controls and that heats up quickly.

  • Clean griddle surfaces, microwaves, heating elements and deep fryers daily to ensure optimal performance and efficiency.

  • Install plastic air curtains at the doorway of walk-in refrigerators and freezers to prevent cool air loss.

  • Pre-rinse dishes before placing in dishwasher. It will allow the dishwasher to be set on a shorter cycle.

  • Install foot pedals below kitchen sinks to control water usage.

  • Clean kitchen floors with a mop and bucket instead of hose.

  • Use a dishwashing system that incorporates a water reuse option.

  • Set the temperature on the dishwashing machines to minimum allowed by health codes.

  • Use leftover water from glasses or pitchers in the restaurant to water plants or mop the kitchen floor.

  • Store products properly to allow air flow. Some products contain acids that can damage components. Clean spills immediately with a mild soap and hot water to protect the interior liner.

  • Set freezer temperature at zero to minus 5 instead of minus 10 or minus 20 because most frozen food only requires a temperature of zero. Ice cream storage requires minus 10.

  • Cleaning equipment can make it operate more efficiently and extend its life. For example, sediment in the bottom of a fryer can reduce its efficiency, and debris at the bottom of an oven can prevent the door from sealing well.

  • Exhaust hood style impacts energy use because it affects the design exhaust rate. The proximity-style (backshelf) hood requires the least exhaust air and is therefore the most efficient, followed by the wall-mounted canopy hood and single-island canopy hood. Also be sure to use intelligent, variable-speed hood controller systems.

  • Install evaporative fan controllers in walk-in coolers or freezers. These can save 10 to 60 percent of overall refrigeration energy.

  • Use low-flow sprayers for prewashing. Payback on these can be less than two months.

  • Buy locally grown, organic foods. Buy produce that is in season. Purchase Fair Trade Certified coffee.

  • Hot food holding cabinets that have earned the Energy Star are 60 percent more energy efficient than standard models. Fryers that have earned the Energy Star are up to 25 percent more energy efficient than standard models.

  • Steam cookers with the Energy Star offer shorter cook times, higher production rate and reduced heat loss due to better insulation and more efficient steam delivery.

  • Incorporate reverse cycle techology into your refrigeration system. The process uses less energy than electric defrost heaters, resulting in an 80 percent reduction in defrost energy usage.

  • Select ice machines that self-monitor performance to ensure maximum energy efficiency.

  • Use food waste disposers to reduce the volume of food waste. Don't run water needlessly when using disposers.

  • Use ozone instead of chemicals to sanitize and disinfect hands, foods and food prep surfaces.

Reprinted with permission from

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