The ENERGY STAR Current Blog – Una Song's Food Service Post
For those of you who have not met Una Song, Una is ENERGY STAR's Program Manager for Commercial Food Service (CFS) at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Una recently contributed to EPA's new blog, The ENERGY STAR Current. In the blog, Una shared insights from her time managing a restaurant in New York City prior to her transition to private-sector sales and marketing positions, all leading to her current leadership role at EPA.
The blog offers useful facts that ENERGY STAR partners and stakeholders should be aware of. For example:
— According to trends reported in the National Restaurant Association's 2012 Restaurant Industry Forecast, over 40 percent of adults say they are likely to make a restaurant choice based on an operation's conservation practices. Additionally, more than half of adults said they are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers food that was grown or raised in an organic or environmentally friendly way.
— According to research done by the U.S. Department of Energy and the California Energy Commission, restaurants and commercial kitchens are one of the highest energy consumers among building types, using approximately 350,000 BTU per square foot, which is roughly 5 to 7 times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings, such as office buildings and retail stores.
To view Una's full "ENERGY STAR Is Haute Cuisine" blog post from August, or to sign up for continued blog updates, visit http://blog.epa.gov/energystar.
Prior to her position at EPA, Una had a diverse and rewarding career path, having worked in management positions in the sales and marketing departments of such dynamic Fortune 500 companies as Dell, AT&T, and IBM and then working in communications for the National Association of Energy Service Companies (NAESCO). A cum laude graduate of Duke University with a degree in computer science, Una also earned a Masters of Business Administration in finance from the Stern School of Business at New York University and is a LEED Accredited Professional.
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From Best Practice to Standard Practice: Saving Energy with Good Maintenance
Guest contributor: Richard Young, Director of Education at Pacific Gas & Electric Company's (PG&E's) Food Service Technology Center (FSTC)
The Food Service Technology Center (FSTC) recently celebrated its 25th anniversary with a day-long symposium that focused on the "Kitchen of the Future." The first speaker on the program was the FSTC's lead site audit engineer, Todd Bell, whose message was "There is way too much waste! Operators are in the habit of walking by glaring maintenance problems and inappropriate use of equipment without thinking about how that affects their bottom line, the performance of their kitchen, or the environment."
The challenge is that good maintenance, and energy efficiency in general, is often treated as something special or optional, like flossing, instead of something that is just accepted everyday practice, like brushing your teeth. The goal of the FSTC is to move energy-efficient actions like maintenance from "best practice" to standard practice.
To help operators get started, here are five must-do maintenance practices that should never be overlooked:
1. Fix Water Leaks: The combined costs of water and sewer have been rising faster than the rate of inflation for at least a decade. Water is an increasingly expensive commodity that you cannot afford to throw away. Water leaks at sinks, dishmachines, mop stations, toilets, and on irrigation systems are a 24 hour-a-day, 7 day-a-week waste of money. All those drips can add up to thousands of dollars of lost profit a year. The good news is that most leaks are easy to fix. So don't ignore that dripping faucet – fix it and save.
2. Clean Refrigeration Coils: Refrigeration is the process of removing heat from inside a box. That heat is absorbed by the "evaporator" coils inside the box and released by the "condenser" coils outside the box. If the coils are dirty, the heat does not move through the system like it is supposed to and the refrigerator has to use more energy to get the same job done. Really dirty coils can double the cost of operation and really strain the compressor. Cleaning once or twice a year is NOT enough. Quarterly is typically the minimum, and if you have a more grease intense operation, like a burger restaurant, monthly is more likely the ideal schedule. You will save money on energy and cut your chances of an expensive service call.
3. Replace Missing Knobs on Appliances: Cooking appliances are energy intensive. They should not be left on when they are not needed. An appliance that is running but not cooking food is not making any money. It is draining profits. But how can the staff turn off those range burners, or the broiler, or sections of the griddle if all the knobs are missing? Using a pair of pliers to operate your equipment is not an elegant way to manage your energy costs. Replace those missing knobs and then implement an equipment start-up and shut-down schedule to more effectively (and profitably) use energy.
4. Properly Set the Temperature on Water Heaters: Making hot water can be one of the biggest energy costs in the kitchen. Making more hot water than you need just adds to that cost (and reduces take-home pay). The FSTC crew routinely finds water heaters running anywhere from 10 to 40 degrees higher than necessary. Set the water heater so that it complies with local health codes and then check it on a regular basis to make sure it stays there. Be sure to also replace missing insulation on hot water lines. These two actions are cheap-and-easy energy savers that should never be ignored.
5. Make Sure Cooking Appliances Sit All the Way Under the Exhaust Hood: All the cooking appliances on a line need to sit all the way under the exhaust hood. That may seem obvious, but the FSTC surveyors routinely find appliances that have migrated outside the exhaust hood for one reason or another. A hot appliance that is not properly ventilated is a health and safety hazard, and all the heat that doesn't get captured by the exhaust hood will end up in the already hot kitchen – making it that much more expensive to cool. Also, be sure to turn off those exhaust hoods at the end of the work day after all the appliances have been turned off.
These are just a few simple maintenance items - there are many. The FSTC site audit team has a favorite slogan: "If it looks wasteful, it is!" Keep that idea in mind and you will be more profitable while walking a little more gently on the environment.
For additional tips and resources from the Food Service Technology Center, visit: www.fishnick.com. For additional tips on saving in commercial kitchens, review the ENERGY STAR training presentation modules at www.energystar.gov/training/cfs.
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Product Development Update
EPA is currently working with industry stakeholders to revise product specifications. Detailed updates are provided below and more information can be found on the ENERGY STAR Product Development website at: www.energystar.gov/revisedspecs.
Commercial Refrigerators and Freezers
This month, EPA plans to launch the revision to the Version 2.0 Commercial Refrigerator and Freezer specification. The focus of the revision is to align the ENERGY STAR specification with the Department of Energy's (DOE) Test Procedures for commercial refrigeration equipment and to re-evaluate the current Version 2.0 specification efficiency levels. Over the year ahead, EPA will work with DOE and stakeholders to develop the Version 3.0 specification. EPA will request feedback and comments on the proposed changes and encourages active stakeholder participation.
EPA continues to develop the Version 2.0 ENERGY STAR specification for Commercial Ovens. EPA released a Draft 2 Version 2.0 specification in July 2012 and released the Draft 3 Version 2.0 specification earlier this month which included supplemental analysis to support the proposed convection oven efficiency levels. EPA plans to finalize the Version 2.0 specification by December 2012. Combination ovens will be immediately eligible for qualification once the final specification is published.
Commercial Ice Makers & Commercial Dishwashers
The Version 2.0 Automatic Commercial Ice Makers specification was finalized on May 4, 2012 and the Version 2.0 Commercial Dishwashers specification was finalized on June 25, 2012. Both have an effective date of February 1, 2013, yet manufacturers may currently certify flake and nugget machines models to the new Version 2.0 Commercial Ice Makers specification. Similarly, manufacturers may currently certify flight type conveyor machines to the new Version 2.0 Commercial Dishwashers specification.
Starting October 1, 2012, manufacturers are no longer able to certify new products to the levels set forth in the Version 1.1 specification for ice makers or Version 1.2 specification for dishwashers.
Stakeholder questions can be directed to Christopher Kent, EPA, at (202) 343-9046 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Rebecca Duff, ICF International, at (434) 202-7875 or email@example.com.
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Updated Incentive Guide: Find Food Service Equipment Rebates!
On October 4, 2012, EPA released the October 2012 ENERGY STAR CFS Incentive Guide. The CFS Incentive Guide is an Excel document that provides a description of various CFS incentives offered by energy efficiency program sponsors across the U.S. The guide is designed to help increase collaboration between program sponsors and CFS distributors, retailers, and manufacturers who wish to promote energy efficiency in the commercial kitchen industry.
This year, EPA was able to highlight more than 70 different utilities across more than 40 states. This guide includes the eight ENERGY STAR product categories, as well as a broader set of commercial kitchen equipment and components offered by some utilities.
2012 ENERGY STAR CFS Incentive Guide
Along with this Excel document, EPA offers a corresponding CFS Incentive Finder, which is a zip code search tool that includes rebates for the ENERGY STAR product categories. To locate either of these tools, visit the CFS Buying Guidance tab at www.energystar.gov/cfs/incentives.
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Update for Energy Efficiency Program Sponsors
On September 12, 2012, EPA hosted a webinar to provide ENERGY STAR's Energy Efficiency Program Sponsor (EEPS) partners with an update on the ENERGY STAR CFS program and to share ideas on what makes a successful CFS incentive program. To help EEPS develop or enhance their incentive programs promoting certified CFS equipment, the webinar covered an overview of the energy intensity of commercial kitchens, descriptions of the eligible ENERGY STAR certified CFS equipment categories and savings opportunities (annual and lifetime), food service industry market barriers, program strategies, key program elements, and successful incentive and outreach strategies.
Questions about this webinar can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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500Gallons.com, a Growing Web Application for Restaurant Sustainability
A newly launched web application called 500Gallons (www.500gallons.com) was established to help restaurants better understand the opportunities for increased sustainability in their operations, including tips that focus on energy- and water-efficiency. Tips for ENERGY STAR certified equipment options are also integrated into the application. The 500Gallons team developed this application to answer one question – "How can we make it easy for small businesses, like restaurants, to go green?"
500Gallons is a user-friendly application that allows restaurant owners or consultants to create, track, and market sustainable operations using a knowledge-base of specific actions for restaurants. Restaurants can customize the extensive database of actions to provide a tailored list of tasks to consider undertaking – all based on specifics such as location, capacity, and utility costs.
According to the founder, Amber Sharma, "Restaurants today want to be green for a variety of reasons ranging from increased cost savings and increased equipment efficiency, to boosting restaurant traffic. Yet, they are often hampered by lack of knowledge, an inability to invest a lot of time and money or a lack of a prescriptive method to go green. This is where 500 Gallons comes to their rescue."
The 500Gallons application allows restaurants to track progress and then market their sustainability efforts using social-media. It includes tools such as return on investment (ROI) calculators to estimate returns on initial investments, payback time, or energy and water saved. There are ROI calculators for many of the kitchen appliances and other operations listed in the application that users can take advantage of. Another beneficial feature of the application is the ability to schedule and track equipment maintenance. Once parameters are set, the 500Gallons maintenance module sends reminders and tracks maintenance of equipment.
As a restaurant owner, you can utilize 500gallons to create a sustainability marketing page and promote your establishment's sustainability goals. This web application is available without any subscription or other fees associated. To learn more about how this tool could benefit your operations, visit: http://web.500gallons.com/why500.htm.
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Product Spotlight: Fryers
Commercial fryers are energy-intensive and can be found in most commercial kitchens. The typical deep fat fryer uses more electricity each year than the average U.S. household! More specifically, the typical electric deep fat fryer uses 18,000 kWh per year, while the average U.S. home uses 13,000 kWh per year. ENERGY STAR certified commercial fryers are approximately 30 percent more efficient than standard models. This means that an ENERGY STAR qualified electric fryer model could save your company approximately $100 annually and a gas model could save $450 annually. Over the course of the product lifetime, approximately 12 years, your ENERGY STAR certified gas or electric fryer could even save $1,100 and $4,500 respectively.
Qualified models feature high-quality components such as advanced gas heat exchanger designs and advanced electrical heat transfer technologies that not only reduce energy consumption but also provide additional product benefits. For example, ENERGY STAR certified models may offer quicker recovery processes, continuous production, and higher pound-per-hour production rates. Qualified models may also offer improved oil conservation and management and extended product lifetimes.
The ENERGY STAR Commercial Fryer specification covers gas and electric open deep-fat fryers, including standard frypot sizes, ≥ 12 inches and < 18 inches wide, and large vat fryers, between18 to 24 inches wide. Countertop and floor type models are eligible for the ENERGY STAR. The ENERGY STAR program does not currently cover closed vat fryers or fryers with vats measuring < 12 inches wide or > 24 inches wide. To view more product information and the savings potential for commercial fryers, view the CFS segment of ENERGY STAR Training Center at www.energystar.gov/training/cfs.
The current ENERGY STAR commercial fryer qualified product list and list of ENERGY STAR manufacturer partners can be viewed at www.energystar.gov/cfs. The list of food service equipment dealers that have partnered with the ENERGY STAR program and have committed to stock ENERGY STAR certified commercial food service products can be found at www.energystar.gov/cfs/wheretobuy.
EPA is interested in hearing from operators that specify ENERGY STAR qualified commercial fryers for their restaurant purchasing decisions. EPA welcomes operators to contact Natalie Chadwick at email@example.com to share the benefits of the equipment and how this decision has improved your kitchen's energy efficiency.
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Hobart's Sixth Annual Sustainability Project Grant
The Hobart Center for Foodservice Sustainability (HCFS) is now accepting applications for its annual $5,000 grant that honors the best-executed food service sustainability project of the year. Now in its sixth year, the HCFS grant is designed to promote leadership in sustainability best-practices.
Many different types of organizations may apply, including those from corporate dining, K-12 education and higher education, healthcare, lodging and casinos, and restaurant sectors. Applicants can enter by submitting a case study demonstrating how their program addresses sustainability challenges such as reducing energy and water use, decreasing wastewater or solid waste, or implementing Farm-to-Fork programs or other combined programs. Hobart encourages applicants to provide descriptions of specific foodservice equipment used to achieve sustainability goals, including ENERGY STAR qualified equipment.
The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2013 and the HCFS grant recipient will be announced at the 2013 National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show in Chicago, IL (May 18-21, 2013). For more information, visit www.sustainablefoodequipment.com or www.hcfsforum.com.
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Look for the next Commercial Food Service Newsletter in January!