Squeezing the juice
When it comes to directly affecting the bottom line, nothing hits operators harder than the cost of energy. These ideas can help you manage and use your equipment energy more wisely.
If you’re buying new equipment, a good starting place for finding energy-efficient appliances is www.energystar.gov—a site from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. Here you’ll see all the commercial dishwashers, fryers, griddles/ovens, holding cabinets, refrigerators/freezers and steamers that have earned the EnergyStar rating. The site also gives approximate annual savings for using EnergyStar-rated products as compared with non-rated products.
Manufacturers, too, are making energy-efficient products easier to locate with their own designations. Manitowoc’s “EnerLogic” symbol denotes products that meet or exceed EnergyStar ratings or energy-saving criteria as outlined by the Federal Energy Management Program. Many of the models in Manitowoc’s Delfield line of reach-in cabinets, for example, carry the “EnerLogic” logo. Electrolux uses a “Green Spirit” notation on products that save energy, water or detergent or have low CO2 emissions. Its new air-o-convect convection oven gets two “Green Spirit” marks for saving energy and generating lower CO2 emissions.
Nothing’s more frustrating—or costly—than coming into your operation in the morning and finding that your air conditioning has been left on or your water has been running overnight. That’s where energy management systems can come in handy, helping you keep an eye on your overall energy usage and making adjustments to fit your needs. Previously designed only for larger operations, there are now energy management systems for every size business.
Advanced Telemetry’s EcoView Commercial system is designed especially for small-sized operations. Through a combination of onsite hardware, remote software and real-time monitoring, your HVAC system can be used to peak efficiency, and only used when necessary. Equity Thru Energy’s “smart” controls can provide constant monitoring of HVAC and hot water systems through wireless remotes. Any variance or malfunction reports on the systems are immediately sent to the manager via email, text or telephone. The Spring Air TruFlow energy management system works in conjunction with your exhaust system. As appliance heat fluctuates throughout the day, the system adjusts the exhaust fan speeds as necessary. TruFlow is compatible with building automation systems and also sends alarms via email or the Internet.
LED-ing the way
Lights—particularly lights that are on for most or all of the operating day—are one of the biggest energy consumers in any operation. Nowadays, however, economical LEDs (light-emitting diodes) are replacing conventional fluorescent or incandescent bulbs. Technically, they’re not really “lights” but semi-conductors that turn electricity into light. Their advantages are obvious: longer life, reduced maintenance and lower replacement costs.
Although LEDs are still an emerging technology, they’re quickly working their way into foodservice. Master-Bilt is offering LED illumination in several of its glass-door merchandising cabinets. The company claims the LEDs will last up to 100,000 hours—up to 10 times the life of fluorescents and 100 times the life of incandescents. WAC Lighting offers a more “artistic” use of LEDs in its Invisiled series of LED tape products for accent lighting and backlighting. Using only 1.5 watts of power per foot, the tapes have red, green and blue diodes to allow for user-
controlled color changing.