With so much ‘greenwash’ to contend with, how can operators really make sure they are getting true value for money when sourcing energy efficient catering equipment? In the fifth part of this special FEJ report, we provide a unique breakdown of what operators need to bear in mind when specifically seeking out energy efficient warewashing equipment.
Warewashing can be a significant consumer of energy for the average restaurant, but there is no single magic bullet that can lead to operating more sustainably.
However, employing class-leading machines that are at the vanguard of energy efficiency, training staff on correct usage and safeguarding high performance and operational longevity by putting a sound service plan into effect, are key considerations that will have a marked effect on the green credentials of a site as well as its bottom line.
“Heating water is without doubt the number one use of energy, so it’s important that a machine has compact wash tanks, which result in a very low water usage,” advises Tim Bender, sales director at Hobart Warewashing UK.
“Of course, hot water is imperative for hygienic wash results and at the end of a wash cycle, waste water at 60°C is discharged along with the energy contained within it. A drain heat recovery system fitted to a machine can harness this energy and return it to the dishwasher. Via a heat exchanger, this reduces the energy required for reaching the final rinse temperature by up to 3,630 kWh per year, protecting the environment and saving operating costs of up to £689 per year,” he adds.
It’s important that a machine has compact wash tanks, which result in a very low water usage”
Pre-planning and consideration of workflow is critical when designing a new warewashing area. It is also worth remembering that a dishwasher used for lighter duties may not need to have all the features that a machine being used eight hours a day might have.
“Allied to this, many warewashers are often switched on well before they are used and may sit on standby for long periods in between washes — in the majority of these cases it is more energy efficient to drain the machine down and refill again later in the day,” says Bender. “Put simply, a machine that struggles to cope with volume at peak times, or one that regularly needs to be emptied and refilled, can ultimately cost the operator more in the long run than purchasing a more expensive machine at the outset,” he adds.
If kitchens are going to safeguard a sustainable future, then they must rely on ever smarter machines. Hobart’s undercounter FX, GX and GC machines, for instance, feature a soil sensor, which adjusts the rinse consumption depending on soil levels in the wash tank. The system ensures top quality results while offering customers a potential 30% reduction in operational costs.
“The sheer speed of R&D means that there will soon be machines on the market with ware sensing systems that can detect the exact contents of a machine — be it cutlery, glassware or plates — and adjust the wash accordingly.”
Are there any common warewashing mistakes that operators can avoid to improve the energy efficiency of their kitchens?
“One of the most important tips we can offer is to ensure efficient and correct loading of the baskets and racks. From our experience, many operators only part fill the baskets to 60% or 70% capacity, meaning the machine isn’t being used to its fullest potential and energy is being wasted heating up water for a full load.”
3 key things to take away
- Train staff on the correct operational usage to ensure maximum performance with minimum energy wastage.
- The latest drain heat recovery systems will harness energy and return them to the dishwasher for re-use.
- Consider draining a machine down and refilling in instances where the equipment would otherwise be on standby for long periods of time.