EXPERT’S VIEW: Factors and forces shaping energy efficient kitchens

Energy labelling

The issue of sustainability now touches every aspect of the foodservice sector, with legislative, technological and cultural changes impacting the way kitchens are designed and equipped. One organisation with its finger on the pulse of all things green is CESA, the trade body representing more than 190 of the UK’s top suppliers. Director
Keith Warren brings us up to speed with the key issues impacting energy efficiency.

Commercial refrigeration

The increase in allowable charge of hydrocarbon in commercial refrigeration is surely one of the most significant developments in foodservice sustainability in the past 12 months.

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As a result of the recent IEC vote, manufacturers can now offer refrigeration models using A3 refrigerant charges of up to 500g (previously it was 150g). For A2L refrigerants the charge was increased to 1.2kg.

The change will allow manufacturers to develop more energy efficient products, particularly in ice machines and display units such as grab-and-go merchandisers. Improved efficiencies will impact favourably on the running costs of the models.

Sustainable procurement

Operators have got to start taking a holistic view when it comes to equipment procurement. We need joined-up thinking to link capital cost, functionality and running costs.

At least two thirds of the lifetime cost of most appliances is their energy use — so buying more energy efficient equipment will save money, both in the medium and long term. Plus, it is better for the planet.

Keith Warren says CESA has produced a number of guides around sustainability.

The fact is, with the exception of those refrigeration categories covered by the Energy Labelling Directive, it’s almost impossible to compare the energy efficiency of different manufacturers’ models. What you can do, however, is compare the energy efficiency of different models within a single manufacturer’s range. Once you have settled on a brand, it’s common sense to ensure you’re purchasing their most energy efficient technology.

CESA is working with consultants to investigate the possibility of establishing a framework where the energy efficiency of different manufacturers’ models can be compared. Meanwhile, caterers can use the Carbon Trust’s ‘Cut Cost and Carbon Calculator for Catering’ (, which can indicate the energy efficiency, carbon footprint and running costs of appliances.

Spare parts

Wherever possible, make sure your service support is using manufacturers’ own brand spare parts (OEM) rather than generic versions. This is a sustainability issue since any discrepancy in a generic component’s design could have a very serious impact on efficiency and, potentially, operational safety. In addition, manufacturers change the components they use all the time, to improve efficiency and functionality, so you need to know that you are getting the right component for your version of the appliance.

Getting to grips with the ‘too difficult’ list

Sustainability can seem like an overwhelming issue — how can an individual kitchen effect change? It’s easy to say ‘too difficult’ and forget it. The answer is, take responsibility for the things you CAN change. Evaluate options and do something about it. Train staff in best practice in terms of sustainability. For example, food waste is a major issue and, increasingly, a potential revenue source. However, if food waste is contaminated it just becomes landfill. So make sure staff understand how to handle and process it.

At least two thirds of the lifetime cost of most appliances is their energy use.


In terms of future development, connectivity has the potential to make equipment more sustainable, since service providers can monitor it online at any time. They can ensure not only that it is always working at optimum efficiency, but also that if there are any equipment issues, such as a failing component, they can be dealt with before they cause damage, maximising the life of the appliance.

CESA and sustainability

Sustainability has always been a ‘Big Issue’ for CESA. We have taken a lead in areas such as energy, water, food waste and FOG management. Our white paper on the Circular Economy states the foodservice equipment industry’s stance on sustainability.

As part of EFCEM, we were involved in the White Paper on Climate Change (a European strategy for energy efficient commercial kitchens). We have recently published a Guide to Reducing Food Waste in Foodservice. This is available to download via the ‘information’ tab on

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Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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