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Commercial Kitchens –
Cooking Equipment

Introduction

The Canadian foodservice industry represents 4% of Canada's gross domestic product, and consumes over 2.1 PJ annually for food preparation and sanitation in foodservice establishments alone.1 There are approximately 63,000 restaurants in Canada leading to annual sales in the foodservice equipment market of approximately $124 million as of 2004.2

Commercial kitchens are found in many facilities in addition to restaurants, including bars, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, churches, and institutional cafeterias. Today's commercial kitchen employs various appliances for cooking and cleaning. Each of these appliances must be constructed of heavy-duty materials and be able to withstand repeated use. Because these appliances are used so frequently, significant energy and water savings exists through the utilization of high-efficiency products.

Due to the existence of technologies that offer significant energy and/or water savings, advocacy groups and regulators alike have identified several commercial kitchen appliances that lend themselves to energy or water use standards. While there are currently no federal or provincial regulations on energy efficiency in commercial dishwashers, pre-rinse spray valves, or commercial cooking equipment in Canada, ENERGY STAR® prescribes voluntary energy efficiency standards for commercial fryers, commercial hot food holding cabinets, and commercial steam cookers. ENERGY STAR is also looking into adding specifications for commercial dishwashers. Additionally, a potential ENERGY STAR specification for commercial pre-rinse spray valves has been cancelled due to the product's inclusion in the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT 2005). EPACT 2005 prescribes a flow rate standard of 6.1 litres per minute (Lpm) or 1.6 gallons per minute (gpm) for this product.

The following sections describe the typical energy or water use, and potential energy and/or water saving technologies for commercial fryers, commercial hot food holding cabinets, and commercial steam cookers.

Commercial Ovens

Commercial convection ovens are the most widely used appliances in the foodservice industry. These are the workhorses of the commercial kitchen, with a wide variety of uses from baking and roasting to warming and reheating. In addition to traditional uses, convection ovens are used for nearly all types of food preparation, including foods typically prepared using other types of appliances (e.g., griddles, fryers, etc.). Commercial ovens that have earned the ENERGY STAR mark are about 20 percent more energy efficient than standard models.

Electric - both full- and half-size, and gas convection ovens can earn the ENERGY STAR mark by meeting minimum cooking energy efficiency, as well as a maximum idle energy rates. Cooking energy efficiency represents the amount of energy absorbed by the food product compared to the total energy used by the oven during the cooking process. The idle energy rate represents the energy used by the oven while it is maintaining or holding at a stabilized operating condition or temperature.

Standard gas convection ovens have a 30 percent cooking energy efficiency and an idle energy rate of 18,000 Btu/h, whereas ENERGY STAR qualified gas convection ovens must meet the specification requirements of 44 percent cooking energy efficiency and idle energy rate of 13,000 Btu/h. Standard electric convection ovens have a 65 percent cooking energy efficiency and an idle energy rate of 2 kW; whereas ENERGY STAR qualified electric convection ovens must meet the specification requirements of 70 percent cooking energy efficiency and an idle energy rate of 1.6 kW.

Ovens designed for residential and laboratory applications are not eligible.

List of models: Ovens

Technical specifications for commercial ovens

Commercial Fryers

Commercial fryers are commercial kitchen appliances that use oil to deep fry food. Fryers are comprised of a stainless steel outer encasing, an insulated steel frypot, and stainless steel food baskets. The frypot is large enough to contain a sufficient amount of oil so that the food is supported by displacement of the oil rather than by resting on the bottom of the vessel.

Commercial Fryer

Source: Anets Golden Fry Series
www.abestkitchen.com

The frypot is typically designed as an "open pot," allowing for easy maintenance and cleanability. These do not have a sealed lid and operate at atmospheric pressure. Less common are pressure fryers, which contain a heavy, gasketed lid and pressure valve to cook foods under pressure with less moisture loss and oil uptake. Fryers have precise thermostats to maintain oil temperature and ensure uniform cooking, and may also incorporate built-in filters to extend oil life and automatic lifts for the baskets. Capacities can range from about 7 kg (15 lb) of oil for a small countertop unit to over 90 kg (200 lb) for large freestanding floor units.3

Commercial fryers can be either gas-powered or electric-powered. Gas fryers capitalize on heat transfer from infrared or atmospheric gas burners through either the walls of the fryer or through tubes passing through the cooking fluid, while electric fryers use an immersed electric element or band-wrapped vessel to heat the cooking oil. Most foods can be fried at 163°C (325°F) to 178°C (350°F). Energy input rates during operation range from 30,000 to 260,000 Btu/h for gas fryers and 2 - 27 kW for electric fryers. ENERGY STAR qualified units meet a minimum cooking efficiency of 50 percent (gas) and 80 percent (electric) while also meeting a maximum idle energy rate of 9,000 Btu/h (gas) and 1 kW (electric).

Technologies that can improve the energy efficiency of commercial fryers include: advanced burner/element and heat exchanger designs and increased insulation levels. Induction heating and advanced controls can also be implemented for electric fryers to improve efficiency. Higher efficiencies lead to shorter cook times and higher production rates in addition to energy cost savings. The life expectancy of a commercial fryer is typically 8 years.4

Guide for purchasing and using ENERGY STAR qualfied commercial fryers

Technical specifications for ENERGY STAR qualified commercial fryers

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Commercial Griddles

With increases in electric and gas rates, more kitchen operators are becoming aware that griddles with higher energy efficiency also deliver higher cooking performance and capacity. Commercial griddles that have earned the ENERGY STAR mark are about 10 percent more energy efficient than standard models.

ENERGY STAR qualified griddles include thermostatically controlled, gas and electric, single- and double-sided models.

To earn the ENERGY STAR mark, griddles must meet minimum cooking energy efficiency, as well as a maximum idle energy rates. Cooking energy efficiency represents the amount of energy absorbed by the food product compared to the total energy used by the griddle during the cooking process. Idle energy rate represents the energy used by the griddle while it is maintaining or holding at a stabilized operating condition or temperature.

Griddles that earn the ENERGY STAR must meet a minimum cooking efficiency of 70 percent (electric) and 38 percent (gas) while also meeting maximum idle energy rates. For comparison, standard gas griddles on average have a 32 percent cooking energy efficiency and use 297 Btu/h/m² (3,200 Btu/h/ft² ) normalized idle energy rate, whereas ENERGY STAR qualified griddles must meet at least a 38 percent cooking energy efficiency and have a normalized idle energy rate of 242 Btu/h/m² (2,600 Btu/h/ft²).

Manually controlled griddles and fry-top ranges are not currently eligible.

Technical specifications for qualified commercial griddles

List of models: Commercial griddles (U.S) - ENERGY STAR

Commercial Hot Food Holding Cabinets

Commercial Hot Food Holding Cabinets

Source: B&M Series Road Warrior
www.hotfoodboxes.com

Commercial hot food holding cabinets, commonly found in commercial kitchens, are fully-enclosed, heated compartments, with one or more solid or partial glass doors. These products do not cook food, but rather provide a temporary location to stage hot food that has already been cooked in a separate appliance. Hot food holding cabinets often incorporate temperature and humidity controls to maintain food quality. While setpoints may range from 27°C to 93°C (80°F to 200°F), the typical holding temperature is 66°C (150°F).5

Commercial hot food holding cabinets are electric-powered. ENERGY STAR qualified models meet a maximum idle energy rate of 40 watts/ft3. A typical commercial holding cabinet with a capacity of 18 ft3 uses 9,855 kWh/year, while an ENERGY STAR qualified unit of the same capacity uses approximately 3,154 kWh/year, a savings of nearly 60 percent.6

Technologies that can improve the energy efficiency of commercial hot food holding cabinets include increased insulation levels that reduce heat loss, magnetic door gaskets, auto-door closures, and dutch doors. Better insulation leads to greater temperature uniformity throughout the cavity in addition to energy cost savings.

The life expectancy of commercial hot food holding cabinets is 15 years.7

Guide for purchasing and using ENERGY STAR qualified hot food holding cabinets

Technical specifications for ENERGY STAR qualified commercial hot food holding cabinets

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Commercial Steam Cookers

Commercial steam cookers, also referred to as "compartment steamers," transfer energy contained in steam to cook food by direct contact. They are commonly found in commercial kitchens and are used to cook vegetables, various meats, and seafood. Steaming retains nutrients and food quality, provides shortened cook times, and requires only basic food preparation. Frozen foods may be defrosted and cooked in one cooking process.

Commercial Steam Cookers

Source: Spiral Steam Cooker
www.advancedfreezer.com

Steam cooker cavities are typically constructed of stainless steel and contain stainless steel racks. The steam can be provided in several ways: through an external boiler that produces pressurized steam, through a steam generator in the cavity, or by placing water in the cavity prior to starting the cooking process. The cooking process itself is carried out at temperatures near 100°C (212°F) either under pressure, where only condensate is drained out, or at atmospheric pressure where both steam and condensate are allow to escape the cavity during cooking. The pressure in atmospheric steamers may be 0 to 20 kPa (0 to 2.9 psig). Low-pressure pressurized steamers operate between 20 and 62 kPa (3 and 9 psig), while high-pressure pressurized steamers operate at 70 to 105 kPa (10 to 15 psig).8 "Connectionless" steamers have no water or drain line connections. Water is poured in periodically while condensate is collected into a pan or bucket. Steam cooker configurations include countertop models, wall-mounted models, and floor-models mounted on a stand, pedestal, or cabinet-style base.

Commercial steam cookers can be either gas-powered or electric-powered. The cooking energy efficiency of this product is the quantity of energy input to the food expressed as a percentage of total energy input into the appliance. A baseline gas steam cooker has a cooking energy efficiency of approximately 30 percent, while an ENERGY STAR qualified unit has a cooking energy efficiency of approximately 38 percent.9 An ENERGY STAR qualified electric steam cooker has a cooking energy efficiency of approximately 50 percent, a significant improvement over a 35 percent efficient baseline model.10 In addition to meeting increased cooking energy efficiencies, ENERGY STAR qualified steam cookers must also not exceed maximum idle energy rates.

High-efficiency commercial steam cookers feature improved insulation, which reduces heat loss, a more efficient steam delivery system which can include forced convection, and control strategies such as steam generation based on monitoring of the cooking process or reduced energy input during idling. Benefits of high efficiency also include shorter cook times and higher production rates.

The life expectancy for both gas and steam cookers is 10 years.11

Guide for purchasing and using ENERGY STAR qualified steam cookers

Technical specifications for ENERGY STAR qualified commercial steam cookers

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  1. Total Annual Foodservice Consumption = (6 GJ/m2 Average Restaurant Annual Energy Consumption per Floor Space) × (8,007,003 m2 Foodservice Floorspace). Of this total, 30% is assumed for food preparation and 14% for sanitation; these are averages of breakdowns for fast-food and full-service restaurants. Sources: Commercial and Institutional Building Energy Use Survey 2000; Comprehensive Energy Use Database; "Famz Foods: Restaurants Serving Up Energy Efficiency", Energy Innovators Initiative, NRCan.
  2. U.S. Commercial Service Canada, [http://www.buyusa.gov/canada/en/441.pdf], assumed US$ = 1.3 C$ in 2004. Note that all figures are reported in Canadian dollars unless otherwise specified.
  3. "Commercial Cooking Appliance Technology Assessment", Food Service Technology Center, FSTC Report #5011.02.26, 2002.
  4. "Developing Statewide Commercial Foodservice Appliance Rebates". Fisher Nickel, Inc. February 23, 2005.
  5. "Draft Analysis of Standards Options for Commercial Hot Food Holding Cabinets", prepared for Pacific Gas & Electric Company by Davis Energy Group, May 6, 2004.
  6. ENERGY STAR commercial hot food holding cabinet energy savings calculator. [http://www.energystar.gov/ia/business/bulk_purchasing/bpsavings_calc/
    Hot_Food_Holding_Cabinet_Bulk.xls
    ] On the U.S. web site.
  7. "Draft Analysis of Standards Options for Commercial Hot Food Holding Cabinets", prepared for Pacific Gas & Electric Company by Davis Energy Group, May 6, 2004.
  8. "Commercial Cooking Appliance Technology Assessment", Food Service Technology Center, FSTC Report #5011.02.26, 2002.
  9. ENERGY STAR U.S. website
  10. ENERGY STAR U.S. website
  11. A. Karas, V. Kong, and D. Fisher, "Evaluating the Water Savings Potential of Commercial "Connectionless" Food Steamers", FSTC Final Report, June 2005.

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