How to make your restaurant sustainable now and into the future

3 min read

Many Vermont food service businesses promote sustainability by buying from the local food supply and managing food waste. There is a long list of choices to help food service businesses reach their sustainability goals. Energy efficiency should be at the top of the list. According to ENERGY STAR, restaurants use five to seven times more energy per square foot than other commercial businesses. Energy efficiency upgrades help save energy, trim overhead costs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. An extra bonus is that energy improvements also improve employee and guest comfort.

Banish poor air quality and excessive heat in the kitchen

Commercial kitchens are infamous for being busy, stressful, and hot. How hot? Studies show that in the summer, kitchen temperatures can exceed 90 or even 100 degrees. That is uncomfortable and hazardous for kitchen employees.

Poor indoor air quality and high temperatures can contribute to high-stress levels. Humans generally feel comfortable between 65-72 degrees. An increase of 10 degrees beyond that can lead to discomfort and reduce productivity.

Luckily there are solutions to help improve kitchen efficiency – and the health and safety of those who work in them. Solutions include replacing inefficient kitchen appliances and improving ventilation and air quality.

Breathe easier with better ventilation

Replacing gas with electric appliances will reduce indoor air pollution and excess heat. Kitchens using induction can offer better air quality due to the lack of combustion. Gas cooking appliances can contribute to poor indoor air quality, especially when used without an exhaust hood.

Commercial kitchens need good ventilation to ensure the health and safety of employees. Proper ventilation brings several benefits for kitchen employees and the restaurant as a whole:

  • Reduce airborne particles, like grease and oil, that are harmful if inhaled and increase kitchen fire risk.
  • Reduce heat and humidity that lead to uncomfortable and unsafe working conditions.
  • Reduce smoke and odors. Smoke and odors include particulates that can be harmful if inhaled. They can also lead to a poor working and dining experience.

Not sure where to start with ventilation? Contact us.

The case for electrifying your commercial kitchen

An all-electric kitchen is one that does not use fossil fuel for food preparation. This concept will ruffle many a chef’s feathers. Hear us out! Electric cooking technology has advanced a lot in the past decade. ENERGY STAR is evaluating commercial induction cooktop specifications for certification in the near future.

Electric kitchen equipment options

Efficient electric options exist for many commercial kitchen energy users. You can find efficient appliances, ventilation, lighting, and even sensors and controls. The upfront cost of efficient electric equipment may still be higher than gas options. But upfront costs are dropping. And the cost to operate these appliances is much lower.

The following equipment is ENERGY STAR certified:

  • Commercial dishwashers
  • Commercial hot food holding cabinets
  • Commercial fryers
  • Commercial griddles
  • Commercial steam cookers
  • Commercial ovens (combination, convection, rack, and conveyer styles)
  • Commercial refrigerators and freezers
  • Commercial ice makers

If you manage a commercial kitchen, you can get started with a free assessment of the space.

Key takeaways for reaching sustainability goals with energy efficiency in your kitchen

Manage air quality and temperatures. When you need new equipment, consider solutions that will mitigate high temperatures and improve indoor air quality.

Be open to induction technology. Induction cooktops have come a long way and are now a formidable rival to cooking with fossil fuels.

Shift away from fossil fuel use. To meet climate goals, the state of Vermont has a plan for beneficial electrification. Choose efficient electric appliances to shift away from fossil fuel use.