We're being careful about energy.. Are you?

The March edition of SRA’sFood Made Good’ campaign concentrated on ‘Value Natural Resources - Get energy smart’. Energy efficiency is not something we’d like to achieve as a personal goal, but also for its impact on the planet. As part of the hospitality industry, we are huge consumers of energy resources, and that makes us think of ways of reducing our impact.    At JH we take energy quite seriously. In a commercial kitchen, it isn't always easy to be on constant energy saving mode.  But that doesn't mean, we don’t do anything to help. I spoke to our MD, Dean Kennett to find out more about what we do as a company to reduce our energy consumption and here’s what he had to say:

Food suppliers: We’re trying to work with as many ‘field to fork’, or at least local suppliers, where possible to reduce the number of miles food travels and its overall carbon footprint, before getting to our kitchens. For example - using only British eggs and mainly British seasonal veg, meat and cheeses. Read more about our ‘Buy British’ policy here.

Kitchen design: Our production kitchen at Angel was designed in consultation with the chefs to understand workflow and maximise efficiency. While safety and workflow were the largest priorities, certain elements of design were introduced purely for energy efficiency:

  • LED lighting throughout the kitchen - an almost 75% saving on energy
  • Fridges and the cold room are located far away from the ovens and cooking ranges to ensure the hot air doesn’t interfere with their performance / efficiency
  • We work closely with equipment suppliers to purchase the most energy efficient alternative when purchasing / replacing equipment. E.g. the Meiko dishwasher at Angel is water and energy efficient
  • Intelligent ventilation systems with the ability to turn on/off as we see fit, this alone can give us energy savings of nearly 90% as the system is not running all day.

JH staff efforts: As part of kitchen training and, indeed as ingrained work culture, the  staff always turn equipment or lights off when not in use. That’s easy. But here are a few specific measures undertaken to ensure we don’t waste energy:

  • Fridges/freezers get turned off or food  is moved  if they are under half filled.
  • Providing good training so staff know how long a piece of equipment needs to reach the desired temperature, avoiding unnecessary energy wastage.
  • Regular maintenance of equipment to ensure that appliances perform most efficiently. Something as simple as cleaning coils and keeping them dust-free will keep a refrigerator running more efficiently.
  • Closing doors - leaving open oven or fridge doors consumes significant additional energy to bring the equipment back to a safe or desired temperature.
  • Checking thermostats on ovens, fryers, etc., as it’s not unusual for them to lose accuracy over time.
  • Optimising equipment capacity - choose the right size / amount of product to maximise output while minimising energy usage.
  • A closing checklist to ensure equipment, lights and heating is turned off at the end of  the day.

On-site: We try to use induction tops (which consume far less energy for the same desired effect of gas range cooking) as much as possible for any cooking / to keep food warm, as well as following any other energy saving initiatives that individual clients may prescribe

Oil collection: We use an oil collection service (O’Hara oils) to collect waste oil from our kitchens. All used cooking oil collected is returned to their site in Denham, Bucks, for processing prior to transfer to refineries for production of bio-fuels - a great way to reuse something that would have ended up in landfill or clogged drains.

Food waste collection: Food waste from our kitchens is taken away by the local council food waste collection services to turn into compost (Islington & Southwark).

Areas of concern:

Our large fleet of vehicles: Our business depends on delivery and at the moment this means it is heavily dependent on refrigerated diesel vans. Any green alternative to this runs into hundreds of thousands of pounds and is not commercially viable. This is an area we’re actively looking at for solutions. Whether it is looking at government schemes / incentives for green vehicles, assessment of alternative fuels or something as simple as rearrangement of logistics to minimise miles - every little helps as they say!

While all this may actually not sound like much, consistently following these has helped achieve savings and has more importantly, helped energy saving become a part of the company culture.

Do you have any energy saving programs / ideas you’d like to share with us? We’d love to hear from you. Tweet to us @justhospitality