The few foodservice sites still managing to operate through the coronavirus crisis will no doubt be aiming to minimise their expenditure. And with warmer weather upon us, demand will increase for ice and it will be ever more essential to have a sustainable icemaking solution to hand.
So for those catering equipment dealers still endeavouring to supply key frontline commercial kitchens, what should they know about the eco-friendliness of the icemakers currently available?
Hoshizaki in particular is well known for its environmental consideration. UK national sales manager Roz Scourfield advised: “In addition to specifying ice machines that have been made with sustainable materials and refrigerants, dealers should also be specifying models with energy saving technologies such as our latest KM Edge ice machine.”
Combining a CycleSaver system and a design which allows for ice to be formed on both sides, the KM Edge is claimed to be able to produce the same quantity of ice in approximately half as many cycles as competitor models, thus enabling energy savings. The unit produces consistently sized crescent shaped ice cubes.
Scourfield explained Hoshizaki’s philosophy: “Thanks to new legislations which prohibit the use of damaging HFC refrigerants, manufacturers are now being forced to develop a more sustainable range of ice solutions which use natural refrigerants. For Hoshizaki however, this commitment to natural refrigerants began back in 2002 when the phasing out of environmentally damaging HFC refrigerants from our portfolio of ice machines and refrigerators first began.
“By committing to phasing out of HFCs 18 years before legislations were put into place, Hoshizaki has developed extensive knowledge and expertise in this field – expertise which have allowed us to been develop an expansive portfolio of premium quality, HFC-free, ice solutions.”
The manufacturer’s sustainability considerations also extend to its own manufacturing processes, with Scourfield detailing: “Renowned for being first movers on the ground, Hoshizaki understands the impact that icemakers have on nature, resources, and budgets, hence why we have made sustainability and energy efficiency the core objective, not just for our products, but for our manufacturing processes too.
“Based on a management concept that ‘good products come from a good environment’, all of our manufacturing tasks are prioritised in order to reduce the impact on the environment at every stage and improve energy efficiencies. Just one example of this is clear at the Gram production facility in Vojens, Denmark, which is heated entirely by a nearby photovoltaic plant.”
She added: “As a manufacturer with a global reach, Hoshizaki is convinced that these efforts towards a greener future can and will have a positive impact, particularly when it comes to responsible consumption of energy in commercial kitchens and bars, which is a key focus for this global brand.”
Over at Welbilt, field marketing – ice and blended ice manager, Jonathan Smith, feels that the manufacturer’s Manitowoc brand is an old hand at being green: “Sustainability has been one of the hottest topics in the foodservice industry in recent years, but for Manitowoc, this topic is nothing new. In fact, so ahead of the curve has Manitowoc been when it comes to sustainability that we completely eliminated CFC and HCFC refrigerants from the portfolio 20 years prior to the 1990 Clean Air Act.
“Since then, Manitowoc has continued to invest in natural refrigerants that are less impactful to the environment while delivering higher performance.”
He pointed out: “With Manitowoc ice machines, the statistics well and truly speak for themselves, hence making the life of the dealer a lot easier, especially when it comes to justifying the environmental credentials of our machines.
“This is none so more apparent than with our award-winning Indigo NXT iT0420 model which uniquely combines energy-saving technology and R410A refrigerant in order to achieve a 41% increase in energy efficiency, plus a 21% reduction in water consumption.”
The Manitowoc brand’s UK supplier, Foodservice Equipment Marketing, agrees with the manufacturer’s assessment of its latest offering. According to commercial director Mark Hogan: “The updated Manitowoc Indigo NXT Series adds a new dimension to the pre-existing Indigo range, with improvements made to ensure models are more user friendly, energy-efficient and reliable, and offer the highest levels of hygiene.
“Using more environmentally friendly R410A refrigerant means the machine has 48% less global warming potential than previous models. Programmable ice production and scheduling – including documenting ice volume, the on/off time and bin level – help reduce the day to day running costs of operation. As a result, the NXT icemakers are up to 43% more efficient than previous modular models, and water usage has been reduced by an average of 23%.”
Furthermore, Manitowoc ice machines use patented air assist harvest technology which is designed to speed up the ice harvest cycle and lower overall energy use, while the acoustic ice-sensing technology should accurately measure ice thickness for consistent cube formation, producing a high-quality ice cube in less time.
Hogan analysed: “By choosing Manitowoc as the manufacturer of the ice machines we supply, we can be sure that they are designed with sustainability in mind.
“Manitowoc strives to be a responsible manufacturer, industry leader, and employer, not only for this generation, but for future generations. Manitowoc machines have earned the US Energy Star rating which means they are on average 15% more energy-efficient and 10% more water-efficient than other models. Manitowoc leads the way with the highest number of qualifying ice machines that meet and exceed Energy Star guidelines.”
Elsewhere, Scotsman’s UK supplier, Hubbard Systems, feels that the American manufacturer takes its position as a worldwide market leader very seriously, ensuring its products are fully compliant with all relevant regulations.
David Rees, group marketing manager of HTG Trading, Hubbard’s parent company, emphasised: “Scotsman is determined to set the pace in the development of eco-friendly ice machines, for example with the EcoX range.
“The refrigerants used in the EcoX machines are either hydrocarbon R290 or carbon dioxide R744, depending on the model and system. This means EcoX models have an ODP (Ozone Depletion Potential) of zero and a GWP (Global Warming Potential) of three or less. Other features like the anti-microbial compound included in key components help to guarantee product safety and improve efficiency.”
When it comes to what environmentally friendly qualities dealers should relay to end users, Rees believes: “Dealers should explain the real cost reduction of buying a ‘best in class’ efficiency product, instead of opting for the lowest price and lower class of product.
“It is important to look at running cost data to calculate the payback time for each model. Hubbard is committed to helping caterers minimise their carbon footprint, with advanced designs which minimise energy and water use. Explaining how reducing their environmental impact can reduce running costs can be very persuasive.”
He further emphasised: “Hubbard can offer specific individual operator training to ensure that its ice machines operate as efficiently as possible. Scotsman provides accurate water consumption information to ensure that operators have the right machine for their business in the first place.”
While British firm Foster Refrigerator feels it is one of only a few refrigeration manufacturers in the world to have the ISO14001 Environmental Standard.
The company reports that its products are over 98% recyclable. In conjunction with its recycling partner, Foster has developed a process that is designed to ensure all but a tiny fraction of its old products are recycled and reused.
The manufacturer also believes that product longevity is vital when considering the environment. A spokesperson stated: “The longer a product lasts the greener it is, as all the extra energy used to produce a new product is delayed. Foster’s products are robustly made using only quality components, this means they are some of the longest lasting products in the industry.”
As operators begin to get back to business, Foster is doing all it can to help support them, with a commitment to continue offering 0% interest free credit offer for customers with limited cash availability.
A cool green future
When we asked various icemaker manufacturers to look into their crystal ball as to whether their products could become even more eco-friendly, they enthusiastically affirmed this intention.
For instance, Jonathan Smith, field marketing – ice and blended ice at Welbilt, commented: “As awareness and scrutiny surrounding the environment continues to grow throughout the foodservice sector, so does pressure for manufacturers to develop the latest sustainable, ice machine innovations.
“As a market focused company, we at Manitowoc will continue to drive these sustainable innovations by keeping focused on ‘what’s next’ in the ice machine world and committing to rigorous, environmental focused R&D.”
The Manitowoc brand’s UK supplier, FEM, concurred with this view, with commercial director Mark Hogan predicting: “Environmentally friendly solutions across the industry will continue to be important in the development of new technology, and ice machines certainly have their part to play. We expect them to continue to be designed to be more energy- and water-efficient.”
While David Rees, group marketing manager of HTG Trading, the parent company of Scotsman brand supplier Hubbard Systems, believes: “There are always ways to improve the eco friendliness of equipment and Scotsman continues to incorporate new developments in materials and manufacturing.
“Self-diagnostics are an important way to keep icemakers operating at optimum efficiency, and as more advanced and intelligent systems are developed it will be one way to help operators optimise efficiency.”