Catering Insight asked representatives of some of the most sustainability-minded catering equipment manufacturers some key questions on the topic of energy efficiency:
How seriously do you see dealers taking the specification of energy efficient appliances?
Hoshizaki UK national sales manager, Roz Scourfield: We feel that although many dealers set out with good intentions, there is sometimes a lack of conviction when it comes to specifying energy efficient catering equipment and pushing operators to increase capex when bidding for projects. However, with energy prices continuing to rise at a rate that is above inflation and manufacturers doing more to educate on the total life cost, it’s easier than ever to present the savings that efficient equipment can deliver.
Paul Anderson, MD, Meiko UK: Meiko UK only deals with ‘serious’ dealers, who do take significant interest in issues such as sustainability and whole life costing. Responsible operators are aware of the issues and if given strong, factual detailed information that presents an honest picture of the sustainability of an equipment choice, they will make the right decision. This is precisely where a responsible supplier can help their sales partners.
Rational UK technical sales director Graham Kille: Offering the customer the most energy efficient solution is increasingly a priority. At Rational we help to provide ROI calculations for our equipment and support this with clearly published energy information. We also provide energy calculations for the cooking programs on our SelfCookingCenters. Dealers need to clearly explain the lifetime costs of running inefficient equipment to operators. While caterers might be tempted to make savings in the short term by buying cheaper appliances, when considered over the lifetime of the equipment those savings will be wiped out by increased running costs, downtime and repair. Researchers at Zurich University studied the energy consumption in a commercial catering kitchen before and after a major refurbishment. They found that by switching from conventional appliances to the latest Rational multifunctional cooking appliances, energy consumption reduced by 34% and water consumption by 53%.
Welbilt sales director – UK and Ireland Steve Hemsil: Dealers have a responsibility to offer end users a wide range of options which should include energy efficient equipment. However, they also need to provide substantial information on the benefits of such products so that the operator is able to make an informed decision about why they may have to pay slightly more now to make significant savings in the long term.
Wexiödisk UK and Ireland country manager John Shepherd: The majority of distributors take the specification of energy efficient equipment very seriously. That being said, there is always going to be an element of value engineering when it comes to equipment with a higher initial purchase price, particularly when many capex budgets are already stretched to breaking point. Wexiödisk feels it is essential to look at the whole system rather than individual appliances when specifying energy efficient kit.
Lincat marketing manager Helen Applewhite: Our dealers are certainly taking energy efficient equipment seriously. There is strong demand for energy efficient equipment from end users and there’s a far greater understanding, across the board, of whole life costs. Designers too are requesting detailed information. Our dealers have a vested interest in specifying energy efficient equipment, since there is more margin to be made on higher ticket items.
Induced Energy sales director Nic Banner: Whilst there are many dealers that see the benefits of energy efficient appliances, there are certainly as many who do not. The purchase of induction equipment is very much determined by the end user, the capex available and the existing services within the kitchen. There are very few gas kitchens for example that have the required electric supply to change to induction, and the cost of implementing an all-electric kitchen becomes very prohibitive when power has to be brought in from often quite some distance away.
Falcon Foodservice Equipment product development chef Shaune Hall: It’s important to ensure that we are in constant dialogue with dealers as to how we can minimise the use of energy in the kitchen and equally importantly maximise the energy being used. Our design engineers regularly review current and new products to ascertain where we could achieve more sustainable results. This is an ongoing process. In our experience, buying decisions often seem to be made simply on capital expenditure; this has been and remains the main consideration for many firms.
Do you see other types of equipment apart from refrigeration being subject to energy efficiency standards?
Paul Anderson, MD, Meiko UK: If one (warewashing) manufacturer can provide whole life costing forecasts detailing sustainable performance, then others can too, so I would welcome energy efficient standards for warewashing. It would be given a boost if the distributor would sanction this and make it a requirement of the manufacturers to provide full comparable sustainable information. And it’s not just about energy – we have just published a report highlighting water shortages in the UK within a decade.
Hoshizaki UK national sales manager, Roz Scourfield: Refrigeration was always going to be first on the agenda for the EU when creating the EcoDesign directive and as such has been the driving force for the labelling system that is now effective across the industry. Initially there was a defined list of priorities equipment, with commercial warewashing highlighted as being next for similar standards. From our understanding, this has been postponed for the time being.
Induced Energy sales director Nic Banner: Unfortunately there is very little compulsory monitoring of catering equipment other than refrigeration. To produce a definitive document, Induced Energy is currently working with The Cranfield University to produce an analysis of the savings in both energy and lifetime running costs achievable with induction technology, compared to conventional methods of cooking.
Lincat technical director Jon White: We would welcome industry wide energy-efficiency standards, which would make it easier for end users to make greener choices. However the debate needs to be well-informed, taking into account the realistic use of the equipment and the origin of the energy. We take great care to ensure that any equipment performance claims we make are accurate. For example, our Vortech high energy efficiency fryer’s 97% energy efficiency rating has been independently verified by BSI tests.
Falcon Foodservice Equipment product development chef Shaune Hall: It is likely that at some time in the future there will be specification through legislation that will apply across most pieces of equipment in the kitchen. It is by being a member of organisations such as CESA and CEDA that we can ensure that we are part of the conversation.
Welbilt sales director – UK and Ireland Steve Hemsil: By bringing in energy efficiency standards across a wider range of catering equipment, manufacturers will be driven to develop more efficient solutions. End users will demand even higher efficiencies, making manufacturers develop equipment accordingly. I also believe that increased efficiencies should be driven by manufacturers since the route to market process can be complex when driven by other stakeholders within the buying process.
Wexiödisk UK and Ireland country manager John Shepherd: Equipment which is not of a ‘standalone’ type, meaning it is part of a system or a wider application within a kitchen is hard to define a specific set of standards for. Take warewashing for example. There are currently a number of standards in place to determine the efficiency of a unit, however these standards do not take into account the whole warewashing process.