Kitchen Design : Planning a ‘Green’ Kitchen
When planning the layout of your kitchen, many designers look at what a restaurant owner values: efficiency, organization, and eco-friendly goals. Planning a ‘green’ kitchen can be initiated during construction or integrated later down the road! Regardless of your restaurant’s situation, the benefits of a green kitchen can be both cost-effective and ethically-motivated, affecting your customers, footprint, and bottom-line. While some may affirm Kermit’s motto, ‘It’s not easy being green’, let’s take a look at some practical ways to plan and design your eco-friendly kitchen!
Water is used in several of your commercial kitchen appliances. From hand sinks to dishwashers, your employees are constantly making use of equipment that utilizes water. Flow restrictors are installed in the plumbing to - you guessed it - restrict the flow of water, reducing the output to lower levels. While the immediate difference may seem negligible, the overall result could mean a wealth of savings for your water bill! B.R. Guests Restaurants, out of NYC, saved 5 million gallons of water a year by installing flow restrictors as part of their Go Green effort (About.com). By using less water for regular and recurring tasks, your restaurant also reduces its footprint - a reduction that is much appreciated especially in areas prone to or suffering from drought!
Ditch the Teflon!
Non-stick surfaces may seem great at first, but the usable lifespan of Teflon and other non-stick products is finite. Indeed, once the non-stick surface has eroded away, your pots and pans will collect grime and old food faster than you can order new cookware! Instead, opt for stainless steel or cast iron - options which will truly last a lifetime in your busy restaurant. The same goes for your utensils; opt for sturdy gadgets as opposed to wooden or plastic cooking utensils, as these can rot or melt quickly in a kitchen environment.
The debate rages on between gas vs electric appliances, but the true eco-friendly savings lies in induction burners. Using half the energy of coil elements, induction burners are efficient and precise, shelling out savings in electricity bills! Compound the effects of your eco-friendly cooking unit by purchasing energy from eco-friendly companies that support renewable and sustainable energy sources.
Your walk-in units are a sinkhole for energy. When doors get left open, your units have to work exponentially harder to maintain the internal temperature. Installing air curtains helps to improve unit efficiency. By increasing your unit’s efficiency, it not only works less to maintain its temperature but also uses less energy to do its job! All of this translates into a smaller footprint and a greener kitchen.
Don’t Forget the Bathroom
Bathrooms are many times disregarded, but these daily-use and highly-trafficked areas can eat into your energy savings. Live Green notes some easy ways to make your restroom green: ‘Motion-activated lighting, dual-flush toilets, energy-efficient hand dryers instead of paper towels, and even hand soap from an all-natural manufacturer are signs that the management cares about the environment.‘ Show your guests that YOU care about the environment, and rack up the savings in your energy bills in the meantime!
E Friedman Associates