Demonstration of High-Efficiency Commercial Cooking Equipment and Kitchen Ventilation Systems
March 26, 2021
Energy Research and Development (500)
Natural Gas Program
Dennis Livchak, Edward Ruan, Michael Karsz, David Zabrowski
Frontier Energy, Inc., operator of the Food Service Technology Center, conducted a comprehensive commercial kitchen equipment demonstration of the quantitative and qualitative benefits of innovative high-efficiency gas cooking equipment and advanced commercial kitchen ventilation systems in different types of commercial foodservice operations. The project was conducted under a grant from the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program and supplemented by funding from Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Gas Company, San Diego Gas & Electric Company, numerous equipment manufacturers, and the respective demonstration sites.
Cookline equipment operation and energy consumption was characterized at six different test sites: a hotel, a hospital cafeteria, an airline caterer, a grocery deli, and two restaurants. The researchers used the findings to identify opportunities to optimize the cooklines at each site. Where possible, the project team consolidated operations and replaced baseline equipment with energy efficient alternatives to minimize energy consumption while maximizing throughput and functionality. In addition, researchers characterized the nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from the baseline and replacement equipment, then estimated the overall NOx production for each appliance type based on measured energy consumption.
The team implemented demand-controlled kitchen ventilation systems at two of the six test sites. The researchers assessed fan energy and kitchen operating conditions before and after implementing the demand-controlled kitchen ventilation systems. A final portion of the study examined the use of an energy information system to provide real-time feedback on equipment energy intensity. The study demonstrated that staff behavior, particularly equipment training, was critical to achieving persistent energy savings.
Each site saved between 20 percent and 40 percent in energy consumption while offering greater productivity. Demand-controlled kitchen ventilation systems added more than 50 percent ventilation energy savings to two sites. Underfired broilers were the most energy intensive appliance, while combination ovens represented the greatest energy savings opportunity.