Rafi Taherian joined Yale earlier this year but was formerly the executive director of Stanford University Dining. For many years there, he worked with the Foodservice Technology Center to identify energy saving opportunities on that school's campus.
Consider heat recovery from refrigeration systems. “If I were designing my idea of a perfect kitchen, the first place I'd look for energy savings would be at heat recovery from the refrigeration equipment. Harvard has done this very effectively. Even if you have installed efficient compressors, you are still exhausting waste heat. It makes a lot of sense to use it to preheat hot water you need elsewhere.”
Raise the hood. “The second place I'd look is from upgraded hood design. In summertime they suck cold air out of the kitchen and in winter they suck out hot air. Either way, you use energy to cool or heat the air you're exhausting. Variable speed hoods with sensors to adjust air flow based on loads can minimize this waste. There are additional savings if an economizer can be installed to use outside air for cooling when conditions permit.”
“The burden is on the operator to inquire about all of the things that can be done to make a kitchen more sustainable. Every time you consider installing or replacing equiment, ask yourself, ‘What is the most efficient way of doing this?’
“Find people who have tried these things already, before you get to the design stage. Educate yourself first and when you speak to consultants and suppliers, making it clear you want a sustainable system design. If you hold yourself accountable to this idea, you will hold your designers and consultants accountable as well. Most of the time, we short change ourselves because we have not spent the time to educate ourselves in advance.”