Replacing electric combi ovens with gas combis and upgrading
refrigeration cabinets to Market Transformation Programme (MTP)
best-practice standards: these are just some of the ideas being
explored by Defra, the Carbon Trust, AEA and food industry leaders
to slash energy use and carbon emissions in UK commercial
Over the last year, the Carbon Trust has worked with companies
including Sodexo, Elior, Aramark and Caterlink to identify more
energy efficient ways of running kitchens, with the potential to
save £90m or the equivalent of 425,000 tonnes CO2 a
Now - in partnership with the Catering Equipment Suppliers
Association (CESA) - Defra and the Carbon Trust are urging contract
caterers and their clients to help prove the business case for new
equipment and better operations and management of kitchens.
Defra has been keen to obtain better data on a range of catering
equipment in sector segments to support UK government policy on the
development of sustainable products. The Carbon Trust's Industrial
Energy Efficiency Accelerator (IEEA) for the contract catering
sector was a perfect vehicle to achieve this. The aims of the
study were to gain key insights into the sector such as:
- Process operations and energy use;
- Issues and opportunities; and
- Existing data available for performance assessment.
"More than a quarter of the UK's carbon emissions come from
industry and we've got to find new opportunities to reduce them,"
said Al-Karim Govindji, Technology Acceleration Manager of
Innovations at the Carbon Trust. "Our estimates suggest that over
80% of sites could replace electric combis with gas combis. The
implementation cost is the additional cost for the gas combi
assuming that the alternative replacement would be an electric
combi. Such replacements across the industry would cost a typical
site £3,000 but could have a 3 year payback, saving the sector £14m
per year or 60,000 tonnes CO2 per year."
Sodexo's Paul Bracegirdle, Environmental Manager, UK &
Ireland says, "Sodexo's participation in this study is fully
aligned with the Better Tomorrow Plan, our sustainability strategy
to 2020. It significantly raised our awareness and
understanding of where and how energy is used in a commercial
kitchen, and the factors that influence it. We have gathered
new insights and data at a level we have never seen before; these
are invaluable as we seek to reduce energy consumption and
Refrigeration is the second largest user of energy in the sector
and this is driven by the installed refrigeration capacity at each
site. However, researchers found that energy use does not rise
linearly with capacity, but drops off as capacity increases. This
is due to the greater energy efficiency of the larger units.
Upgrading refrigeration single and double door refrigeration
cabinets with energy efficiencies equal to the Market
Transformation Programme best practice benchmark standards would
give a payback of 1.5 years and could save the industry £13m in
energy costs per year.
There are many reasons for variations in performance in kitchen.
For example, the metering in three sites (corporate office,
hospital and school) showed that there was a clear relationship
between the variety and numbers of hot meals served and energy use
per meal for refrigeration energy and cooking energy. It seems that
the added complexity may influence energy use by driving up the
amount of equipment installed and the way in which it is used.
Elior's Grazia Dal Fara, Corporate Responsibility Manager, said
"Elior welcomed the opportunity to take part in this research to
underpin continuous improvement in our environmental management
system. At Elior we are committed to operate our catering
facilities effectively and efficiently and the findings of this
project will be used to improve training and practices."
"Caterlink are delighted to be involved in this ground breaking
project", says Neil Fuller, Managing Director. "We work hard
to be as environmentally responsible as possible by serving fresh,
local and seasonal produce, minimising waste, improving recycling
and training our teams in basic good housekeeping, conserving
energy, water and resource: but this project takes it to the next
level. We are excited that the project report will not only
enable us to be even more efficient for our clients but will
provide the entire sector with enough information to make the right
decisions to make a real difference."
Changes in the weekly number of meals served have no clear
impact on the energy use at the sites. It is likely that other
factors, such as the amount and hours of operation of the
equipment, have more impact than the number of meals. Similarly,
the weekly number of hot meals prepared at the study sites has
little influence on the amount of cooking energy used. There is a
similar picture for the influence of daily meal volume on cooking
energy, refrigeration energy and dishwashing energy.
"Based on the evidence contained within the report, the
foodservice sector is now better placed to build a strategy with
government and its agencies to bring about real change within the
industry. Manufacturers can use this data to develop and market
products that will reduce a commercial kitchen's energy
consumption," says Keith Warren of the Catering Equipment Suppliers
Association (CESA) who represents 167 companies that manufacture,
import and service catering equipment.
Innovation opportunities include use of sensors in extraction
linked to variable speed drives that can automatically vary the fan
speed with the cooking load.
In addition, a number of new business models are possible,
including incentives for clients to invest in efficient equipment;
caterers to adopt best practice in using equipment; and the
transfer of energy management responsibility to the caterer with
the installation of sub-metering.
- Contract catering covers the provision of food services to
people at work in business and industry, catering in schools,
colleges and universities, in hospitals and healthcare as well as
welfare and local authority catering and other non-profit making
- Companies providing catering services are estimated to have
served 1,607 million meals through 16,583 outlets in 2009
- Contract catering sites' carbon emissions are approximately
1,300,000 tonnes CO2 per year.
- About 40% of the energy used in kitchens is for cooking with
refrigeration at 28%, extraction at 17% and dishwashing at 5%.
- The contract catering sector is also estimated to spend £292m
per year on catering energy with an average cost of 18p per meal
- Replacing electric ovens with gas combi ovens would cost a
typical site £3,000 but could save 60,000 tonnes CO2 per
- Upgrading refrigeration cabinets to MTP best-practice standard
could save the industry 56,500 tonnes CO2 per year but
cost just £1,100 for a typical site.
View the report:
Contract Catering Sector Guide - Industrial Energy
Efficiency Accelerator (PDF)
or visit the Defra website: http://efficient-products.defra.gov.uk/cms/
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
is a government department in the UK. Defra makes policy and
legislation, and work with others to deliver our policies, in areas
- the natural environment, biodiversity, plants and animals
- sustainable development and the green economy
- food, farming and fisheries
- animal health and welfare
- environmental protection and pollution control
- rural communities and issues.
The Government is fully committed to raising product standards
and encouraging consumers and businesses to buy the most efficient
products available. Removing the least efficient products from the
market remains one of the most cost-effective ways of reducing CO2
emissions, and benefits consumers and businesses by reducing their
energy bills. Government is also committed to 'green' public
procurement, seeking to raise levels of sustainable public
purchasing across the public sector whilst recognising suppliers
need a strong demand from us to provide more sustainable products
Defra maintains an evidence base on energy using products across
their lifecycles, supported by a consortium of technical
contractors (sometimes referred to as the Market Transformation
Programme or MTP). We work with stakeholders to harness their
expertise to develop a robust evidence base for effective standards
across product life-cycles and outcomes which stimulate innovation
and eco-design. This contract catering study will feed into and
improve our current evidence base and inform the development of
future products policy.
More information on Defra's product work can be found on the
More information on Government's approach to Green Public
Procurement can be found at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/economy/purchasing/
About the Carbon
The Carbon Trust is an independent company with a mission to
accelerate the move to a low carbon economy.
- We advise businesses, government and the public sector on their
opportunities in a sustainable, low carbon world.
- We measure and certify the environmental impact footprint of
organisation, supply chains and product.
- We help develop and deploy low carbon technologies and
solutions, from energy efficiency to renewable power.
The Industrial Energy Efficiency Accelerator (IEEA) is a £15m
innovation programme designed to cut carbon, reduce costs and make
UK manufacturing more competitive.