Commercial Kitchens Guide

Restaurant Water Efficiency and Best Practices Guide

2016-09-30

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The Alliance for Water Efficiency identified the commercial kitchen setting as a place where significant water savings could be realized. It then sought to create a resource that would provide a broad understanding of both the importance and benefits of efficiency in commercial grade kitchens. At the same time, the resource would provide case studies, equipment-specific information, and other actionable information items for those in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

After identifying the need for an up-to-date and actionable resource for commercial kitchens, the Alliance for Water Efficiency worked with Fisher-Nickel, Inc., Aiqueous, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Region of Waterloo, and East Bay Municipal Utility District, to develop and design the Restaurant Water Efficiency and Best Practices Guide. Together, it was decided that the Guide should be less a technical manual, and more a concise and straightforward resource for those inside the commercial kitchen industry: the Guide is less than 50 pages, but is a comprehensive resource that is full of easily digestible information and graphic representations that can help a restaurant manager make more water efficient decisions. 

Utility, industry, and efficiency interests all informed the development of the Guide’s four main objectives: 

  1. Characterize the major water and energy use locations in restaurants to help industry members identify efficiency opportunities;
  2. List and discuss water and energy efficiency equipment options;
  3. List and discuss water and energy savings that may be achieved through low- or no-cost operations and maintenance strategies;
  4. Provide examples of case studies that describe different water-efficiency practices and benefits.

The Guide has more than met these objectives. Written with the perspective of efficient business management in mind, the Guide walks readers through the critical steps that lead to water efficiency and that make sound business sense. It begins with tracking water use and performing a use assessment to determine areas of improvement within the kitchen. Then it moves on to making quick and easy changes, and then to offering tips on optimizing large-scale equipment such as Dipper Wells and Combination Ovens, while efficiently using water. Water, energy and monetary savings are included in the case studies which cover the iScoopShower Dipper Well, the ENERGY STAR boiler-based steamer, and the ENERGY STAR high-temp heat-recovery dish machine. 

In an effort to take a holistic approach, the Guide also walks the reader through immediate and simple changes that may be made to the restaurant’s landscaping and in its bathrooms.

Additionally, special features were developed and included in the Guide in an effort to encourage continued action among commercial kitchen industry members, and between industry members and utilities. Among them is an Action Plan document readers can use to help guide them in making decisions about the equipment in their kitchen, as well as an overview of the Region of Waterloo’s Restaurant Certification Program and East Bay Municipal Utility District’s Water Smart Certification Program. 

The Guide is undergoing the final stages of review and will be available in February 2017.