Of the 6 systems installed, 4 had a nominal capacity of 10 kilowatts (kW), with the remaining 2 systems having 12.5kW and 9.5kW. All installations utilised Trina solar module s and Aurora Power-One inverters . Annual power output from each of these systems will fall in the range of about 12,500kWh and 16,300kWh, depending on the system size, location and orientation. The power produced will translate into annual power bill savings of between approximately $5,000 and $7,700. Previously, Solar Choice Commercial also brokered the McDonald’s restaurant in Kilsyth, Victoria to install a similarly sized system. The Kilsyth restaurant was the first in the McDonald’s chain to go solar in Australia. 4.2.1 Saving Energy in the Kitchen Cut Down Your Appliance Idle Time So much of the energy used in kitchens comes specifically from your appliances just being left on. You’ll probably need most of your equipment on throughout service hours, but chances are, you don’t need all of your appliances turned on for all hours of your shift — particularly during kitchen prep work and end 13
of shift clean-up. By assembling a plan for start-up/shutdown of all equipment (excluding refrigeration, of course), you can ensure your equipment is only on standby for a short amount of time, saving energy and money. This plan should be customized for your particular restaurant’s needs and schedule, so it’s important to discuss any changes with both managers and chefs alike to coordinate the best times to turn equipment on and off for the day. Additionally, your entire kitchen staff should be trained to follow the plan. Don’t assume it will just happen with a memo or one-time mention. If you really want to consistently reduce your energy use, stress the importance of conserving energy to your staff by integrating it fully into your training plan. Keep Up Maintenance on Current Equipment You want to make sure all of your equipment is running at its most efficient. Consistent, planned maintenance can help prevent a variety of problems, including wasted energy issues. For instance, an ill-maintained fryer won’t cook food properly while still using up more electricity, which means lower food quality, slower cook times, and higher energy bills. If you can’t upgrade your air conditioning system and hoods, it’s still important to keep that maintenance up. Clogged up filters restrict air flow, making your system work that much harder and use that much more energy. Generally, you should change your air filters at least four times a year but checking it every month will help ensure you’re not dealing with dirty filters. It’s also important to take care of repairs as soon as possible. While it might be tempting to ignore faulty and broken equipment or leaky pipes whose repairs don’t seem necessary to handle right away, even a brief delay can lead to more damage and much larger utility costs that ultimately outweigh the cost of repairing the damage immediately. Retrofit Your Old Equipment If you’re hesitant about changing out your older, but still well maintained, equipment models for brand new ones, there are still ways for you to upgrade parts of them to be more energy efficient. These kitchen retrofitting can be lighter on your budget and can also make a difference on your bills.
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