School catering operations both consume and waste large amounts of energy. In some kitchens, as little as 40% of the energy consumed is used for the preparation and storage of food; much of the wasted energy is dispersed into the kitchen as heat. Effective energy management in catering can provide substantial savings, as well as improving working conditions in the kitchen.
It is common in school kitchens for all equipment to be switched on at the beginning of a shift and left running throughout the day. Not only is this extremely wasteful, but equipment left on unnecessarily generates heat, making a kitchen unpleasantly hot and uncomfortable to work in. All catering establishments can save energy by implementing a simple switch-off policy and providing staff with information about preheat times, control settings and good practice.
Most modern catering equipment reaches cooking temperatures quickly. Label equipment with its preheat time and encourage staff to switch them on only when required.
2. Never use ovens or hobs to heat the kitchen. If the school’s heating system does not effectively heat the kitchen, investigate why this is the case. 3. Switch off ovens, grills, fryers and hobs immediately after use. 5. Label hot plates for keeping food warm with their preheat time, and switch off immediately after use. 8. Switch off other kitchen equipment, lights and extraction fans when they are not being used.