“We’ve Done Benchmarking. We’ve Done Lighting. What’s Next?!” Kitchen Ventilation.

Kitchen ventilation, both exhaust and make up air, represent a significant opportunity for kWh and kBTU reductions in your facility. Demand Control Kitchen Ventilation, or DCKV for short, uses both temperature and optic sensors to vary the speed of exhaust and make up air fans in response to precise cooking intensity underneath all of the kitchen hoods. By having the fans run only as fast as needed savings are gained on fan energy (with controls producing 40-60% average fan speed versus 100% without controls). In addition, there are heating and cooling savings gained because now the kitchen isn’t evacuating all the expensive air that was just conditioned.

These controls can be installed in new construction projects, usually being specified by the engineering firm in the design phase of your project, and should qualify for one LEED point. In addition, DCKV is a path to compliance for commercial building energy code for states that have adopted ASHRAE 90.1 2010 and greater. You can see what your state’s requirements are here.

Retrofitting the temperature and optic controls within existing kitchen exhaust hoods is equally effective at generating energy savings. At the outset of a project it’s important to confirm that the controls are UL 710 and 2017 listed which permits them to be installed in any manufacturer’s hood in any cooking application. There are many utility rebate incentive programs available for the installation of DCKV as well.

The financial impact to hospital operating costs is significant when kitchen exhaust and makeup air fans no longer run at full speed 24/7.  A study by the EPA demonstrated that each dollar saved by a non-profit hospital through improved energy performance is the same as generating $20 in new revenues (incidentally that same dollar saved in a for-profit facility is like increasing EPS by one penny).

A recent project that Melink completed at a Mid-West hospital produced $20,000 (per year) in electrical, heating and cooling savings combined.  Using the EPA study metrics, this produced the equivalent of $400,000 in new revenue for this facility.  Taking rebate incentives for our technology, the hospital paid their original investment back in less than one year.

Ultimately the goal of any DCKV project is to install controls that maximize the energy savings within the kitchen. The controls will help in compliance with building energy codes, attain LEED points and make the kitchen quieter and more comfortable. This article, which recently appeared in the American Society for Healthcare Engineering publication, Inside ASHE, goes into greater detail on these topics and dives deeper into how these controls pay back initial investments.

Find the Inside ASHE article on kitchen ventilation here.

Higher Education Taking Action Against Climate Change

Climate change has been a hot topic recently, and higher education is taking note and taking action. While hundreds of schools have already made pledges to increase sustainability across their campus, 13 schools are taking the lead and taking it a step farther. At this year’s 2018 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit, 13 North American research universities launched the University Climate Change Coalition, or UC3, a group committed to implementing green initiatives into their own campuses and leveraging their research and experience to help others do the same. For over a decade, these universities have been researching innovative ways to reduce energy consumption, and educating students on how to combat climate challenges that are quickly approaching, but now they taking it a step further to spread this expertise to accelerate change through all of higher education.

Colleges and Universities that have committed to take action on climate change
Colleges and Universities that have committed to take action on climate change. Source: Secondnature.org

As the first school listed on the Campus Carbon Neutrality commitment, Cornell University paved the way. They have made continual efforts to implement Energy Conservation Initiatives (ECI), committing $33M towards ECI’s over a recent 5-year period. The Ohio State University established goals to be carbon neutral by 2050 and to reduce total campus building energy consumption by 25%. Both of these schools have found ways to lessen their carbon footprint by implementing various sustainability practices and products campus wide. Reducing energy use in existing buildings have been an ongoing initiative by both universities focusing on modernizing building envelopes, implementation of building automation and control systems, heat recovery and lighting systems. Cornell states projects they’ve implemented to date have had a return on investment of five to seven years.

Intelli-Hood controls at Kennedy Center at The Ohio State University.
Intelli-Hood controls at Kennedy Center at The Ohio State University. Source: osu.edu

A place that can often be overlooked, but has a great impact, is the ventilation system in campus kitchens. With the demand of long hours to accommodate various student schedules, and high volume because of the dense population, campus kitchens tend to run a majority of the day. Depending where the university is located, various local and state codes may require fans to operate 24/7 if the site utilizes gas pilots on kitchen equipment which remain on overnight. The HVAC systems account for 29% of the energy consumption of a food service area, with up to 75% of this load able to be attributed to the commercial kitchen ventilation system.

Melink is the innovator of Demand Control Kitchen Ventilation (DCKV) with the Intelli-Hood® system. Both Cornell University and The Ohio State University found the benefit of utilizing dckv systems across a majority of their kitchens. Using Intelli-Hood®, systems operate at a lower overall fans speed average. In an average day, the Melink Intelli-Hood system can recognize up to a 45% reduction in fan speeds equivalent to approximately 83% electrical fan energy savings. Additionally, this reduced operation results in a decrease of load demand of surrounding HVAC equipment providing additional conditioned air savings that can be recognized.