Clive Brearley, sales manager of Weatherite Building Services‘ Kitchen Ventilation Division advises kitchen operators on how to stay within the law and save energy costs.
Kitchen ventilation is one of catering's hottest issues, yet many in the industry may be unaware of current regulations. Many owners still don't understand the legal requirements for a ventilation system in their kitchens and are shocked when engineers tell them what they need to do to comply with today's standards and regulations.
Perhaps it's hardly surprising that caterers are confused when there is a multitude of ways in which kitchens need to comply with requirements for safety, energy usage and odour control. The legislation, introduced in 2001, for kitchens using gas-fired equipment to have the gas supply interlocked with the ventilation system has meant that their system may have to be modified or even replaced when gas equipment is renewed or up-graded. Requirements of Building Regulations, Town and Country Planning legislation, The Environmental Protection Act and Regulations/guidance relating to fire safety all need to be complied with. Reputable kitchen ventilation suppliers comply with HVCA Specification DW/172 which replaced their previous standard in 2005. This covers the specification for exhaust gas volume and requirements for the design, installation and maintenance of kitchen ventilation systems. Although this specification is advisory, an EC working group is currently formulating a European standard: much of the good practice advocated in DW172 is very likely to be incorporated so it makes good sense to comply now.
Energy and running costs One issue caterers don't need reminding of is the continuing rising cost of energy. It is worth bearing in mind that kitchen ventilation can and does have a major impact on a business's energy usage. Around 90% of kitchens use gas as the prime fuel source and with gas prices continuing to rise significantly, this is an area of great concern.
One of the main reasons caterers are reluctant to update systems is cost. Understandably, hard-pressed owners and operators tend to focus on the initial cost of the equipment and installation. However, when taking into consideration the overall life cost of ownership, a well-designed kitchen ventilation system can offer substantial savings in energy usage and maintenance and that means it could pay for itself in a relatively short period.
Safety Failure to provide and maintain adequate ventilation could invalidate your insurance. For example, our engineers have seen cases where fires have occurred in duct work due to inadequate grease filtration. Get your kitchen ventilation right, and you can save thousands. Get it wrong, and you could see your profit, even your business, literally going up in smoke.
Local Authorities are clamping down on establishments that emit odours outside of the restaurant and have the power to close down non-compliant kitchens. In some inner city areas, there is a zero tolerance approach so caterers need to make sure their ventilation system meets the regulations.
When it comes to solving odour control issues different cooking styles give different challenges. Whilst one of the more recent solutions to the problem is the inclusion of ultra violet lamps, other methods, such as special grease filters and electrostatic precipitators, usually have to be used in conjunction with them.
Heating and cooling
All kitchens need to be kept at a comfortable temperature in order to maintain comfortable and efficient working conditions. Make-up air to replace the extracted air needs to be provided, usually mechanically via fans. If this air is not pre-heated in winter or cooled in summer, it can cause discomfort and reduced efficiency in the working environment. In many kitchens, much of this supply treated air is taken straight out again through the extract, wasting a considerable amount of energy that could be reused.
The right ventilation system can help to minimise this problem, therefore saving energy. For example, waste heat recovery systems can help to reduce costs by pre-warming cold incoming air (from exhaust air) during the winter months.
For further information on Weatherite Building Services - Kitchen Ventilation Division call 01922 741 641 orvisit the company website >>