As you step inside the gorgeous looking lobby of a top restaurant, the first thing that hits you is the wafting aroma of finely cooked food. Or, at times, it could also create a nauseating effect, putting off many a customer.
The hotel or restaurant operations need to understand something just more than this odours phenomena. Energy efficiency has become a priority in almost every industry in the last decade; yet sectors such as foodservices, hospitality, healthcare and education have been relatively slow to adopt the culture of engineered exhaust systems and electronic control systems that enable kitchens to optimize the amount of energy they use. This is the biggest leaking bucket of them all. Many a hotel company has grappled with this invisible monster and a very few of them have been able to plug this somewhat effectively.
In any hotel, the food production area generates a lot of heat, grease and the aromas. When the dissipating heat, grease and food aromas are not led out of these kitchen spaces effectively, they mix and spread all over spaces such as the restaurants and the lobbies of the hotels. There are special equipments which are either Exhaust Hoods or Ventilated Ceilings. While the Exhaust Hoods are conventional and traditional, the Ventilated Ceilings are fast gaining ground as they provide for better efficacies, hygiene sanitation and can add height in work spaces which many a time feel cramped in volume. Another very interesting use of Ventilated Ceilings is in Display Kitchens where the Interior Designers work is actually showcased without any visual obstructions, thus enhancing the customer experience. The Ventilated ceiling appears to work in the background keep all under it and around it smiling.
Commercial kitchen hoods are a vital part of any kitchen and manufacturers are improving energy efficiency continually. The technology underlying the high performance kitchen concept has improved remarkably over the years, enabling an operator to monitor remotely to view the operational status of energy consuming system in kitchen hoods.
A kitchen ventilation hood traditionally operates at 100 percent of the design air flow rate during the entire operating time. Engineered Hoods Demand Controlled Ventilation is the first truly intelligent, responsive and completely flexible Demand Controlled Ventilation system. Engineered Hoods Demand Controlled Ventilation has the unique ability to adjust every canopy based on the kitchen equipment's activity. This innovative Demand-Controlled Ventilation (DCV) system adjusts every canopy according to the actual activity of the kitchen equipment, thus in a totally independent manner. The Engineered Hoods Demand Control Ventilation system can achieve energy savings of up to 50 percent.
Because kitchens are a huge consumer of energy and have high operating costs they are an excellent area to apply technical innovations to improve energy efficiency and reduce operating costs. The results of the real-time monitoring carried out at the Nikko Hotel, Mexico (Teppanyaki restaurant) are good examples of energy saving with Capture Jet™ and Engineered Hoods Demand Ventilation technologies. A combination of several major benefits: up to 50 percent reduction in energy consumption within an audacious architectural design, low emission levels at the discharge point, best level of hygiene and fire safety. This means a significant energy saving, which could equal up to extra 5,000 meals served in a typical restaurant per year. These savings are increased by the ones gained on the energy consumption of the fans. The Engineered Hoods Demand Ventilation system continually adjusts the speed of the fan and the balancing dampers so that all the exhaust plenums have the exact airflow they need all the time. A word of caution: Engineered Hoods are manufactured with strict compliance to the various agencies internally that evaluate these. It is a safe practice to purchase Engineered Hoods that deliver rather than opt for custom fabricated local hoods.
Ventilated ceilings are suitable for all kitchens: closed, open or of the show cooking type. They represent a flexible and aesthetically pleasing solution that harmoniously combines several functions: extraction, air supply, lighting, and a suspended ceiling. The use of ventilated ceilings allows freeing the entire kitchen from the canopies volumes. The all space then benefits directly from the day light, in addition to the integrated uniform and direct lighting. The visual comfort and the impression of size are incomparable. All components are designed to guarantee optimal hygiene levels and easy maintenance in accordance with HACCP recommendations. Ventilated ceiling is suitable for central kitchens and also for all closed cooking areas or show kitchens.
Ventilated ceilings are also based on Capture Jet® installed flush to the ceiling surface, which helps to guide the heat and impurities towards the extract sections. Supply air is delivered into the kitchen through a low velocity unit. Air distribution significantly affects thermal comfort and the indoor air quality in the kitchen. Compared to traditional ventilated ceilings, the Capture Jet™ technology still allows you to save money. The 15 percent reduction in exhaust airflow rates alone reduces the energy consumption used to heat and cool the fresh air blown inside the kitchen. Besides, ventilated ceilings are equipped with light beams which provide a uniform lighting on the entire surface area of the kitchen. This unique combination gives a real impression of space whilst creating exceptional visual comfort for staff members.
As mentioned, improved working conditions lead not only to increased productivity in the workplace but also contribute to a reduction in staff turnover and sick leave. In addition, a better working environment can forge a more cohesive workforce and as such labour costs are reduced. Even if it's difficult to assess in real terms the actual profitability of these improvements, the results are undeniable.
Author: Ram Vittal Rao belongs to the “now” generation of highly qualified and sought after Hospitality Operations Design Consultants. A science graduate from Mysore University and an Oberoi School of Hotel Management product he has had the opportunity to do high quality and innovative hospitality designing for over 34 years. Having worked with the Oberoi hotels groups for over two decades, he has to his credit designed over two hundred hotels, restaurants and flight catering projects. He is the only Indian Consultant to have designed the Rastrapathi Bhawan (The residence of the President of India) & the residence “ Antilla” of Mukesh Ambani, as a Hotel Design Consultant. He has to his credit completed & ongoing projects in India, U.A.E., Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Maldives, Bhutan and Mauritius. He and his team at Vital Concept Design Pvt Ltd with over 100 combined years of experience have worked with Indian & International Hotels for all their Hospitality Operations Design requirements. His contributions and knowledge go way beyond the aspects of Hospitality facilities designing, he is also well experienced when it comes to the development of restaurant food concepts.He also teaches Hospitality Design at the Institute of Hotel Management Pusa New Delhi and at the Taj Group of Hotels: Centre Of Excellence. He is the Principal Consultant at Vital Concept Design Pvt Ltd and is based in New Delhi.