Handbook of Water Use and Conservation by Amy Vickers, 2001.
4.4 Commercial Kitchens and Restaurants. Pages 267-277.
Topics include:
How to audit kitchens and restaurants
Food and drink preparation tips
Commercial dishwashers – use 2.5 to 8 gpm
Garbage disposals and scrapping troughs – use 3 to 8 gpm
Icemakers – use 20 to 90 gallons to produce 100 pounds of ice
Ice cream and frozen yogurt machines – use 2 to 3 gpm
Commercial and Institutional End Uses of Water by AWWA Research
Foundation, 2000.
This study presents findings of field studies of commercial and institutional (CI)
customers in five urban areas. The book provides a set of efficiency benchmarks
for five CI categories.
Web Resources
Evaluating the Water Savings Potential of Commercial
“Connectionless” Food Steamers by Fisher, Nickel, Inc., June 2005
This study confirmed that boiler-based steamers consume significantly more
water than compartment steamers that incorporate connectionless or boilerless
technology. Applying the nominal savings of 40 gal/hour per compartment, the
water-saving potential of a two-compartment steamer operating 12 hours per day
would be equivalent to an acre-foot of water use per year. For a single
compartment steamer that is operated 6 hours per day, the water savings
potential would be on the order of .25 acre-feet per year. Steamer-Field-Study-Final-Report.pdf
Water Efficiency: Water Management Options: Kitchen and Food
Preparation by North Carolina Department of Environment and
Natural Resources, April 1998
This is a six-page fact sheet with water use information about dishwashers,
faucets, ice machines and garbage disposals.
Water Efficiency Guide for Business Managers and Facility
Engineers, CA Dept. of Water Resources, 1994. Pages 67-69
Restaurant efficiency methods.
A Water Conservation Guide for Commercial, Institutional and
Industrial Users, New Mexico Office of the State Engineer, 1999.
Pages 38-40.
This book includes information about dishwashers, garbage disposers, ice
machines, and frozen yogurt and ice cream machines.
WaterWise Restaurant Program
The City of Austin offers a water audit of current appliance and practices for
restaurants. It includes retrofitting spray valves and faucet aerators. Rebates are
available to upgrade certain kitchen equipment. When completed upgrades and
repairs are made, the restaurants are listed on the City’s website.
CEE Commercial Kitchens Project, launched Dec. 2005
The objective of this project is to increase market share of water-efficient
products. Specifications have been set for the water savings potential for ice
machines and pre-rinse spray valves. More products will be added as
specifications become available.
The goals of the initiative are as follows:
Research opportunities for additional energy and water savings
opportunities in commercial kitchens and develop water/energy
equipment specifications.
Initiate and/or strengthen relationships with manufacturers, trade
associations, and key end-user associations.
Increase specification use in programs through promotion and
exploration of program approaches.
PG&E Food Service Technology Center
The PG&E Food Service Technology Center is the industry leader in commercial
kitchen energy efficiency and appliance performance testing. It has developed
over 30 Standard Test Methods for evaluating commercial kitchen appliance
performance, including steam tables, dishwashers and spray valves.
Best Management Practices
Wash full loads in rack-type machines.
Presoak and wash items in basins of water rather than under running
When possible, scrape or brush dishes and pots rather than using
running water or pre-rinse sprayers.
Replace pre-rinse sprayers with water-saving 1.6-gpm sprayers.
Install pressure reducing valves on dishwasher water supply lines when
the supply pressure exceeds the pressure recommended by the
Operate scraping troughs only during dishwashing operations.
Replace older dishwashers with new water and energy efficient models.
Turn dishwashers off when not in use.
Food & Drink Preparation
Install kitchen faucet aerators that use 2.5 gpm. Where higher flows are
needed, install a fingertip control valve for aerated or full-flow
Reduce or eliminate using water to thaw food. If food must be thawed
using water, reduce flows to the minimum needed.
Turn off continuous flows used to clean drain trays installed at
coffee/milk/soda/beverage islands.
Install hands-free or foot activated valves on faucets.
Food Disposers
Replace disposers with garbage strainers which use less water.
Use the minimum acceptable flow of water through the disposer.
Install electronic sensors to detect food in the disposer's grinding
Install solenoid valves to stop water flow when the disposer is off.
Reduce the amount of time the disposer operates, as well as the
amount of water used, for models with preset controls.
Replace old icemakers with air-cooled, water efficient models.
However, consider energy use too.
Use ice flake machines rather than ice cube machines. Producing ice
flakes uses less water.
Use softened water in ice cube machines to minimize bleed-off.
Collect spent cooling water from water-cooled ice machines and use it
for nonpotable purposes, such as mopping floors.
Building Maintenance
Repair leaks and malfunctioning equipment promptly.
Install low-flow toilets and faucet aerators in restrooms.
Replace fixtures with water-conserving models when they wear out.
More BMP Lists
CA Dept. of Water Resources:
Denver Water:
NC Dept. of Environment & Natural Resources:
Salt Lake City Dept. of Public Works:
From Commercial End Uses of Water.
Efficiency benchmarks for restaurants – p. 138
(excludes water use for cooling or irrigation)
130-331 gallons per square foot of building area in a year
6-9 gallons per meal served
20-31 gallons per seat per day
86-122 gallons per employee per day
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