Energy Efficiency and Your Bottom Line

Author:  Murray Meyer, Director - Product Management
Anyone who has paid a utility bill knows that when temperatures start heating up, so does their utility bill.  The fact is, refrigeration systems consume relatively high amounts of electricity.  Thankfully there are ways for savvy business owners and restaurant operators to control energy use and make sustainable choices without sacrificing performance.     
Making sustainable choices starts with minimizing energy use.  According to Canada’s ENERGY STAR® Guide for Commercial Kitchens, a baseline unit ice machine (remote condensing unit with a remote compressor) can consume 12,695 kWh annually.  To provide some context, in 2018 the average US home consumed 10,972 kWh.  That means a single ice machine could be using over 15% more electricity than your entire home! 
The good news is that there are excellent options available to reduce the use of energy during ice production.  The easiest way to start is to invest in ENERGY STAR qualified products.  Ice machines that qualify for ENERGY STAR are approximately 16% more efficient than standard products.  The equivalent ENERGY STAR qualified machine used in the example above would consume 11,219 kWh, saving the equivalent of nearly 2,600 passenger car miles in carbon emissions.  And not only does that mean saving energy and improving sustainability, but it also directly impacts your bottom line by saving money.    
Utility Incentives
Your local electric or natural gas utility can be a great resource for information on controlling your energy costs, and many also offer programs to incentivize their customers to purchase qualifying ENERGY STAR commercial kitchen equipment.  “Because of their high energy intensity, commercial kitchens present great opportunities for energy savings.  Since 2009 Consumers Energy in Michigan has been offering incentives to help businesses meet their energy and sustainability goals.  I strongly encourage business owners to purchase Energy Star products and to contact your local utility to see if rebates are available for foodservice equipment.” – Fred Alatalo, Business Energy Efficiency Operations Director, Consumers Energy.  Incentives for commercial ice machines vary widely by utility program, but where available, some can be worth several hundred dollars.  This is a great way to reduce the upfront cost of high efficiency equipment while saving on energy costs over the life of the equipment. 
“Time of use” programs are another incentive opportunity offered by some utilities.  These programs allow customers to benefit from reduced electric rates based on the time of day they use electricity.  Typically, customers are incentivized to use electricity at night, when demand is at its lowest.  One of the unique features of Indigo® NXT is the ability to program the machine to take advantage of these programs by producing ice overnight, when rates are at their lowest. The chart below shows a picture of the electricity rates from PG&E in California showing the difference in electricity costs during the day.
During “on-peak” hours, noon until 6:00pm, electricity costs goes up by .051 / kWh or (24%) from the “off-peak” hours. This cost difference can greatly impact the costs of owning an ice machine.  On a 500 lbs. machine you’d save approximately $300/ year in electrical costs. 
Protect Your Investment
When you invest in an ice machine, you’re investing in your business.  Protecting that investment with regularly scheduled preventative maintenance will help your machine run at its peak efficiency and may extend its operating life.  No one wants to work harder than necessary, but dirty ice machines work harder because over time air filters and coils can become clogged with dust and grime.  Even things like scale build up on the evaporator can result in more energy required during harvest.  Clean ice machines, well-ventilated and free from dust, scale and biofilm, produce ice more efficiently and use less energy in the process.  Factory authorized servicers are specifically trained on how to keep your equipment working as well as the day it was installed, and they know what to look for on a machine that may require service, before it goes out of commission.   
Lasting Commitment
Welbilt was recently awarded a 2020 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Sustained Excellence Award.  This is a prestigious award that is reserved for companies that go above and beyond the standard required to be an ENERGY STAR Partner.  Remarkably, this marked the 11th consecutive year that Welbilt earned this award and it demonstrates our sincere commitment to energy efficiency and sustainability.   Furthermore, Manitowoc is pleased to offer the widest selection of Energy Star qualifying ice machines in the industry.  Whether your goal is reducing your utility bill or maximizing your sustainability initiatives, know that Manitowoc will continue to you with innovative solutions to improve efficiency and performance. 
Posted: 4/21/2020 3:58:15 PM by Aaron Brix | with 0 comments

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