NATIONAL REPORT—Earlier this year, in September, Green Lodging News reported on a field study of rack and flight conveyor warewashers conducted by Pacific Gas and Electric Company Food Service Technology Center (FSTC). That study documented the energy and water savings and economic benefits of replacing an old inefficient warewasher with a new efficient or best-in-class warewasher. In this article Green Lodging News takes a look at what the leading suppliers of warewashers are currently offering and what makes their machines efficient from an energy, water and chemical perspective.
Perhaps with no other water consuming machine in a hotel has there been so much progress made in the last decade than with warewashers. David Ciampoli, V.P. of Sales for Meiko, used flight machines as an example. “Ten years ago a flight machine would use 500-plus gallons an hour,” he says. “Five years ago, they went to 90 to 150 gallons. In the last five years that has dropped to 60 gallons/hour.”
Warewashers fall into one of three categories of efficiency: standard, high (Energy Star) and super efficiency (above Energy Star). Sherri Swabb, Director of Marketing & Product Development for Hobart North American Warewash, says, “Energy Star has become a bigger thing. You have to have it just to be considered.” According to the EPA, Energy Star certified commercial dishwashers can save businesses an average of $3,000 a year on their energy and water bills, depending on product type.
Waste Heat Recovery
In recent years suppliers have figured out ways to best recover waste heat during the wash and dry process. Meiko’s M-IQ series of rack conveyors is one example. An innovative airflow management system redirects heat from the clean end to the soil end—keeping dirty air away from clean dishes. The warm waste air is then used to preheat the incoming rinse water, reducing energy costs and cooling the exhaust air. Hobart’s CleR Conveyor-Type warewasher utilizes Advansys Energy Recovery technology. Water vapor is condensed to preheat the inlet water, reducing energy consumption. CleR machines also include an auto-timer to save energy, tanks designed to retain water temperature, cascading water system (on multi-tank models) to save water, energy and detergent, and Power Scrapper designed to reduce water, energy, detergent and labor.
Meiko’s Ciampoli says improvements in machine insulation means machines give off far less heat and are much quieter as well. Less heat in the kitchen means lower air cooling costs. In regard to chemical savings with Meiko machines, Ciampoli adds, “In large warewashers, water flows from the clean end to the dirty end. We filter the water in each tank and move it from one tank to another. We remove that particulate. Cleaner water uses less chemical. We are constantly backflooding the water and removing the particles of food. You don’t have to clean the unit as often which cuts down on labor.”
Champion Industries offers a wide variety of warewashers for different situations. Its DH5000 Ventless Heat Recovery High Temperature Hood-type Dishwashing Machine is Energy Star Qualified and has a cold water feed only. Heat and water vapor is removed at the end of the cycle while recovering the normally exhausted heat and transferring it to the required 70°F rise booster. No vent hood is required.
According to Champion, its 44 DR Series of conveyor warewashing machines offers the lowest water consumption in its class with less than .54 gallons per rack. The 40°F rise booster only requires 12 kW and 70°F rise is only 22 kW. All wares are fully rinsed with more than 300 gallons per hour while actual fresh water consumption is only 112 gallons per hour.
CMA Dishmachines offers a variety of different types of machines, most of which are at least Energy Star certified. Its Model EST 44 Tall conveyor machine, for example, uses just .46 gallons of water per rack of dishes.
‘Green & Clean’ Warewashers
Electrolux Professional North America’s “green & clean” warewashers are available in hood type, undercounter and pot and pan. The complete Electrolux warewashing range is certified Energy Star 2.0. Electrolux Undercounter warewashers feature a rinse water consumption up to 5 percent lower than the Energy Star limit (0.86 gallons per rack) and an idle energy rate up to 44 percent lower than the Energy Star limit (0.5 kW). The company says its hood type warewashers offer 69 percent energy savings, 25 percent detergent savings, and 4.5 percent water savings compared to other machines on the market. The steam generated during the wash cycle is captured and its energy is used to pre-heat the incoming cold water. An automatic de-lime cycle keeps boiler, hydraulic circuit, heating elements, nozzles and washing chamber completely free from scale build-up thus guaranteeing high efficiency, low energy consumption and lower running costs.
Electrolux pot & pan warewashers feature a rinse water consumption up to 43 percent lower than the Energy Star limit (0.58 gallons per sq. ft) and an idle energy rate up to 22 percent lower than the Energy Star limit (1.2 kW).
On some of its warewashers, Insinger Machine Co. offers a Ventless Reclamation System (VRS). According to Insinger, unlike other heat recovery systems, the VRS utilizes environmentally-friendly refrigerants to recapture and reuse wasted heat and end-users can save up to $7,500 annually in energy costs. The warewasher does not require a hood, saving additional money on the cost of hood hardware and installation.
According to Jackson Warewashing Systems, its DynaTemp door-type machine is rated at only 0.69 gallons of water per rack—the lowest water consumption machine available in its class. The company’s RackStar 44 Conveyor offers the best water usage in the company’s conveyor class, utilizing just 0.35 gallons per rack. According to Jackson, “Less water usage means less detergent, sanitizer, and rinse aid required in each cycle, saving you chemical costs. Finally, using less water enables the RackStar to utilize a smaller tank and booster heaters, lowering overall energy costs for years to come.”
Important Purchasing Advice
When looking for a new warewasher, Hobart’s Swabb says, “Try to get a feel for the volume you will have through your site and how you will wash pots and pans. What is the ware that you are really going to wash with this machine? Buy what you need. We want you to find the right machine for your setting. What physical space do you have? Absolutely monitor your chemicals. If you have got hard water in your area, it makes a difference. Know what your water hardness is. If it is above 5 grains look at getting a water softener dedicated to the machine.”
Once a warewasher is up and running, it is important to de-lime it, Swabb says. “Once those heating elements get built up, they take longer to heat up. You can kill a booster heater with scale as well. Machines can let you know when they need to be de-limed.”
Swabb concludes, “We like to look at the total cost of ownership of the machine. The machines last seven to 10 years. They can last 20 to 30 years. As a business we look at the long-term costs of the machines. We want to be partners with our customers.”
Meiko’s Ciampoli emphasizes taking the time to learn what technology and innovations are available. Otherwise, money could be easily wasted. “Would you buy a 1990 version or 2016 technology?” he asks. “If you are making a $100,000 machine buy—a machine without a blower dryer, waste heat recovery and insulation—it is a mistake.” A water-efficient machine, by default, will use less chemicals, Ciampoli adds.
Ciampoli says more than 50 percent of states offer some type of rebate for warewashers—based on electrical savings for the most part. There are rebates in the western United States for water conservation.
Also be sure to check out Fagor Industrial.
Glenn Hasek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.