NATIONAL REPORT—If you are looking to reduce water consumption in your kitchen and still have not implemented pre-rinse spray valves that conform to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005), now is the time to do so. Thanks to EPAct 2005, all spray valves sold today must have a flow rate of not more than 1.6 gallons per minute (gpm) at 60 pounds per square inch (psi).
According to Phil Germinario, director of marketing, sales and customer service for Niagara Conservation, Cedar Knolls, N.J., there was a time when these valves used 3 to 6 gpm.
“If you switch from a 3 gpm valve to one at 1.6, you will cut water consumption in half,” Germinario says. “You can save $300 a year to $1,000 a year on your bills. The return on investment can be pretty quick.”
“On average, a 1.6 gpm spray valve will save 50,000 gallons of water per year,” adds James Richardson, national programs and services manager for Niagara Conservation. “This is just a tiny piece of hotel and restaurant operations but it often gets overlooked. The savings, however, can be significant.”
Eva-Marie Fox, vice president of marketing for T&S Brass and Bronze Works Inc., Travelers Rest, S.C., says return on investment for water-efficient pre-rinse spray valves can be as short as just a few weeks in busy restaurants.
A Staple in Commercial Kitchens
Spray valves typically are used to clear off dishes, trays and other items before they are inserted into a dishwasher.
“They do the scraping for you,” Germinario says.
Pre-rinse valves are available in different styles and can use as little as 1.2 gpm. When shopping for these, it is important to not only consider flow rate but also cleanability time. The Food Service Technology Center in San Ramon, Calif., tests spray valves for both factors.
Niagara Conservation currently sells a stainless steel Power Rinser with a flow rate of 1.28 gpm and a cleanability time of just 17 seconds. It includes a standard dish guard bumper and five-year warranty. It is endorsed by the Green Restaurant Assn.
T&S Brass and Bronze Works, the inventor of the pre-rinse spray valve, sells several different models. The B-0107-C offers a flow rate of 1.24 gpm. The B-0108 (1.48 gpm) and B-0108-C (1.2 gpm) JetSpray valves use a jet-knife type spray to remove food. The Green Restaurant Assn. has endorsed the B-0107-C.
Pre-rinse spray valves not only save water, they also reduce energy and sewage costs as well. T&S Brass and Bronze Works estimates its B-0108-C, assuming usage of 750 hours a year, can reduce energy costs as much as $658 where electric water heaters are used.
In areas of the United States where water restrictions are in place, pre-rinse spray valves can be especially effective.
“Where we have seen a surge of interest is in drought-affected states like Texas, California and Florida,” Niagara Conservation’s Richardson says. “Utility companies have shown significant interest in these. They are the ones that can be an agent for market transformation.”
Glenn Hasek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.