Josh Gibson is executive director of the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington Education Foundation. Comments or questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. His article on Green Kitchen Audits appears in the September Foodservice Monthly and is presented here as part of an ongoing series of features from the current issue.
foto: The use of the stocked rolling cart at Roosevelt High School limits the number of energy wasting trips into walk-ins.
RAMW-EF and NRA Provide 'Green Kitchen' Audits to Local Schools
The staff in DC’s public schools’ culinary teaching kitchens
are used to being on the providing end of education. But, over the past two
months, the tables have been turned and the teachers have become the students.
The subject matter? How to design and run a “green” kitchen.
Through a partnership of the National Restaurant Association
and the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington Education Foundation
(RAMW-EF), the teaching kitchens at two DC schools, Roosevelt Senior High
School and Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School, underwent an
informal “green” kitchen audit. RAMW-EF coordinated the logistics for the
exercise, and the National Restaurant Association conducted the audits.
Wearing the “green eyeshade” for the visits was Chris Moyer,
manager of the NRA’s Conserve: Solutions for Sustainability. Through Conserve,
Moyer has visited more than 100 restaurants in nearly a dozen states that are
embracing the environmental movement.
“Making your operations more sustainable is fundamental in
order to be more profitable,” says Moyer.
“It started for me with a dripping faucet. Once I saw the financial
benefit to doing the right thing – not to mention the amount of energy and
water savings on my P & L report – I was hooked.”
During his kitchen visits, Moyer could have been mistaken
for a Health Department inspector. He turned the sinks on and off, flipped each
light switch, peeked in each refrigerator and oven, and even sought out the
janitorial supply closets.
The kitchens at both Roosevelt and Carlos Rosario, both
built in the past couple of years, passed their audits with flying colors.
Nonetheless, Moyer had some suggested changes for each kitchen that would be
easy, inexpensive, and impactful to implement.
aerators on all hand washing, restroom and utility faucets (by reducing
water flow slightly, an aerator can save thousands of gallons of water a
all dripping faucets
motion/occupancy sensors on all lights in low-traffic areas. Lights will
automatically switch themselves off when the kitchen, a storage closet, or
the restroom is empty.
kitchen lights on multiple switches (if possible). It makes no sense to
light the front of house in the morning if you don’t open until the
sure all gaskets for refrigerators and freezers are clean and in good
repair. Keep the cold air inside and the warm air stays outside. Clean
refrigeration coils routinely.
curtains in walk-in refrigerators. Moyer recommends swing curtains over
dangling strip curtains for cleaning and sanitation purposes.
in rolling cart to be used the walk-in cooler. Reduce trips and times you
need to open walk-in doors by taking out everything you will need at one
time (or less times rather than making multiple visits, reopening the door
appliances when not in use or put on power strips that can be switched off
easily. (especially receipt printers, chargers, coffee machines and
side panels on cooking hoods so they ventilate just the cooking area, and
not the entire kitchen
Moving forward, RAMW-EF will work closely with the NRA’s
Conserve program, so that any future teaching kitchens that the Foundation has
a part in designing incorporates green principles from the start. Moyer points
out that kitchen staff who have worked in a “greener” kitchen become
evangelists for the cause, with future employers “picking their brains” for
advice on how to implement money (and environmental) saving measures in their