OPERATORS WHO are dragging their heels about whether or not to buy sustainable catering equipment wont have that luxury of choice much longer as Europe moves to impose energy efficiency standards. Kathy Bowry talks to Keith Warren, director of the Catering Equipment Suppliers Association.
A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT Directive, the Ecodesign Directive, includes a series of implementing measures for catering equipment that will have a major impact on the industry which will shortly only be able to buy what the EU decides is energy efficient equipment.
The thought that paper-pushing bureaucrats in Brussels could be responsible for making such decisions willy-nilly for the UK hospitality industry is chilling but such fears are happily unfounded as we have some hefty experts at the steering wheel.
The Catering Equipment Suppliers Association (CESA) represents catering equipment suppliers in the UK, and in its capacity as the chair of the European Federation of Catering Equipment Manufacturers (EFCEM) it is heavily involved with developments in Europe that will scope out the future efficiency requirements of commercial catering equipment.
EFCEM represents national associations and companies in eight European member states and has worked with the commission to recommend test standards and processes that will retain the functionality of equipment but which will also ensure significant future energy and water use reductions.
The EFCEM energy efficiency standards group is drafting standards on all main categories of equipment and is developing a test methodology programme against which equipment can be tested, declaring an energy figure to provide a level playing field for operators to judge and compare equipment like for like based on the Directive standard, says Keith Warren, director of CESA. At the moment operators looking to buy equipment have to rely on suppliers and manufacturers figures on energy savings and performance.
Following a recent Consultation Forum in February, hosted by the EU Commission, the key product categories of refrigerated cabinets, blast chillers and walk in cold rooms were all under the spotlight. Later this year we are likely to see this work extended to ovens, hobs and grills, says Warren. He explains that as a rule of thumb the industry can expect a period 18 months of consultation after the forum. The consultation forum on hobs and grills is scheduled for spring/summer this year.
Warren says that in past years operators havent always been keen to buy into whole life cycle assessment: they dont look at whole life costs and capital cost can be the overriding decision on what is purchased.
More energy efficient equipment tends to be more expensive and although larger companies have embraced the concept because they have sustainability strategies built into their CSR commitment, and are looking at life cycle costing of the equipment, it has been harder to convince mom and pop type independents to adopt this approach. Under the Directive Implementing Measure, inefficient equipment will be prevented from being sold in the whole of Europe and there will be fewer products available.
The benefits of research and development carried out by manufacturers are really beginning to show in the new generation of energy efficient catering equipment. The recent innovation awards at Hotelympia for the equipment category attracted 70 entries, more than ever before which reflects the work that has been done, says Warren.