The Charger Blog

New Kitchen Equipment Makes Bartels Hall Greener

A new fume hood exhaust system in the kitchen in The Marketplace in Bartels Hall will significantly reduce the amount of natural gas and electricity needed to power the system.

April 9, 2019

By Laura Miller, Director of Energy & Sustainability

Image of Todd Dostal of Melink
Todd Dostal of Melink teaching Facilities staff how to use the new system.

For years, the University of New Haven has focused on improving energy efficiency. An energy opportunities group meets bi-weekly to discuss possible projects that would help decrease our impact on the environment. The group includes staff from Facilities who are experts in the systems that closely monitor each building.

During the summer of 2018, the group identified Bartels Hall as an energy-intensive building and performed a focused energy study on the kitchen. Each day, Bartels Hall might have as many as 180 visitors at one time. Approximately 500 meals can be served per day, totaling more than 180,000 per year.

We began by monitoring the kitchen exhaust hood fan motors for average power and runtime to estimate annual electric demand (kilowatts kW) and usage (kilowatt-hours kWh). Located directly above the stove tops and ovens, the fume hoods are designed to rapidly remove cooking vapors, and a makeup air unit helps keep cooking-related aromas, steam, and smoke from entering the dining space.

All of these processes use a lot of energy. To help reduce the energy used, a Melink Intelli-hood was installed in January. The system, which monitors heat and smoke levels from cooking, modulates the exhaust fan to optimize the volume of air required for ventilation. At the same time, the makeup air fan reduces the volume of outdoor air needed to be heated or cooled.

"This control system directly reduces Bartels Hall’s natural gas usage by the equivalent of the annual energy use of four homes. Additionally, the system results in an electric motor usage reduction equivalent to the annual electric use of approximately 11 homes."Laura Miller, Director of Energy & Sustainability

The total annual cost savings to the University is more than $16,000. Facilities staff applied for incentives from United Illuminating and Southern Connecticut Gas, receiving more than $16,000, meaning, this project will pay for itself in a year and a half.

This project is just one example of the many energy efficiency initiatives that the University completes each year. The hope is that this system will work so well that we will install it in our other campus kitchens, such as Westside’s Food on Demand operation, Bergami Hall’s Wow Café, and the kitchen in Harugari Hall.