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Information Needed to Assess Solar Hot Water for Restaurants

Lots of Dirty Dishes = Lots of Solar Hot Water (Photo: Flickr:Svadifari)

Last week, we discussed some of the basic information needed to design a solar hot water system for a Laundromat or laundry service. This week, we’re going to discuss restaurants.

But before we get into the logistics of a site assessment, let’s talk about the why solar hot water makes sense for restaurants and bars.

Saving money is always important, and solar hot water systems can significantly save restaurants money. Where?

The fact is that restaurants, bars, and commissaries just can’t function without steaming hot water to sanitize plates. So when you see hot steam emanating from the glasses, dishes, water glasses, wine glasses, pots and pans coming out of the dish washer, you’re also seeing money wasted.

Aside from saving on your gas or electric hot water bill, there’s also the added value of showing your customers that you’re green. So if you’re serving a healthy or organic menu, the curb appeal solar panels on your roof also says shows you’re committed to not only serving healthy food, but also serving Mother Nature. Enough said.

Restaurant Solar Hot Water Site Assessment – What we need to know.

Here’s a basic overview of what we need to know.

  • Who owns the building? If not you (or your franchise), you’re going to need permission from your landlord to install the solar collector panels on the roof.  The landlord may think that’s a good deal when he or see sees the numbers. Free Hot Water will help you with getting all the information your landlord will need.
  • Your type of dish washer. Every brand of dishwasher has specifications about how much water is used per load.
  • How many loads? It would help the estimate accuracy if your dishwasher employee could count how many loads are used during the course of a weekdays and weekends. We’ll also need to see how many bathrooms you have and kitchen sinks
  • Your gas bill. Taking into account the above and your gas powered kitchen stoves, grills, ovens, and heating systems, Free Hot Water can get a picture of your total restaurant gas usage. By seeing a year’s worth of your gas bill, our engineers can then estimate the portion of your gas bill that is used for water heating.
  • Boiler room location. As with any solar hot water system, our engineers will need to see where the gas powered hot water storage tank is located. The type of tank matters too. The room needs to be large enough to incorporate a solar hot water tank and heat exchanger. Of course, there also has to be access for pipes to reach the roof. If not, the solar hot water tank may have to be placed in another area.
  • Distance from storage room to the roof. To design an efficient system, hot water pumps will be involved. Free Hot Water engineers will need to know the distance from the storage tank area to the roof’s solar hot water collectors.

The best and most accurate way to know if solar hot water is right for your restaurant or bar is to get a free quote. It will only take a bit of time, and even if a solar hot water isn’t right for your restaurant now, at least you’ll have seen the numbers to know for sure.

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