MINNEAPOLIS -- Supervalu here plans to install a ventilation control system for commercial kitchen hoods in eight new corporate stores under construction, and in future new corporate stores, according to Mike Bokenewicz, engineering designer for Supervalu.
In addition, he said, the wholesaler has decided to begin retrofitting some existing corporate stores with the system. Supervalu is also recommending the system for its independents, one of which plans to install it in a store under construction, said Bokenewicz. The adoption of the system was based on a one-store test.
The system, Intelli-Hood, from Melink, Cincinnati, uses temperature and optical senses to determine and set appropriate fan speeds in ventilation hoods over grills, broilers and other kitchen appliances used in in-store delis and bakeries.
By adjusting fan speeds, the system reduces energy consumption, both for treating (heating, cooling or dehumidifying) incoming air that replaces exhaust air, and for running the exhaust fans, said Bokenewicz. Two or three units are typically installed per store. He said the savings for an eight-foot or larger hood equates to a payback of between two and three years on the system, depending on utility rates.
"It modulates the amount of exhaust, so if you're not cooking, the fan slows down," said Bokenewicz. In the conventional scenario, he said, "a deli or bakery person starts cooking in the morning and turns on the hood and turns it off when he goes home, and in between, it's on full-speed all the time, regardless of the amount of cooking." The conventional process, he added, is very wasteful. "If you stand on the roof and see the warm air coming out of the building, you ask yourself, 'Is there a way to reduce this?' That's dollars going out the roof."
Bokenewicz said that a concern Supervalu had was whether the variable-rate exhaust system would meet state building-code requirements. However, a study conducted by the University of Minnesota for the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), since implemented in many state codes, alleviated that concern, he said.
Melink's Intelli-Hood system is also being employed by H-E-B, Wegmans, King Kullen, Shaw's, Big Y and Tesco, according to Steve Melink, president, who founded the company in 1987. The system is also used in restaurants, hospitals and schools. "Supermarkets are a great application for the system because the cooking is not steady state as much as in restaurants," he said.