HVAC design for restaurants has more requirements compared to the design guidelines of the standard non-food preparation commercial facilities. Nonetheless, like any other conventional HVAC system, they have a 2-section process. Simply put, restaurant HVAC design has a make-up air system to allow outdoor air into the facility and a separate heating/ cooling device to condition this air. 

In addition, the commercial kitchen MEP design has exhaust systems that are made up of several interdependent units. They also include packaged rooftop kitchen hoods, exhaust fans as well as make-up air units. An effective commercial kitchen exhaust system gets rid of grease-laden steam, heat, cooking vapors, and particulate matter. 

These HVAC units have to operate within certain parameters to maintain optimal performance. This enlightening blog post will look at the commercial kitchen ventilation design guidelines for restaurants! 

Let’s get started! 

What is a commercial Kitchen HVAC system? 

A restaurant HVAC unit refers to a device that controls air conditioning, heating, and ventilation in various restaurants. The system promotes proper ventilation and air circulation in space and controls the indoor temperature. 

In most cases, a restaurant HVAC system is made up of various parts. This includes; a furnace for heating, ductwork for hot and cold air circulation, and a ventilator for improving air circulation. Also, they may include an air conditioning device for air cooling and a thermostat for controlling the restaurant’s temperature. 

Some of these restaurant MEP design components are the same as the ones featured in a home’s HVAC system. Size is the main difference between the restaurant HVAC system and the home HVAC unit. In general, restaurant HVAC systems are larger than home HVAC units since they serve larger areas. 

HVAC load in restaurants accounts for about 30% of the facility’s total energy consumption. While the commercial kitchen ventilation system may account for up to 50% of that HVAC load, depending on the restaurant layout. This makes CKV one of the largest energy-consuming users within a restaurant facility.

Basic HVAC design requirements for Restaurants 

  • Cooling 

Inconsistent temperatures can cause your restaurant’s profits to decrease because of things like high energy costs, customer uncomfortability, and reduced staff productivity. For that reason, it’s important to consider both external and internal impacts when creating a restaurant MEP design. 

  • Fire prevention/ suppression 

Some city, county, and state building code requirements dictate that HVAC design for restaurants should include fire prevention systems. These systems can either use dry chemicals or inert gas to extinguish any fire that may occur in the facility. Make sure the system is inspected and maintained regularly to keep it in good condition. 

  • Make-up Air 

A restaurant should have an adequate amount of air exchanges between the indoor space and outdoor. Insufficient air exchange will cause poor air quality, slamming doors, drafts, and reduced energy efficiency. 

  • Air quality 

The cooking process produces grease, smoke, and gas, which are both harmful and unpleasant. For these reasons, it’s important to consider the placement of vents, cooking appliances, exhaust fans, and hoods when creating a commercial kitchen MEP design. Coordinating these units will improve the efficiency of your restaurant’s HVAC system and improve air quality. 

Commercial Kitchen MEP design goals 

Over the years, the main goal of HVAC systems has been to efficiently provide comfortable and safe environments. However, the HVAC design process continues to improve the codes in effect to ensure the energy efficiency of the equipment and HVAC system operation. Most importantly, this is intended to ensure occupant comfort, improved air quality, and adequate ventilation. 

Kitchen Exhaust hoods 

Exhaust hoods are available in different styles and have various make-up air combinations. This makes them generate more controversy in the foodservice equipment industry than any other equipment out there. In addition, the construction features and style of an exhaust can affect its exhaust rate. In that regard, the exhaust hood’s capacity is usually measured in cfm (cubic feet per minute). 

Commercial Kitchen ventilation and HVAC design 

The most important aspect in commercial kitchen ventilation design is determining how much ventilation air can be used as transfer air. HVAC systems for restaurants should apply the basics of commercial kitchen ventilation during the design process to fulfill its requirements. However, that will need a good understanding of the cooking appliance preferences and the owner’s menu. 

Note, the CKV requirements and details about the kitchen equipment may change throughout the MEP design phase. In addition, the information needed by other design team members may need early estimates of some parameters. More notably, as you continue, further design improvements that affect make-up air and exhaust system requirements will come into play. 

Final words 

Having adequate ventilation in your restaurant is important as it affects your employees’ and customers; health & safety. Besides, studies demonstrate that things like higher kitchen temperatures can lead to reduced productivity. 

That said, it’s important to ensure that your restaurant MEP design meets the above guidelines to keep your establishment running smoothly. 

If you’re building, renovating, or have concerns with your restaurant HVAC system in California. Contact Innodez. Our skilled and knowledgeable technicians are experienced in maintaining, designing, and inspecting commercial HVAC systems! 

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