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Designing Around Comfort in Open Kitchen Concepts

Restaurants with an open kitchen design are more popular than ever. The ability to see food being prepared adds visual appeal and excitement to the dining experience. However, open kitchen concepts can lead to additional kitchen ventilation design challenges which must be taken into consideration.

In open concepts a lot of focus is placed on ensuring proper capture and containment in the hood. Exhaust hoods are generally placed in a much more vulnerable area, susceptible to cross drafts from the general ventilation system or those created by employee and patron movement near the hood. Extra care is given to dialing in the proper exhaust air-flow rates, supply air strategy and ensuring proper balance of the overall HVAC system. Often overlooked is comfort, both audible and space temperature.

Kitchen fans move a large amount of air, and that air moving through exhaust hoods and plenums can create noise in the dining space. One easy way to limit noise, while still ensuring the needed airflow during heavy cooking periods, is by using a demand controlled kitchen ventilation system (DCKV). Accurex’s Vari-Flow DCKV system reduces the sound of air movement by adjusting the speed of the fans to match the variable cooking demands.

Planning for patron and employee comfort is critically important in open concept kitchens. When sharing common space with the dining area, it’s important to ensure the ventilation equipment can handle the heat, smoke, and sounds that are typically hidden away in the kitchen. Make-up air is a key factor in achieving a comfortable space, and it is critical to have a clear understanding of comfort goals when designing the kitchen ventilation system.

Make-Up Air Unit Product Rendering

In a closed kitchen, make-up air units typically provide heating and/or cooling (often without humidity control) to the air being supplied back into the kitchen, while a secondary rooftop unit (RTU) often provides full conditioning of the dining space and limited conditioned air to the kitchen. For a closed kitchen, Accurex’s line of make-up air units provide heating and cooling with industry-leading airflow reduction in DCKV applications. In an open kitchen design, more priority is placed on the comfort of the entire space, demanding that the ventilation system be able to handle providing both temperature and humidity control to the shared space. 

Dedicated Outdoor Air System (DOAS) Product Rendering

There’s an efficient way to solve concerns in an open kitchen situation. The Accurex Dedicated Outdoor Air System (DOAS) units have the capacity to supply high amounts of fully conditioned air to the space, eliminating the need for individual kitchen make-up air and some, or all, of the dining RTUs. This saves both roof space and installation time. Accurex’s DOAS offers 16:1 burner turn-down capability on indirect gas heat and digital scroll compressors for cooling, allowing you to provide comfort with precise control. Additionally, low-sound condenser fans ensure DOAS units provide both thermal and audible comfort. DOAS is the perfect product for open kitchen areas because it’s able to handle the tempering and dehumidification requirements of both the kitchen and the dining area.
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