White Castle Solves An Industry-Wide Problem (With A Little Help From Trane)
White Castle Restaurants, famous for its mouth-watering hamburgers, faced the classic restaurant dilemma. Poorly ventilated
kitchens can drive cooks and employees from the cooking areas, leading to production delays, quality problems, increased employee turnover,
and ultimately reduced repeat business. (See ASHRAE Journal “Keeping Cooks in the Kitchen”, by Brown and Van Straten, June 2003). But
because significant amounts of outside air are needed to make up for kitchen hood exhaust, comfort heating and cooling costs can shoot
through the roof. White Castle wanted a way to improve indoor air quality while reducing energy consumption and costs without making
customers and employees pay for the savings with their comfort.
Trane teamed with Steve Brown at LC Systems, a Dublin, Ohio manufacturer of commercial kitchen ventilation and replacement air
units, to develop a new restaurant rooftop unit based on Trane’s popular Voyager™ and Precedent™ packaged platforms. What was born from
this partnership was the new Total Kitchen™ HVAC system. This revolutionary new system solved the problem by integrating traditional
heating and cooling with kitchen ventilation. It uses 100-percent outdoor air to condition the space and replace the air exhausted through
the kitchen ventilation system. It also features fully modulated direct- or indirect-fired heating and modulated cooling for superior
temperature and humidity control.
The results of this new system speak for themselves. The Total Kitchen HVAC system requires 35-percent less airflow than the
old technology while still delivering effective kitchen exhaust. According to Brown, the new units are up to 25 percent more economical to
operate and maintain. Jeff Lynch, White Castle’s Project Engineer, has noticed the difference, “We are achieving better control of space
humidity, temperature and energy costs.” But saving money is only half the equation, how well did they perform? “These designs are the most
comfortable of any we have installed or tested,” Lynch reported. This project proves that saving on energy costs and improving comfort are
not mutually exclusive endeavors. At least not when Trane gets involved.
White Castle Restaurants, famous for mouth-watering hamburgers, claims many firsts including being
the first fast-food hamburger chain ever, the first to sell a million hamburgers and the first frozen fast
food for sale. After 80 years in business White Castle now has 380 restaurants across the United States,
well-known for high quality food and customer service.