Energy, Efficiency, Ergonomics

When one of the fastest growing chains in the country saw its water consumption—and corresponding costs—rise so much that the company was having trouble meeting building codes and obtaining certificates of occupancy, that company turned to Component Hardware and its Encore plumbing brand.

“They asked us to design something that would limit the amount of water going into the sink. It was a straightforward design, but it solved their problem. When you pay for water going in and going out, it’s a big cost,” says Lois Schneck, director of marketing at Component Hardware. “It’s app-specific, but this is just one example of how a customer comes to us with a problem and asks if we can solve it for them.”

Component Hardware is the umbrella for Encore Plumbing, Flame Gard, Keil (refrigeration) and Component Hardware brands. Operators are most likely to have direct interaction with Encore and Flame Gard.

A large part of the work of both brands deals with efficiencies—the more efficient things are in a kitchen environment, the bigger the savings. “Efficiency, economy and ergonomics,” says Schneck. “Efficiency is the amount of time something takes, economy is the savings (in water, energy, time), and ergonomics has to do with something being easy to use.”

“We focus on new products, things that add value for the customer and are easy to use, safe, efficient.”

Encore’s new pre-rinse system is one example. “A typical pre-rinse uses 3.3 gallons of water per minute. Our system has three positions of water flow, and one is just .59 gallons per minute, one of the most efficient in the industry. In addition to lower water and sewer bills, energy costs are lower, because the water is heated,” says Schneck. Less water, less water heated, equals lower hot water bills. “Switching from 3.3 gallons per minute to .59 gallons per minute can save thousands of dollars.”

Ergonomics come into play with the grip on the pre-rinse. “Our Kool Grip stays 30 degrees cooler than anyone else’s, and it’s easy to use for hours, even for someone who has a small hand,” says Schneck.

Component Hardware takes the same energy efficient approach with its LED lightbulbs. “We are the only company with LED lights listed by UL which can operate in temperatures up to 80 degrees Celsius. The lightbulb is designed specifically for a hood application,” says Schneck.

LED bulbs are replacing both incandescent bulbs, which won’t be available for much longer, and CFL bulbs, which don’t do well in heated environments. The CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) are less expensive compared to the LEDs, “but if you are changing them out every month, you are not saving anything,” says Schneck. “And the CFLs contain mercury. If the bulb breaks, there are strict guidelines on how to dispose of the bulbs. Some states have even banned CFLs from their landfills. It is a recycling issue that doesn’t exist with the LED bulbs. ”

Flame Gard’s LED-40000 bulb has an “Edison” base, so it screws into any outlet suited to an incandescent bulb. “Take out the old bulb and screw the new LED in; no electrician or adapter required,” says Schneck. The bulbs meet food code requirements for lighting work areas and are rated for up to 50,000 hours of life.

“LEDs are the future,” says Schneck, “We are developing a motion sensor light for walk-in coolers. CFLs don’t like the cold. They use a ballast that has to warm up, so lights are often just left on in walk-ins. The LED can screw right into the existing fixture, comes on instantly at full output.” The motion detection turns the bulb off when no one is in the walk-in, saving operators energy costs.

“We focus on new products, things that add value for the customer and are easy to use, safe, efficient, that meet code and are durable,” says Schneck. And all those things save money for operators.

For more information about franchising opportunities with Component Hardware, visit