Green & Sustainable Cooking Options for Extended Stay Hospitality

May 14, 2021

Extended stay hospitality properties; whether they be an economy, mid, or up-scale flag within the segment offer a kitchenette equipped with a 2-burner cooktop. This cooktop can vary considerably based on the age of the property as the brand specifications have become keenly focused on green and sustainable options that offer enhanced safety options for both the user and the facility.

Prior to the new normal of the global coronavirus pandemic, the extended stay hospitality segment continually outperformed other hospitality segments with respect to occupancy and revenue generation. The challenges that the pandemic unleashed on travel and lodging clearly illuminated and reinforced the bright spot that extended stay hospitality continues to maintain under these pressures.

The great recession presented new pressures on next generation products with built-in safety features; which is again being challenged by the economic pressures from the pandemic; but is unlikely to prevail as brand standards have progressed substantially in the period in-between these two events and sustainability, energy efficiency and user and facility safety play a greater role in product selection.

The specific type used for extended stay hospitality, resorts with kitchenettes, and time-share lock-outs has traditionally been of the compact electric 2-burner radiant type with knob control.

The cost differential between the coil units and the ceramic models has faced numerous challenges, and over the last twenty years, the delta between the two has narrowed, due to raw material costs of the cooktop components. Furthermore, the features, advantages, and benefits of the smooth top ceramic cooktops far outweigh the initial cost advantage of the coil type units; although this cost differential is not as great as it was twenty years ago.

In the final analysis, these ceramic cooktop value added features have promoted their use from "upgrade" to "brand standard" in the product selection process. The argument towards socially responsible and sustainable hotel construction is reinforced by the ceramic cooktop savings over their coil counterparts, as after-purchase savings are realized from greatly reduced maintenance, significant decrease of replacement parts purchases, and higher energy efficiencies of 10-15% over the coil models.

The benefits of the smooth top ceramic cooktops are well documented by green gurus and field tested and proven by hospitality developers, owners and operators. Coil cooktops present a false economy, given the post-purchase operating costs. Now the vast majority of the cooktops specified and installed in extended stay hospitality are radiant ceramic types at a minimum, with a nearly equal split between the knob control and digital touch control radiant cooktops. A much smaller percentage are using induction cooktops; which at this time are largely reserved for high-end boutique suites and not the mainstream extended stay type accommodation; largely due to the cost differential.

Based on their sustainability and value-added features, in the past 20 years +/-, ceramic cooktops have been the established "green" standard for extended stay hospitality, resorts with kitchenettes, and time-share lock-outs. This is attributable to their easy-to-clean smooth surface, absence of replacement parts excluding knobs, reduced maintenance needs, and savings from better energy efficiencies of 75-80% due to the enhanced transfer of energy from the cooktop surface to the bottom of the cooking vessel.

More recently, the new generation of compact 2-burner cooktops based upon induction technology is taking up residence at the inn. These induction cooktops offer even higher operating efficiencies of nearly 90%. And there is no need for built-in automatic shut-off as the heat is not generated by the burner at the surface, but rather through the excitement of electrons in the cooking vessel, where the heat is produced to cook the food. If the cooking vessel is not in contact with the electromagnetic generator under the ceramic panel, the cooktop is not using energy and is in resting mode.

In summary, each new generation of cooktop…radiant coil, smooth top knob and touch control radiant ceramic, and now induction cooktops have successively reduced or eliminated externally wired timers, cleaning time, user maintenance, and replacement parts, while at the same time have increased energy efficiency and/or enhanced user and facility safety. The upcharges for these technological advancements results in overall lower costs based on simplification and efficiencies of operation.