With up to 10% of the average restaurant’s operating costs going to energy, saving energy in restaurants can make a significant impact on any commercial kitchen’s bottom line. Here are simple strategies restaurateurs can implement to save on energy.

Upgrade to Energy Star Equipment

Making the change to Energy Star certified foodservice equipment can reduce energy costs between 15% to 30%. A collaboration between the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy, the Energy Star program makes it easy for business and residential consumers to compare and purchase high-efficiency appliances.

  • All Energy Star certified commercial kitchen equipment has been tested against energy saving standards
  • Businesses may quality for tax credits through the Energy Star program
  • Local utility companies often offer rebates on the purchase and installation of new Energy Star equipment

Commonly replaced commercial kitchen equipment include refrigerators, freezers, ice makers, dishwashers, ovens, ranges, griddles, fryers, steam cookers, hot holding cabinets and coffee makers.

Convert to Natural Gas

Natural gas for cooking is the top choice of chefs around the world. With higher temperatures, precise control, even cooking surfaces, and instant heat, 9 out of 10 professional cooks prefer it.

But there’s more to converting to gas than keeping your chef happy.

Natural gas appliances use around 1/3 of the energy an electric appliance requires to produce the same level of BTUs (British Thermal Units). These energy savings really add up when you calculate how many hours commercial kitchen equipment operates on a daily basis.

The energy saving power of natural gas doesn’t have to stop at commercial kitchen appliances, either. Converting HVAC systems to gas can make it cheaper to heat and cool both the kitchen and the dining area. Natural gas can also save money on hot water, space heating on the patio and more.

Install Energy-Efficient Ventilation Hoods

While ventilation hoods are not tested by the Energy Star program, they are certified through the independent Underwriters Laboratories (UL) for a number of qualifiers, including performance. UL-listed ventilation hoods generally require lower exhaust flows to operate, which means less energy is required to run the hood and less cooled air is sucked out of the kitchen, reducing the strain on the kitchen’s HVAC system.

Maintenance Matters

Keeping equipment in tiptop condition doesn’t just protect your business from breakdowns and down time, maintained equipment is more energy efficient.

  • Don’t wait to take care of small repairs
  • Clean equipment consumes less energy
  • Clean or replace filters regularly
  • Check the coils for dirt/debris on refrigeration units quarterly
  • Inspect all gaskets and seals annually and replace when cracked, worn or coming loose

Additional Energy Savings Products and Tips

Not all energy saving ideas are directly related to your equipment or energy source. Saving energy in restaurants can be as simple as installing strip curtains or a strip door on walk-ins can help keep cool air in and warm air out. Swapping out incandescent bulbs for LEDs can reduce energy use for lighting by up to 90%. And turning off certain types of equipment between uses can reduce energy consumption without interrupting your workflow.