Energy Efficiency in Restaurants

According to studies by the Department of Energy, restaurants use 5 to 7 times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings, such as office buildings and retail stores. Most commercial kitchen appliances are also very energy intensive.
As energy costs increase, investing in energy efficiency is a great way to protect your business against these rising prices.
By becoming more energy efficient, restaurants can help reduce issues and improve their own financial bottom line.
Click an equipment category to learn how to reduce operating costs.

Kitchen Equipment

Commercial kitchens are energy intensive, which means there are plenty of opportunities to reduce your energy costs. The most effective way to reduce your energy bill is through a combination of efficient appliances and good planning.

Replacing old equipment with Energy Star qualified (high efficiency) appliances can significantly reduce your energy costs. But if you want to maximize your savings you’ll need to cook smart as well. That means using the most efficient method to cook whenever possible. Use ovens instead of rotisseries; griddles instead of broilers, and design your menu to make maximum use of your most efficient equipment.
Energy Savings Tips

When it’s time to replace an appliance, consider Energy Star qualified appliances that will help reduce your energy bill.

Space Heating and Cooling

Customer comfort is an important part of the overall dining experience. Climate control is essential to your bottom line. Technological advances have increased the operating efficiency of heating and cooling equipment by as much as 50 percent over equipment manufactured in the 1970’s. The latest generation of HVAC equipment has built-in diagnostics that send you a text message to have your equipment serviced before it fails with a dining room full of customers.

Use these links to learn how to reduce your space heating and cooling costs.

Boiler Calculators Air Conditioning Calculators Insulation Calculators 
Energy Savings Tips

Programmable thermostats can reduce energy usage 10 to 30 percent. This reduction is achieved by limiting air conditioning operation during unoccupied hours.


The ventilation system’s function in a restaurant is to control temperature and humidity for space comfort, and control indoor air quality. While heating and cooling are seasonal, a forced air ventilation system is operated throughout the year. Without proper attention, a significant amount of your energy dollars may end up on the wrong side of the exhaust fan.

Running a fan at its required speed will save on electricity costs. A 10 percent reduction in fan speed can result in a 30 percent reduction in power requirements.

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Energy Savings Tips

Periodically inspect ducts to verify that all insulation is intact and adequate. A tight and well insulated duct system can easily prevent 20-25 percent energy waste.


Lighting accounts for almost 15 percent of the total energy costs for the average full-service restaurant. Like heat and cooling, lighting is an essential part of the dining experience, essential to attracting and keeping customers. Advances in LED and compact fluorescent lamp technology provide flexible lighting solutions that can reduce your lighting costs by up to 50 percent. In addition to providing the lowest cost per lumen, the average LED lamp life is more than twice that of comparably sized compact fluorescent bulbs.

HSB’s Lighting Calculator provides a simple way to estimate savings by replacing older inefficient lighting fixtures with newer technology.

Lighting Calculators 
Energy Savings Tips

Replace fluorescent T-12 fixtures (1.5” diameter lamps) with T-8 fluorescent fixtures/lamps (1” diameter). T-8 lamps typically use 40 percent fewer watts, produce 40 percent less heat. This is important in warmer months when air conditioning is needed.

Water Heating

Hot water for sanitation accounts for approximately 20 percent of a typical restaurant’s annual energy cost. By taking a few simple steps, such as insulating water piping and storage tanks, you can reduce your water heating bills significantly.

Lowering your hot water heating systems' energy consumption can mean big dollar savings while reducing your potential for equipment failure resulting in interruption of your operations.

Boiler Calculators Insulation Calculators 
Energy Savings Tips

Inspect all hot water lines and tanks to be sure that they are insulated.


Restaurants employ a wide range of refrigeration equipment including reach-in refrigerators and freezers, walk-in refrigerators, and ice machines. Advances in compressor and control technology have yielded refrigeration units that are more efficient and last years longer than older equipment. Consider replacing your existing appliances with Energy Star certified units to reduce your energy costs.
Energy Savings Tips

Clogged condenser coils can significantly reduce the efficiency of your refrigeration equipment by impeding heat transfer.


The energy consumed by business equipment is significant, but it also offers opportunities for saving money. Inefficient office equipment not only draws power, but also generates heat that can contribute to higher cooling bills. Implementing a power management program can help save money by disconnecting non-essential loads during extended times of non-use, e.g. coffee makers, water coolers, vending machine lights, registers, etc.

Without electric power, it’s tough to operate a business. A properly maintained electrical distribution system will reduce electrical energy usage as well as help protect sensitive electronic equipment from damage.

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Energy Savings Tips

Computers and other electronic equipment use electricity around the clock, even when not in use. Encourage employees to turn off all office equipment after hours and on weekends. Turn off lights, computers, monitors, printers and copiers at the end of each working day and ensure they’re not just in sleep mode.