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Commercial Kitchen Equipment

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Switching to green commercial kitchen equipment can save your hospital tens of thousands of dollars per year in energy and water costs. Most commercial kitchen equipment lasts for 10 to 15 years. Over this time frame, any cost difference between energy-efficient and standard models (if there is a difference) will quickly be offset by energy savings, and any energy savings beyond the initial payback can add up to a lot of money when compiled for a decade or more.

  • Project Talking Points

    • An energy assessment identifies exactly how much energy is being used for each function of your commercial kitchen. You can find the largest potential savings in the aspects of your operation that consume the most energy.
    • According to the Food Service Warehouse, a kitchen outfitted with an entire line of energy-efficient equipment can use approximately 25% to 27% less energy than a comparable, standard-equipped establishment.
    • Commercial kitchen ventilation alone can consume up to 21% of the energy in an establishment.
    • A few small changes to the hood system in commercial kitchens can save your organization up to 60% on ventilation costs and also improve air quality for employees.
    • Improved data technology allows you to connect some cooking equipment to a PC for monitoring purposes, or to control cooking from a central location. Being able to pinpoint underperforming equipment is just one of the benefits of this technology.
    • Simply rearranging the kitchen can save significant money and energy in the long run without costing any money.
      • Push your equipment back. Moving your cooking equipment as close to the wall as safely possible will increase the distance to the edge of the ventilation overhang. This reduces cross drafts and the escape of fumes and heat.
      • Center heavy-duty appliances. Move broilers and open-burner ranges to the middle of the hood area to prevent the escape of fumes and heat from your cooking equipment. Place worktables and lower-duty appliances near the perimeters of the hood.
      • Group together similar-duty equipment. Place similar-duty equipment under separate fans and/or hoods. Since heavier duty equipment requires higher exhaust rates and larger overhangs, this will reduce energy consumption.
  • Triple Bottom Line Benefits

    Cost savings – green commercial kitchen equipment can save your hospital tens of thousands of dollars per year in energy and water costs. Most commercial kitchen equipment lasts for 10 to 15 years. Over this time frame, any cost difference between energy-efficient and standard models (if there is a difference) will quickly be offset by energy savings. Energy savings will add up significantly when compiled over the lifespan of the equipment.

    Environmental benefits – green commercial kitchen equipment use significantly less water and energy than standard commercial kitchen equipment.

    Health and safety benefits – green commercial kitchen equipment has state-of-the-art ventilation that results in improved air quality for employees.

  • Purchasing Considerations

    • Look for the ENERGY STAR qualification when purchasing. Commercial dishwashers that have earned the ENERGY STAR label are approximately 25% more energy-efficient and 25% more water-efficient than their conventional counterparts.
    • Consider turbo technology (also known as fan-assisted burner technology). This feature is designed to boost energy efficiency in cooking equipment by as much as 55%.
    • Equipment with automatic energy-saving mode offer improved electronic controls that can put functions to idle after a specific period of inactivity. Such features can be very useful for reducing energy consumption, especially in a busy commercial kitchen with no one to manually turn the machine off.
    • Programmable thermostats on ventilation equipment turn off air when it is not needed.
    • Buy with capacity in mind. Equipment that is too large will have a higher initial cost in addition to a higher operating cost. Assess the number of meals you serve per hour and be aware of your needs before you purchase.
    • Check for rebates.  Many types of energy-efficient commercial kitchen equipment have rebates available from utility companies. It pays to check with your local utility provider since rebates can cut a significant portion off initial costs.
  • How-To

    Conduct an energy assessment of your healthcare organization’s kitchen. Many utility companies offer free energy assessments. Although they usually do not interpret the data for you, simply seeing the numbers can help.

    Consult your organization’s Food Services and Construction departments and your capital equipment buyer for input before purchasing commercial kitchen equipment.

    Once purchased, proper use and maintenance are key ingredients to saving money with commercial kitchen equipment. Work with Food Services to set-up orientation and training on the new equipment to ensure hospital employees understand the correct methods for operating and maintaining the new “green” kitchen equipment.

  • Tools

    Small Business Association Energy Calculator:

    The following link provides access to calculators of various types of ENERGY STAR qualified commercial kitchen equipment. These calculators estimate the annual dollar and energy savings you can expect by installing an ENERGY STAR qualified version of refrigerators, dishwashers, vending machines, frying equipment, etc.

    Energy Star Energy Calculator


    If you have an ROI tool, calculator, or similar resources to share, please contact us or participate in the discussion below.


  • Case Studies

  • Regulations, Codes and Standards, Policies

    Kitchen equipment poses special hazards to the dietary worker. Some of these hazards include: hot surfaces, which may cause burns, cuts and lacerations from the use of sharp objects, becoming caught in walk-in freezers, electrical shocks from contact with frayed electrical cords, and amputations from unguarded equipment.

    • Employers must assess tasks to identify potential worksite hazards and provide and ensure employee use of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) [29 CFR 1910.132].
    • Employers shall require employees to use appropriate hand protection when hands are exposed to hazards such as cuts, lacerations, and thermal burns. Examples include the use of oven mitts when handling hot items, and steel mesh or Kevlar gloves when cutting [29 CFR 1910.138(a)].
    • Walk-in freezers must have a panic bar or other means of exit on the inside of freezers to prevent trapping workers inside [29 CFR 1910.37].
    • Ensure electrical equipment shall be free from recognized hazards [29 CFR 1910.303(b)(1)]. See Electrical Safety.

    Cross reference codes and standards:

  • Cross References: LEED

    LEED 2009 for Healthcare: New Construction & Major Renovations:

    • Energy and Atmosphere, Credit 1, Optimize Energy Performance, 1-24 Points
    • Water Efficiency, Prerequisite 2
    • Water Use Reduction, Food Waste Systems, Credit 1
    • Water Use Reduction, 1-3 Points

    LEED 2009 for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance:

    • Energy and Atmosphere, Prerequisite 1, Optimize Energy Performance
    • Energy and Atmosphere, Credit 1, Optimize Energy Efficiency Performance, 1-18 Points
    • Water Efficiency, Prerequisite 1, Optimize Energy Performance, 1-5 Points

    LEED for New Construction v2.2:

    • Energy and Atmosphere, Credit 1, Optimize Energy Efficiency Performance, 1-10 Points
    • Water Use Reduction 20%, Required 2
    • Water Use Reduction 30%, Required 2
  • Cross References: GGHC

    GGHC Operations v2.2 2008 Revision:

    • Facilities Management, Prerequisite 1, Energy Efficiency Best Management Practices: Planning, Documentation & Opportunity Assessment
    • Facilities Management, Credit 1-1.15, Optimize Energy Efficiency Performance: Energy Star score, 1-15 Points
  • PIM Synergies

  • Education Resources

    If you have any information or resources to contribute, please contact us or participate in the discussion below.

  • More Resources

  • PIM Descriptors

    Supply Chain

    Level: Intermediate

    Category List:

    • Food Services
    • Products

    PIM Attributes:

    • Energy
    • Waste Reduction
    • Water

    Improvement Type:


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