Retrofitting Your Commercial Kitchen to Save Energy


commercial kitchen dish washing areaIt is often impractical to suggest replacing all commercial kitchen equipment with more efficient appliances. Do not be discouraged. There are still many other ways to save money and improve water and energy efficiency. Retrofitting old equipment with high-efficiency parts and accessories is a smart investment. Read on to learn about some simple retrofits with short payback periods.


Low-flow pre-rinse spray valves. Replacing a typical pre-rinse spray valve with a low flow device is probably the easiest and most cost-effective retrofit. It provides water, wastewater and energy savings, and the payback period is usually less than one month. If you run your spray valve daily for three hours or more, you can save more than $1,000 annually. » Learn More


  • LED lightbulbs. A simple move from incandescent bulbs to LED can reduce your lighting energy costs by as much as 90%. Although they cost more initially, LED bulbs can outlast 30 incandescent bulbs or six compact fluorescents. They are also the most eco-friendly lighting, since they use energy efficiently but do not contain mercury. » Learn More
  • Fluorescent lightbulbs. Replace overhead and appliance lighting with fluorescents. You can save about $30 for every bulb you change from incandescent to compact fluorescent. » Learn More
  • Occupancy sensors. In bathrooms, parking lots and walk-in coolers, install sensors that will turn off lights when no one is around.

commercial walk-in refrigeration


  • Door closers. Installing a door closer on your refrigerator is easy to do and prevents busy employees from accidentally wasting cold air.
  • Magnetic door gaskets. Replacing door gaskets with magnetic gaskets is a cheap way to maintain the seal on your refrigeration unit.
  • Strip curtains. Retrofitting your walk-in coolers with strip curtains helps maintain moisture levels and reduces the infiltration of heat by 75%. A strip curtain costs very little and typically saves a restaurant $100-$200 annually.
  • Anti-sweat door heater controls. Most anti-sweat door heaters for glass-door coolers operate continuously to prevent fogging. An anti-sweat door heater control senses the room conditions and adjusts the door heater accordingly, reducing door heating energy costs by 70-90%.
  • High-efficiency fan motors, Replace old fan motors with electronically commutated motors (ECMs). ECMs will use 67% less energy and will probably save you at least $156 per fan every year. Payback is less than a year.
  • Fan controllers. Evaporator fan controllers reduce the fan speed during the off cycle of your refrigerator’s compressor, and the payback is usually less than a year.
  • Display case covers. Install glass or acrylic doors or use an overnight cover on open display cases. A display case with doors uses almost 70% less energy than an open case.

Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning

  • Variable-speed hood fans. Installing variable-speed hood fans and adjusting the fan speed according to demand can cut the costs of ventilation by 30-50%. » Learn More
  • Duct seals or insulation. Sealing existing ducts costs very little compared to the amount of money you can save on heating and air conditioning. » Learn More
  • Window films and window awnings. Clear window films block both UV and heat radiation without blocking light, reducing cooling costs without increasing lighting costs. Awnings offer an even cheaper way to improve the efficiency of your air conditioning.
  • Programmable thermostats. Programmable thermostats. You can program a thermostat to automatically adjust during lulls and off hours. Also known as a setback thermostat, a programmable thermostat can save you 10% or more on your heating and cooling costs.

Water heaters

  • Pipe insulation. If your hot-water pipes are not insulated, they are wasting a lot of heat, which is making your water heater and AC work harder.
  • Heat recovery systems. You can purchase systems that recover heat from your exhaust air, drain water or refrigerant and reuse it to heat water. For every 10° of heat provided through recovery, you can save about $650 a year.

commercial kitchen sink

Sinks / Toilets

  • Faucet aerators. Simply put, faucet aerators insert air into the water flow, decreasing the amount of water used to span the same surface area. Each aerator offers annual savings of about $285 if you operate the faucet for one hour every day.
  • Water recovery systems. There are a variety of gray water recovery systems available for commercial use. Other systems that can save you on water bills include toilet tank sinks and water diversion systems, which can redirect water for your landscaping needs. » Learn More

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