In this interview with Richard Young, Senior Engineer and Director of Education at the Food Service Technology Center in California, we explore ways restaurants can literally save thousands of dollars on their energy bills in a year.

Food service operations are 5-10 times more energy intensive per square foot than other commercial businesses. Commercial kitchens are basically small factories with big energy needs. In a typical restaurant, roughly 1/3 of the energy is used in cooking and holding food, while another 1/3 is used for heating and ventilation. An additional 18% is goes into dish sanitation and hot water. Here are just a few examples of ways operators can save.


Electricity is an expensive energy source and lighting is a low risk, low cost way to save.

- If you have florescent lamps, replace T-12 lamps with the slightly smaller T-8 bulbs. This reduces energy and provides better quality light.
- Compact florescent bulbs are big energy savers. If concerned about the ambience of the light, try them in the back-of-house first.
- LED lights are also big energy savers, but quality varies.


Water costs are going up faster than inflation and you are charged up to three times for every drop of water used; the water cost, the sewage cost and the heating cost for hot water.

- Watch out for times when water is left running such as at the sink or the hose in the parking lot.
- Maintain your dishwasher.
- Wash full racks whenever possible.
- Watch for running toilets. A running toilet can cost up to a couple of hundred dollars a month. When replacing toilets, look at the 1.1 gallon per flush units.

Refrigerator & Freezer

- Maintenance is the key. A poorly operating freezer is wasting energy 24/7.
- Clean condenser and evaporator coils. This can save up to 50% on the operating cost of these units and keep them running at the proper temperature.
- Regularly check thermostats.

Learn many more ways to save energy at the Food Service Technology Center website,
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SaveThousands on your Energy Bill
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