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It takes a lot of energy to create a sumptuous meal. Restaurants and commercial kitchens are among the most energy-intensive businesses. Not surprisingly, cooking accounts for half the energy used in restaurants.

For restaurant owners or operators, there are many ways to maximize your energy dollars and keep guests and staff comfortable without spending a lot of money. Now that sounds like a recipe for success.

First steps: simple ways to get started

Turn-it-down times

Turn off lights, dishwashers, heat and cooking equipment overnight.

Make a checklist

Provide a checklist for staff that identifies the appliances and areas to be turned off at closing time.

Limit preheating time

Cut the preheating time for cooking equipment. Few appliances need more than 30 minutes to warm up.

Operate at the right temperature

Save energy and ensure a safe kitchen by taking the time to do a regular thermostat check and calibrate the temperatures of your appliances (e.g. fridges, freezers, dishwashers and ovens).


Upgrade to energy-efficient equipment

When purchasing new kitchen equipment, choose energy-efficient models. Incentives from FortisBC can offset costs.

Look for energy-efficient cookware

Heat for cooking is mainly lost in the transfer from burner to vessel. Choose well-designed cookware for quicker heating time, ease of cooking and durability.

Take cover

When practical, cover pots while cooking to reduce heat loss.

Load ovens and keep doors closed

Fully load ovens when using them. To ensure oven doors close tightly, tighten hinges and replace seals.

Maximize ventilation

Make ventilation fans work more efficiently by grouping heavy-duty appliances under the centre of the hood. Push appliances against the wall to maximize overhang.

Add side panels

If your kitchen is hot and smoky, add side panels to the ventilation hood. They’re inexpensive and can relieve the cooling load of your HVAC system.

Install demand-controlled ventilation

When building a new kitchen or replacing an exhaust system, consider demand-controlled ventilation. Sensors in the hood activate the fan only when needed. While expensive, one restaurant found that with 75 per cent energy savings, it had a payback period of one to two years.


Shut doors on walk-in coolers and freezers

Train kitchen staff to shut cooler and freezer doors when they exit to prevent the loss of cooled air, saving the HVAC system from having to work harder to reheat the surrounding area.

Install vinyl strip curtains

If shutting cooler doors isn’t always practical, install vinyl strip curtains to keep cool air in.

Decrease leaks

Inspect doors of walk-ins regularly to make sure they’re aligned and closing tightly.

Clean the coils

Dirty evaporator and condenser coils make refrigerator motors work harder, so clean them to improve energy efficiency.

Water heating

Invest in a high-efficiency water heater

Replace an older water heater with a high-efficiency model. New water heaters are more efficient and can reduce gas consumption. FortisBC's financial incentives can help make switching easier.

Insulate tanks and pipes

Insulation reduces heat loss.

Fix leaks promptly

One leaky faucet, dripping tap or leaking dishwasher can waste a significant amount of water per month.

Go low-flow

Install faucet aerators and motion-sensor activated taps in washrooms to save on hot water.


Upgrade to a high-efficiency dishwasher

Purchase an ENERGY STAR® rated model. Incentives from FortisBC can offset costs.

​Install low-flow spray valves

​Low-flow units use about half as much water as older spray valves. They’re inexpensive, easy to install, and save on water heating and usage costs.

Load machines to capacity

Dishwashers use the same amount of energy to wash a small or large load, so maximize capacity.

Recycle hot water

Consider installing drainpipe heat exchangers in your dishwashing station. They can save 50 to 60 per cent of energy for water heating, shorten payback times and double or triple the water heater’s first-hour capacity.*

Give it a rest

Turn off the dishwasher’s internal tank heater at night. Leaving it on overnight heats water unnecessarily.

Keep it hot

Check wash curtains in conveyor washers and replace them if torn. Wash curtains keep heat in, improving energy efficiency.
*Source: E Source™ Companies

Heating and cooling

Replace older boilers

High-efficiency condensing boilers use less gas and take up less space. FortisBC’s financial incentives can help make switching easier.

​Install programmable thermostats

​Set back the temperature in less frequently used areas and when the restaurant is closed.

Look up to your fans

Ceiling fans can efficiently regulate the air temperature between kitchen and dining room.

Include HVAC in turn-off plans

Reduce or turn off make-up air for the kitchen when the restaurant is closed.

Insulate pipes, valves and flanges

Insulate heating and hot water pipes, valves and flanges to prevent heat loss.

Give patios a break from the heat

Turn off patio heaters when they’re not needed. Because patio heaters warm up quickly, you can turn them off and on as required.

Windows and doors

Seal the leaks

Draft proof windows, doors or any other place where different building materials meet with caulking and weatherstripping.

Double your doorway

If practical, install double-entry doors to keep heat in and drafts out, saving you energy while increasing guest comfort.

Install energy-efficient windows

Reduce noise and heat loss and improve comfort with double-glazed windows. Another affordable solution: apply clear window film or solar glazing to the interior side.

Paint it light

A light coloured exterior reflects the sun’s heat, easing cooling loads for your restaurant.

Contact us

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Call us at 1-866-884-8833 or email us at


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