Energy saving tips

Cook Up Energy Savings with the Right Appliances

By David J. Alexander

Profitability is the number one concern of California quick-service restaurants (QSRs), so any opportunity to save on operating costs is of critical importance. The appliances used by QSRs offer an excellent way to save energy and money every day. Consider these factors:

  • Square-foot-by-square-foot, restaurants rank among the most energy-intensive commercial spaces in California.1
  • QSR commercial kitchen appliances are huge energy consumers. A gas deep fat fryer, for example, uses more than 1,560 therms a year. Compare that to 375 therms for the average U.S. household.2

It’s easy to see that upgrading appliances has the potential to deliver significant savings on your energy bills. And it’s possible to upgrade to more efficient appliances affordably by taking advantage of rebates from Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E).

Let’s take a look at the variety of equipment certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program, how much it can save you in operating costs and the rebates you can take advantage of to make upgrading economical.

Refrigerators and Freezers
On average, ENERGY STAR-certified commercial refrigerators and freezers offer energy savings of 30% compared to standard models.3 It’s also important to note that in 2017, PG&E expects that the Department of Energy will increase the energy efficiency standards for refrigeration by requiring natural refrigerants in refrigerators and freezers, which is why some manufacturers are already beginning to incorporate this change. Look for new refrigerators and freezers that incorporate natural refrigerants.

Savings:
Refrigerators: $60-$70 annually per door, $560-$700 over the product lifetime2
Freezers: $180-$330 annually per door, $1,700-$3,300 over the product lifetime2

Rebates available:

  • Glass door refrigerator: $75-$150 per unit2
  • Solid door refrigerator: $50-$200 per unit2
  • Solid door freezer: $50-600 per unit2

Save even more: Set defrost timers, and ensure adequate airflow around the unit.

Ice Machines
ENERGY STAR-certified commercial ice makers are 15% more energy efficient than standard models. 2 They include a variety of technologies to boost energy efficiency, such as harvest-assist devices, and high efficiency compressors, fan motors and water pumps. Their more efficient designs also mean longer product lifetimes and quicker ice harvesting.

Savings:

  • $100-$150 annually, $800-$1,000 over the product lifetime2

Rebates available:

  • $100-$500 per unit2

Save even more: Choose a larger and more efficient model to get twice the ice capacity at half the energy cost per pound, and avoid water-cooled machines.

Commercial Ovens
ENERGY STAR certifications can be found on a wide variety of ovens used in QSRs, including the industry workhorse half-side electric convection oven, and natural gas-fired conveyor ovens, a mainstay of pizza places.

Savings:

  • Half-side electric convection ovens: $200 annually, $1,400 over the product lifetime2
  • Natural Gas-fired conveyor ovens: $900 annually, $10,000 over the product lifetime2

Rebates available:

  • Half-size electric convection ovens: $350/oven2
  • Gas conveyor oven: $750/oven2

Save even more: Keep ovens off as long as possible. They can be ready to bake in less than 15 minutes.

Griddles
Griddles are common in QSRs, and ENERGY STAR-certified griddles are roughly 10% more energy efficient than standard models. 2 In addition, these high performance griddles improve uniformity of temperature across the plate and have a higher production capacity.

Savings:

  • $100-$120 annually, $1,100-$1,200 over the product lifetime2

Rebates available:

  • Commercial electric griddle: $150/foot2
  • Commercial natural gas griddle: $100/foot2

Save even more: Calibrate griddle controls to be sure it’s operating at the correct temperature.

Fryers
Several gas and electric open deep-fat fryers, as well as countertop and floor-type models, have earned the ENERGY STAR rating. Such fryers are up to 35% more efficient than standard models, and may also offer shorter cook times, faster temperature recovery times, improved ease of cleaning and an extended product lifetime. 2

Savings:

  • Electric and gas standard size fryers: $100-440 annually, $1,100-$4,600 over the product lifetime2
  • Large vat fryers: $150-$500 annually, $1,600-$5,200 over the product lifetime2

Rebates available:

  • Commercial electric fryer: $650/vat2
  • Commercial nature gas fryer: $749/vat2

Save even more: Calibrate fryer controls to verify it’s operating at the right temperature, and turn off backup fryers when possible.

Appliance options are just a few of the ways that quick-service kitchens can be more energy efficient. You’ll find many more at the resources below. We’re confident you’ll find a number of innovative ways that can improve the sustainability of your QSR, and in turn, it’s profitability. Looking to learn about other available QSR rebates? Download PG&E’s Quick-Service Restaurant Rebates Guide.



Sources:
  1. Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  2. Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  3. Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  4. Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Cook Up Energy Savings with the Right Appliances
  • SMB Blog Author
    David J. Alexander
    Senior Product Manager of Customer Energy Solutions for PG&E, plays a large role in the products and solutions that support SMBs. Involved in the company's energy-efficiency programs since 2006, Dave is also an energy solutions manager for the field engineering services team. He's been instrumental in the design and launch of PG&E's initial LED-focused programs and continues to serve as one its leading lighting experts in the field.
 

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