Implementation of the ENERGY STAR® Commercial Kitchen Package Webinar (text version)

This webinar presented an overview of EPA's ENERGY STAR® Commercial Kitchen Package. Presented by Una Song of EPA, energy- and cost-savings benefits were outlined for Commercial Kitchens and recommendations were provided on how to achieve savings for this end use. Information was targeted toward implementing strategies in the retail and food service sectors.

Below is the text version of "Implementation of the ENERGY STAR® Commercial Kitchen Package," originally presented on November 30, 2011. In addition to this text version of the audio, you can view the presentation slides and a recording of the webinar (WMV 33 MB).

Una Song:
-- the Energy Star Program. We might as well go to the next slide which will give us an overview of what I'll be speaking about. Next slide, please.

Kristen Taddonio:
We're working on it. Sorry.

Una Song:
Oh, okay.

Kristen Taddonio:
Always a quick glitch. There we go.

Una Song:
Perfect. So I'm just gonna give a short overview of the Energy Star Program. I think that a lot of you are already familiar with it so I won't spend too much time there.

You may not be aware of our commercial food service program. So I'll go into a little more detail about that and talk about some of the marketing tools and resources that the program offers. Then, as Kristen said, we'll be taking questions at the end. I think we're gonna open up the phone line, but there's also a feature where you can send in questions.

I'll go ahead and get started. So, what is Energy Star? Energy Star is a voluntary climate protection partnership program run by the U.S. EPA. The reason for the establishment of the label is really to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants caused by the inefficient use of energy and also to make it easy to identify energy efficient products that offer savings on energy bills without having users sacrifice performance features or comfort.

Oh. Sorry. I'm on the next slide and I forgot to say next slide.

So we are celebrating our 20th anniversary next year and it's been a very successful program. The brand is recognized by over 80 percent of Americans.

Next slide. So, the Energy Star program covers products, new homes and commercial and industrial buildings. I'm gonna be here to talk just about the products piece, but from a products perspective, we cover 60 plus product categories. The main categories are here on this slide.

So we've got lighting, home envelope, electronics, appliances, office equipment, heating and cooling. So every room in your home. We also have some commercial products and that's what I'm here to talk to you about today; commercial food service in particular.

So, next slide. So why is the EPA interested in commercial food service products? So, as you can see from this graph, restaurants really are very energy intensive. So the quote I picked out was back from 2006. Even though that's kind of old, I think it's still very applicable.

So, Hummers are usually associated with gas guzzling cars. So restaurants are in that same vein. So they can use between five to seven, sometimes even ten times the amount of energy per square foot than any other commercial building.

We also saw that there's an opportunity for efficiency in the way that restaurants use energy. So that's one of the reasons why the Energy Star Program decided to look at commercial food service.

So, next slide. So in deciding to look at commercial food service, we wanted to see what part of the kitchen should we really focus on. If you look at this chart, you see that most of the energy use in restaurants is dominated by food preparation and HVAC. So that really helped guide us in identifying the types of products that we would cover.

So, next slide. So just to give you an example, so fires. So most kitchens, any kitchen, even an institutional kitchen have a fryer. A typical electric deep fat fryer uses about 18,000 kilowatt hours annually. If you compare that to a typical U.S. households, which consumers about 13,000 kilowatts annually, you can understand the impact having more efficient products in the kitchen can have.

Just to note: a lot of kitchens usually have more than one fryer.

So, next slide. So one of the things that we emphasize when we talk to kitchen operators is when you look for the equipment, you really want to look at your total cost of ownership.

So commercial food service equipment tends to have a very long life cycle. So while the acquisition cost of the equipment is something that is fairly large, if you look at how much you spend in terms of installation, shipping, maintenance, labor, energy, water, repairs costs and disposal fees, the acquisition cost of the equipment is actually quite small.

One of the major barriers to adopting more energy efficient commercial food service equipment is that we hear that operators are concerned that it costs more, but if you look at the total cost of ownership, the initial cost differential is really not as big as you would think.

However, we do understand that a lot of times the budget for the purchase of the equipment is separate from the budget for the ongoing maintenance.

So if you go to the next slide. One of the things that we do is we team with utilities and help them to understand the value of offering incentives for commercial food service products and also helping them to reach out to those operators so that they can have a good level of participation.

So as you can see here, the incentive range is quite wide, but for pretty much all of the commercial food service products covered by the Energy Star Program, there are utility incentives.

When I get into the Energy Star tools I can tell you how you might be able to identify these incentives, but one thing that we always say is make sure you contact your utility to ensure that the program is still in effect before purchasing your equipment because the utility programs, the funding is fluid.

So next slide. So that brings us to the equipment. So what is the equipment that the Energy Star Program covers? So we've got eight categories. We've got refrigerators and freezers and we cover both solid doors and glass doors. We have hot food holding cabinets, dishwashers, convection ovens, ice machines, steam cookers, fryers and griddles.

On this slide, hopefully everyone can read it okay; we have as needed average annual cost savings. So as you can see, for an ice machine it's about $130 a year that we would expect people to be able to save from an Energy Star qualified ice machine, but if you look at steam cookers, we estimate that you might be able to save between $1,100 to $1,200 per year.

If you go to the next slide. Hmm. Did we skip a slide? Can you go back one slide? Yes. This is the lifetime savings. So, as I said earlier, much of the equipment has a pretty long lifetime. So if you multiply those annual savings by the anticipated lifetime, you can see that you can save a significant amount of money over the lifetime of the piece of equipment.

So, next slide. So this is just an overview of the efficiency levels of Energy Star qualified products versus standard. So as you can see, the equipment really is between 10 and 65 percent more efficient when compared to standard models.

If you go to the next slide. So in order for manufacturers to meet the stringent specifications set by the Energy Star Program, they often need to use innovative technologies and better materials.

So in addition to saving on energy and water in some cases, like dishwashers and steamers, you may also see some of these other benefits, such as shorter cooking time because you're more efficient with the way that you use energy. More of the energy goes into the food.

You can have improved production rates. You can have reduced loads on your HVAC because if your kitchen is less hot, then you have less to condition. You can have improved recovery times, lower maintenance costs and also some reduced noise levels.

So all in all, we think that purchasing Energy Star or choosing Energy Star qualified equipment really makes sense from a total cost of ownership and also your quality of equipment perspective.

Now obviously changing out all of your equipment doesn't always make sense. So if you go to the next slide. There are some other ways that you can strategically save energy in your kitchen. What the EPA recommends is going from left to right, but first off I want to emphasize that you really need to benchmark your energy water use first and then you can really track how effective your improvements are.

So you can do that first and Energy Star has tools for that, but I'm just gonna now walk through very quickly the steps that we think you can take and in the order which is the lowest cost, lowest effort.

So if you want to go to the next slide. So the first step that we recommend after benchmarking is to really look at your operations and maintenance. This is just making very minor changes in how you operate your kitchen can really produce some great energy savings.

So from a walk-in refrigerator and this could be for any refrigerator, but make sure you do the regular maintenance. So clean your coils, add refrigerant, fix gaskets so that you make sure that the refrigerator really can maintain the temperature that you need.

Then same with your HVAC equipment. Make sure you get regular tune-ups and schedule filter changes.

From a cooking and sanitation equipment perspective, again, just tune-up regularly and make sure that you recalibrate the equipment.

Lastly, make sure you fix water leaks immediately. It's amazing how much money you can waste just by having a minor water leak because you're paying for that in a number of ways. One is you're paying for the water itself. If it happens to be hot water, you're paying for the energy to heat that water. Then since it's going down the drain, you're also paying sewage fees. So fixing water leaks is really kind of a no-brainer and a quick and easy way to save energy and save some money.

Then you also might want to consider an energy audit. Often times these are available free from utilities. So, utilities will come out or either auditors will come out and inspect your kitchen and make recommendations on where you might be using more energy than you need to and make some recommendations on fixes.

Now these things seem very straightforward and no-brainers, but sometimes you just need to get into the habit of making sure that you maintain all of your equipment on an appropriate schedule. So a lot of times this is a no-brainer and hopefully it's already a part of your operations and maintenance program.

So, if you go to the next slide. This is also a low cost measure, but changing employee behavior can also be a challenge. So some of the things that you might want to consider is having a start-up and shutdown schedule. So, a lot of times when employees come into your kitchen service might not start for a few hours, but they turn on all of the equipment just to make sure that it's on and it's easy just to do it right when they get there.

So you have a lot of equipment that is preheating that is using energy during times that you don't need to. So there are some things that take longer to warm up. So we recommend having a start-up and shutdown schedule.

So there are some things that you might need right away, like if you serve a breakfast you might have the coffee warmers on in the morning, but then you turn them off say after lunch or there might be some plate warmers or steam tables or toasters that you use in the morning that you don't use throughout the rest of the day. So just have a start-up and shutdown schedule that really mirrors how you're gonna use the equipment.

Then this is also kind of a no-brainer, but turn off lights and burners when not in use. So unless your employees get into a schedule with this, it's easier for them just to turn everything on and turn everything off at one time. That's at the beginning of the day and the end of the day.

So a friend of mine owns a restaurant and I remember going into see him one evening. He was trying to implement a start-up and shutdown schedule. One of the things that they wanted to do was dim the lights when it was very sunny out so they didn't have to use the lights because there were a lot of windows.

So he was there at lunch and he noticed that all of the lights were on burning brightly, even though he had talked with them over and over again about making sure you dim the lights. So one of the things that you need to make sure with the employee behavior is that they have a set schedule and it becomes a habit.

Then in terms of walk-in refrigeration, a couple of things that you can institute that will save energy and money is making sure that you don't prop open the doors or you can use it in conjunction with the door. If you don't have a door is use airstrip curtains. It's amazing how much the airstrip curtains can help with just keeping the cold air in.

Again, it's a lot of times with the walk-in refrigerator if you've got a busy kitchen, it's easier to prop open the door, but there are some things that you can install on the doors to make sure that they close automatically.

There are little things like having a table right in front of the refrigerator so if somebody is bringing back a pallet of fruit or something that needs to go into the refrigerator, they can set it down there, open the door and then pick it up and take it back in.

So employee behavior. Lots of changes that you can encourage them to do that will save you energy and money.

So, next slide. So now, we're getting into talking about equipment. So, for a lot of kitchens and this goes for a lot of buildings in general, lighting is kind of a first project for energy efficiency at retrofits because the amount of money that you can save on lighting is pretty significant and you can make back your investment fairly quickly.

So we really encourage restaurant owners, kitchen operators to install Energy Star qualified lighting wherever they can. So the Energy Star qualified lighting which covers both LED and CFL, use about 75 percent less energy and produce less heat. So you have an opportunity to save also a little bit on your HVAC expenses, but this qualified lighting also lasts longer. So you've got less maintenance.

Then we also have some performance measures in place to make sure that the quality of light and the lifetime that you see is consistent. So we recommend is your first energy efficient retrofit is to consider lighting. You can use CFLs in places like lock-in refrigerators or break rooms where – well especially in walk-in refrigerators since the CFLs emit less heat, then it's also easier on the refrigeration equipment.

So, next slide. So, another retrofit project that we recommend is just installing vacancy sensors and lighting controls. So, as you can see from the slide, they cost between $25 to $80 and then you can place them in bathrooms, storerooms, walk-in refrigerators and you can save between 25 to 75 percent depending on how much you use that room or refrigerator.

So, next slide. So once you go through your operations maintenance, behavior, lighting, controls, then you've done quite a bit with your kitchen. Then this would be the time, if you're not looking to replace a piece of equipment, that you might wanna consider purchasing Energy Star qualified equipment.

So we have a lot of tools in place to help you choose your Energy Star equipment, to help you identify utility incentives in rebates and I'll go into some of these tools in just a little bit, but as you're looking to choose Energy Star equipment, we recommend that you engage with us and talk with us and we can put you in touch with our partners that can help you make the right decisions.

So, the next slide. Just to wrap up the tips section. So just to review and add in a couple additional tips, first and foremost, benchmark your restaurant. Secondly, install Energy Star qualified light bulbs and fixtures. The light bulbs you can do pretty quickly. The fixtures might take a little bit more time.

We also recommend installing a high efficiency pre-rinse spray valve that will really reduce the amount of water that you use. As I said, fix water leaks immediately. Perform walk-in refrigerator and other equipment maintenance.

Replace worn out equipment with Energy Star or other efficient equipment. Then make sure that you ask your dealer, designer, manufacturer, whoever you interact with when you make equipment decisions, about Energy Star and other energy efficient models because the more that the kitchen operators and restaurant operators ask their dealers or distributors for Energy Star and energy efficient equipment, the more likely they are to stock it.

So next slide. So I only have a few more slides. I'm gonna go through these pretty quickly so we should have plenty of time for questions, but I just wanted to walk you through some of the key tools and resources offered by the Energy Star Program to help you choose your equipment.

So, the first one. So finding money, utility incentives. So as I said earlier, a number of utility programs around the country offer incentives. So there are two ways for you on the Energy Star website to find these incentives.

One is to click on – well I guess they're both under the Buying Guidance tab under the main Commercial Food Service Program page for the Energy Star products. You can look up your incentives two ways. One, we have an incentive guide that's a downloadable Excel spreadsheet. You can search by state or by equipment and that guide includes both Energy Star and other energy efficient equipment.

So we recognize that while Energy Star covers eight categories, there are many more categories of products found in kitchens and there are utility programs that have broader programs than just Energy Star qualified products. So you can find that in the downloadable Excel guide.

Then we also have a rebate finder, which is an online tool where you put in your zip code and you can bring up the incentives in your area.

So, next slide. Then so we have an energy cost savings calculator. So again, on the Energy Star commercial kitchen package page, we have a link to a comprehensive commercial kitchen equipment savings calculator.

So this calculator bundles all eight categories of CFS equipment. You just enter in the number of products that you're looking to buy and then it will spit out the estimated equipment payback, lifetime savings based on the performance details of a specific non-Energy Star qualified piece of equipment versus an Energy Star qualified piece of equipment.

We will also give you estimated greenhouse gas savings. We do have assumption tabs where you can go in and if you're really looking at two different pieces of equipment, you can go in and manipulate the figures so that you can see what the comparison is between the Energy Star piece of equipment you're looking at and the non-Energy Star qualified piece of equipment. So it is quite flexible.

So if you go to the next slide. We also have a few fact sheets that can give you some examples of what others have done. So, on the fact sheet we've got some examples of how restaurants have utilized Energy Star qualified equipment to reduce their energy and water use. We have some specific case studies. These are more focused on dealers who partnered with their utilities to get the word out about Energy Star qualified commercial food service equipment.

Then we have an Energy Star guide for restaurants and it really focuses on all of the different types of both Energy Star and other energy efficient equipment and it gives you some tips on how to use them to save energy and how much you may be able to save by choosing an Energy Star qualified piece of equipment.

So if you go to the next slide. So we've got lots of tools and resources. We also have a commercial food service newsletter. So you can go to our website. Again, it's the and that'll take you to the commercial kitchen package page.

You can sign-up for the newsletter. We publish it quarterly and we spotlight partners and restaurants and kitchen operators that have stories to tell in terms of how they've leveraged the Energy Star program to save energy and water.

Then we also have updates on where we are with the various specifications. We do try to update the specifications on a regular basis so that the Energy Star Program really identifies those products that are exceptional in terms of energy use.

So the next slide. This is my last slide on resources. So, in addition to just saving money and saving water and saving energy, by purchasing Energy Star or choosing Energy Star qualified equipment makes you eligible for some recognition opportunities.

So the first and foremost is from the Energy Star Program itself. So, if you're an Energy Star building partner you can apply for Energy Star Partner of the Year. It's helpful for you to detail your commitment to purchasing Energy Star qualified equipment. If you're a small business, then you are eligible for this small business award that is given out by the Energy Star small business network.

Then you're also eligible for special recognition by the Energy Star program.

Some outside recognition opportunities is the NRA, National Restaurant Association Conserve Program. They're in the process of launching their Conserve solutions for sustainability program. That will eventually also have a recognition component, but the purchase of Energy Star qualified equipment is a big part of that program right now.

There's the green seal Green Kitchens Program. Then the U.S. GBC LEED Program. So purchasing Energy Star qualified equipment does help you earn points in the LEED program in many different areas. So new construction, commercial interiors, retail. There is an opportunity for you to earn points.

So if you go to the next slide. So the next two slides are just reference slides for you. I believe this presentation will be made available for you afterwards. So if you have any questions or are interested in learning more about these resources, these are the web links that can take you directly to some of the resources that I've talked about.

Actually, one resource that I didn't really talk about in a lot of detail is the resource under the Energy Star Training Center. We did recently update all of our training for commercial food service operators, which is now on the training center. So this slide was a derivative of that overall presentation, but what we've done was we've broken it up into five different modules so you can be very targeted about your training.

So if you only wanna learn about the equipment, you can take the equipment portion. If you wanna learn about how to make the business case either to your investors or to your clients on why Energy Star makes sense, you can go to that section of the training.

If you go to the next slide. Some other useful links. So the is the benchmarking tool that you can use to benchmark your energy use so you can really understand the impact the energy efficiency measures your implementing have on your operations.

Then the next two are two of our key partners in restaurant efficiency. So the PG&E Food Service Technology Center has a wealth of information about energy efficient commercial food service equipment. They do have information that goes into a little more detail than some of what we have on the Energy Star Program and they also have some design tools that can help you look at the best way to design your kitchens.

Then this is the link to the National Restaurant Association's Conserve Initiative.

So, if you go to the next slide. That is my contact information. So I'll open it up for questions here, but if you have a question that you wanna ask me afterwards or you wanna have a follow-on conversation that's my contact information.


Kristen Taddonio:
Thank you very much Una. We really appreciate it. Again, we see some questions coming in already. If you have a question that you haven't typed in, please do. Then for everybody who's listening, this webinar will be posted at We will send you all the links when it is to be posted. So Una, can you see the questions? Would you like to read --?

Una Song:
I can. So I'll just start from the top. I guess Tim Heck has a question about any information on demand control ventilation for kitchen hoods.

So, kitchen hoods is not a program area covered by the Energy Star program, but our partners, the PG&E Food Service Technology Center has some information on kitchen hoods and kitchen ventilation and then also CEE, the Consortium for Energy Efficiency also has a program in place to look at efficient kitchen hoods.

So, let's see. Now I'm going down to Mark Campion's question. Energy Star does the analysis to determine which products are more efficient, but the local utilities offer the actual incentives. Not Energy Star. Yes, that is correct.

So, John Oval. How is the lifespan of the equipment calculated? We rely on just market data to determine lifetimes. I will have to go back and find out the exact source of the lifetime information of the equipment. I don't know it off the top of my head, but it is also, if you go into the Energy Star commercial food service calculator, the reference for the lifetimes should be there.

So, I guess Kristen answered Mike's question, which is how was the standard equipment performance determined you used to calculate the cost savings for the Energy Star equipment?

So, the product specifications are available on our website. Those are the requirements that products need to meet in order to earn the Energy Star. In terms of standard equipment, as we go through our specification development process, we do research the market to find out what standard efficiency is so that we can identify those products which are more efficient. So that's where we get the standard equipment performance.

So Mark Campion. Is this site or source energy? I'm not sure which slide you're referencing, but we use site energy at the Energy Star Program.

What is the rate per kilowatt-hours used to calculate the savings? I would also have to look that up. I think from a commercial perspective, it's approximately nine cents per kilowatt-hour.

So, what percentage of the CFS equipment sold that meets or exceeds the Energy Star performance requirements? That is available on our website. We actually just released the latest market penetration data. So if you go to, there'll be a link towards the market penetration. I think that's what we call it. Let me just look it up really quickly for you.

That will give you our estimate of how much of the market is Energy Star qualified. It's called the 2010 USD Report.

So those are all the questions that I had online.

Kristen Taddonio:
Great. Thank you very much, Una. Everybody has the contact information in case they have further questions. Unless there are any more last minute ones, we will thank you all for joining and invite you to have a great rest of the afternoon. Thank you.

Una Song:
Great. Thanks, Kristen.

Kristen Taddonio:

[End of Audio]