U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Federal Energy Management Program
Covered Product Category: Hot Food Holding Cabinets
Updated May 2012
FEMP provides acquisition guidance and Federal efficiency requirements across a variety of product categories, including hot food holding cabinets, which are covered by the ENERGY STAR® program. Federal laws and executive orders mandate that agencies meet these efficiency requirements in all procurement and acquisition actions that are not specifically exempted by law.
Manufacturers display the ENERGY STAR label on complying models. For a model not displaying the label, check the qualified products lists maintained on the ENERGY STAR website.
This product category overview covers the following:
Meeting Energy Efficiency Requirements for Hot Food Holding Cabinets
For the most up-to-date efficiency levels for this product category visit the ENERGY STAR Product Specifications website. For more information, contact the FEMP point of contact listed at the bottom of this page.
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Buying Energy-Efficient Hot Food Holding Cabinets
This product category overview applies to commercial hot food holding cabinets. In the Federal sector, these products are used in large food service facilities such as U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers and convalescent hospitals. Cook and hold, proofing units, transparent merchandisers, and drawer warmers are excluded.
Federal supply sources for commercial hot food holding cabinets are the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). GSA sells products through its Multiple Awards Schedules and GSA Advantage! DLA offers products through DoD EMALL. Products sold through DLA are codified with 13-digit National Stock Numbers (NSN) and, in some cases, a two letter Environmental Attribute Code (ENAC). When buying commercial hot food holding cabinets through DLA sources, look for models with the ENAC "HD" attached to the end of the NSN.
When buying hot food holding cabinets through Federal supply or commercial sources, select products that are ENERGY STAR-qualified. Qualified products are required to display the ENERGY STAR logo. Visit the ENERGY STAR website for a list of qualified products.
These requirements apply to all forms of procurement, including guide and project specifications; construction, renovation, repair, energy service, and operation and maintenance (O&M) contracts; lease agreements; and solicitations for offers. Energy performance requirements should be included in all evaluations of solicitation responses. Buyers shall insert the standard clause from FAR section 52.223-15 into contracts and solicitations that deliver, acquire, furnish, or specify energy-consuming products for use in Federal facilities. Agencies can claim an exception to these requirements through a written finding that no ENERGY STAR-qualified or FEMP-designated product is life-cycle cost effective for a specific application.
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Buyer Tips: Choosing Efficient Products
An insulated cabinet is the most important feature to look for when buying an energy-efficient hot food holding cabinet. In addition to saving energy, insulated cabinets radiate less heat into the kitchen, which helps to keep the work environment more comfortable. The insulation will also make the interior temperature more uniform from top to bottom. Select a cabinet size that is appropriate for the amount of food typically served. Choosing an oversized product will increase purchase cost and waste energy. Hot food holding cabinets are available with other energy-saving features, such as magnetic gaskets, self-closing doors, temperature and humidity controls, and Dutch doors (for access to part of the cabinet without losing heat from the entire cabinet).
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User Tips: Using Products More Efficiently
Hot food holding cabinets are often left on overnight. Since most products require only 15 minutes to warm up, turning hot food holding cabinets off when they are empty could save substantial annual energy costs. Make sure that door gaskets and auto door closers are maintained in good operating condition. Worn door gaskets and faulty auto door closers allow hot air to escape from the cabinet and increase energy consumption.
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Reducing Energy Costs: Save More Than $960 When You Buy ENERGY STAR-Qualified Products
FEMP has calculated1 that the required ENERGY STAR-qualified product is cost effective if priced no more than $960 above the less efficient model. The most efficient model saves the user more money: $1,205. In facilities that serve three meals per day and operate 365 days per year, such as VA medical centers or dining halls on military bases, the savings will be greater. ENERGY STAR has an Excel-based cost calculator for hot food holding cabinets on its website that agencies can use to more accurately estimate energy and cost savings. The complete cost effectiveness example and associated assumptions are provided in table 1.
|Table 1. Lifetime Savings for Efficient Commercial Hot Food Holding Cabinetsa
||ENERGY STAR Most Efficientb
||ENERGY STAR Requiredc
|Maximum Idle Energy Rate (watts)
|Annual Energy Use (kWh/year)
|Annual Energy Cost
|Lifetime Energy Cost
|Lifetime Energy Cost Savings
a More efficient products may have been introduced to the market since this information was published.
b The efficiency of the Most Efficient models was obtained from the ENERGY STAR List of Qualified Products.
c Federal purchases must be of ENERGY STAR-qualified products that meet or exceed ENERGY STAR efficiency levels.
d The Less Efficient column represents low efficiency models.
Determining When ENERGY STAR Is Cost Effective
An efficient product is cost effective when the energy cost savings over its functional lifetime exceed any initial incremental cost above a base model (i.e., energy cost savings are greater than additional costs at time of purchase). Federal purchasers may assume that products meeting ENERGY STAR and FEMP-designated efficiency requirements are cost effective. However, users wishing to determine cost effectiveness for their application may do so using the hot food holding cabinet energy and cost calculator.
Products meeting FEMP-designated efficiency requirements or ENERGY STAR performance specifications may not be cost effective when energy rates are below the Federal average or in certain low-use applications. For most applications, purchasers will find that energy-efficient products have the lowest overall cost. In high-use applications or when energy rates are above the Federal average, purchasers may save more if they specify products that exceed the Federal efficiency requirements, as shown in the most efficient column in table 1.
Operating conditions vary from facility to facility. Buyers wishing to determine cost effectiveness for a specific application may do so using an Excel-based calculator for hot food holding cabinets on the ENERGY STAR website. Input site-specific information such as the machine capacity and/or rate for electricity and this cost calculator will automatically display energy use and cost savings that more accurately reflect your conditions.
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For More Information
The following resources provide additional information surrounding the purchase of efficient products:
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory provided supporting analysis for this acquisition guidance.
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Idle energy rate is based on ASTM Standard F2140-11: Test Method for the Performance of Hot Food Holding Cabinets. The assumed rate of electricity is $0.09 per kWh, the average at U.S. Federal facilities. Lifetime energy cost is the sum of the discounted valued of annual energy cost with an assumed hot food holding cabinet life of 12 years. Future electricity price trends and a 3% discount rate are based on Federal guidelines (NISTIR 85-3273-26) and are from the Annual Supplement to NIST Handbook 135 and NBS Special Publication 709, "Energy Price Indices and Discount Factors for Life-Cycle Cost Analysis - 2011."