5 Tips for saving energy in commercial kitchens

With energy prices on the rise and the general increase in the cost of living, we are all looking for ways to reduce our energy consumption and save money – especially commercial catering establishments.

A study in the International Journal of Low-Carbon Technologies highlighted that 45% to 70% of wasted energy in commercial kitchens is due to behavioural factors and poor maintenance; both things that can be quickly and easily rectified. Whilst altering the habits and behaviours of the staff members working in these areas is essential, there are other things to also consider for saving energy in commercial kitchens.

Refrigerators and Freezers

As we already know, any appliance that is changing something from warm to cool or cool to warm will be using a considerable amount of energy. Refrigeration and freezing appliances are in fact the largest energy consumers in a commercial kitchen. Therefore, it is important to know the best ways this can be reduced.

Whilst an empty refrigerator must work harder to keep items cool than a full one would, you must avoid overloading these appliances if you are looking to save energy. Many commercial kitchen operators have installed door closers or alarms that go off when a fridge or freezer door has been left open for an extended period of time. These alarms act as a reminder and are very effective in changing the habits and behaviours of staff. Simple precautions such as this can aid in saving energy in commercial kitchens up to 10%.

Regular Maintenance

Like anything, if your catering equipment is looked after and regularly serviced, not only will you get the best performance out of it, but it will also undoubtedly last longer too.

Whether it is a combi oven, fryer, glass or dishwasher or refrigeration equipment – all need to be used properly and cared for frequently in order for them to continue operating efficiently and to ensure they are not using unnecessary amounts of energy.

Having a commercial kitchen maintenance plan in place means you can be safe in the knowledge that any lurking problems with your equipment, such as energy wastage, will be caught and fixed early. We understand that any downtime suffered by your equipment has operational and financial implications on your business, that’s why we offer a reactive call-out service to help minimise the chaos this can bring.

NCE responds to reactive call-outs from our customers in a heartbeat, as we know how much damage and downtime an equipment malfunction can cause.

Heating Reduction

If your restaurant is full of customers it will feel significantly warmer than when it is empty due to the additional body heat so you can adjust your thermostat to reflect this. Most, if not all, thermostats will have a night time setback setting. Engaging this setting is actually more effective in saving energy in commercial kitchens than switching off your heating entirely. This is because it prevents the heat source from having to work as hard to reheat the building when going from off to on.


Switching to energy efficient light bulbs is an easy and effective method for saving energy in commercial kitchens. These bulbs use just 20% of the energy that traditional bulbs use and last for 25 times longer – it’s a no-brainer! The two most popular types of energy-saving bulbs are compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Choosing either of these over a traditional lightbulb will definitely make a difference in your commercial kitchen’s energy consumption.

Switch it off!

This seems like an obvious one, but it’s easily missed! Switching off all your lights and appliances (that can be turned off) at the end of each shift and especially over any holidays is key to saving energy in commercial kitchens.