Energy Consumption of Commercial Kitchen Equipment


Emily Thompson combines her academic background in business and environmental management to help businesses navigate sustainability.

With experience in broadband services and water conservation, Emily guides businesses towards practices that protect the environment without compromising performance.

When not consulting, Emily enjoys gardening and cooking with homegrown vegetables.

Commercial kitchens play a vital role in the food service industry, serving delicious meals to countless customers every day. However, these bustling kitchens also consume substantial amounts of energy, contributing to rising operating costs and environmental impact. In this article, we will delve into the energy consumption of commercial kitchen equipment in the UK, providing valuable insights and practical tips for energy savings.

Energy Consumption of Commercial Kitchen Equipment in the UK

Commercial kitchens are home to a wide range of equipment, including refrigeration units, cooking appliances, and ventilation systems. These appliances collectively account for a significant portion of energy consumption. According to data from the UK, let’s explore the energy usage patterns in commercial kitchens.

Breakdown of Energy Usage by Equipment Type


Refrigeration units, such as walk-in coolers and freezers, are essential for preserving food freshness. They consume a substantial amount of energy due to continuous operation to maintain optimal temperatures.

Cooking Appliances

Cooking equipment, such as ovens, grills, and fryers, are high-energy consumers. The intense heat required for cooking food quickly results in significant energy consumption.

Ventilation Systems

Commercial kitchens require efficient ventilation systems to remove heat, smoke, and odours. These systems include exhaust fans and hoods, which contribute to energy usage during kitchen operation.

Energy Usage by Equipment Type

Refrigeration: Refrigeration equipment accounts for approximately 30% of the total energy consumption in commercial kitchens.

Cooking Appliances: Cooking appliances contribute to around 40% of energy usage.

Ventilation Systems: Ventilation systems make up the remaining 30% of energy consumption.

Energy-efficient equipment models can significantly reduce energy consumption compared to older, less efficient models. For example, newer refrigeration units with advanced insulation and compressor technologies can consume up to 40% less energy than outdated models.

The impact of high energy consumption extends beyond financial costs. Excessive energy usage leads to increased carbon emissions and places a strain on the environment. By addressing energy efficiency in commercial kitchens, businesses can reduce operating costs while contributing to a sustainable future.

Understanding Energy Labels and Efficiency Standards

To make informed decisions when purchasing commercial kitchen equipment, it’s essential to understand energy labels and efficiency standards in the UK.

Energy Labels for Commercial Kitchen Equipment

Energy labels provide valuable information on the energy efficiency of appliances. These labels include energy ratings, indicating the equipment’s energy consumption and efficiency levels. When selecting equipment, look for higher energy efficiency ratings to reduce energy consumption and operating costs over time.

Energy Efficiency Standards and Regulations in the UK

The UK has established energy efficiency standards and regulations to ensure commercial kitchen equipment meets minimum performance criteria. These standards aim to promote energy savings and environmental sustainability. Familiarise yourself with these regulations and consider them when purchasing new equipment.

Choosing energy-efficient equipment offers long-term savings by reducing energy consumption and lowering utility bills.

Practical Tips for Energy Savings in Commercial Kitchens

Implementing energy-saving measures in your commercial kitchen can lead to substantial cost savings and environmental benefits. Let’s explore practical tips across different aspects of kitchen operations.

Selecting Energy-Efficient Equipment

Refer to energy labels and ratings when choosing equipment. Opt for models with higher energy efficiency ratings to minimise energy consumption.

Consider lifecycle costs rather than solely focusing on the initial purchase price. Energy-efficient models may have higher upfront costs but can result in significant long-term savings.

Proper Equipment Sizing

Choose equipment that suits the specific needs of your kitchen to avoid overconsumption. Oversized equipment wastes energy during operation.

Regular Maintenance and Servicing

Schedule regular maintenance and servicing for all equipment. Well-maintained appliances operate optimally, consuming less energy.

Cooking Practices and Workflow

Adopt efficient cooking techniques like batch cooking to prepare larger quantities of food at once, reducing overall energy consumption.

Use lids on pots and pans to retain heat and accelerate the cooking process.

Ensure proper preheating of equipment to minimise energy usage.

Streamline kitchen operations to minimise idle time and energy waste. Proper planning and organisation can significantly reduce energy consumption.

Take advantage of equipment timers and controls to automate operations and reduce unnecessary energy usage.

Energy-Efficient Ventilation and Exhaust Systems

Install demand-controlled ventilation systems that adjust airflow based on cooking activity. These systems optimise energy usage by delivering ventilation precisely when needed.

Regularly clean and maintain ventilation systems to ensure optimal efficiency. Clogged filters and ducts restrict airflow, leading to increased energy consumption.

Explore the use of heat recovery systems that capture waste heat from ventilation and exhaust systems. This captured energy can be reused elsewhere, further reducing energy waste.

Refrigeration and Cold Storage

Clean and defrost refrigeration units regularly to maintain their efficiency. Accumulated ice and debris hinder airflow and increase energy consumption.

Adjust refrigeration temperatures based on the specific storage requirements of different food items. Setting unnecessarily low temperatures wastes energy.

Organise food items in refrigeration units to maximise airflow and ensure efficient cooling. Avoid overcrowding and maintain proper spacing between items.

Training and Staff Awareness

Staff training and awareness play a crucial role in achieving energy savings in commercial kitchens.

  • Conduct regular training sessions to educate kitchen staff about energy-saving practices, including efficient cooking techniques, proper equipment operation, and maintenance.
  • Foster a culture of energy consciousness by promoting awareness and encouraging employees to adopt energy-saving behaviours in their daily activities.
  • Establish channels for employees to report energy-related issues or inefficiencies for prompt resolution and continuous improvement.

Incentives and Support for Energy Efficiency

The UK offers various incentives and support for businesses aiming to enhance energy efficiency in their commercial kitchens.

  • Government Schemes and Grants: Explore available government schemes and grants that encourage the adoption of energy-efficient equipment in commercial settings.
  • Consultation Services and Audits: Seek professional consultation services and audits to identify energy-saving opportunities specific to your kitchen and receive tailored recommendations.


Energy efficiency is a crucial aspect of running a sustainable and cost-effective commercial kitchen.

By closely examining the energy consumption of kitchen equipment and implementing practical tips, businesses in the UK can significantly reduce operating costs, minimise environmental impact, and promote a greener future.

Prioritising energy efficiency not only benefits the bottom line but also contributes to a more sustainable and resilient food service industry. 

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