Ideas to Keep Your Business Cooking

Easy to serve energy ideas for coolers, kitchens, dining rooms and more.

Efficiency is our house specialty. From cozy diners to dining hotspots to banquet halls, DTE Energy has insights to trim the fat out of your cooking and refrigeration energy usage.

Restaurants — Typical Energy Usage

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Energy Tips for Restaurants


ENERGY STAR®-Certified Equipment
While high-efficiency appliances can cost more up front, significantly lower utility bills make up for the price difference over time. In fact, appliances with ENERGY STAR®-certification offer energy savings of 10 to 70 percent over standard models, depending on the product category.

Convection Ovens
Commercial convection ovens are the most widely used appliances in the foodservice industry. Each ENERGY STAR®-certified electric oven can save businesses 1,870 kWh annually, or an average of $190 per year on utility bills. Each ENERGY STAR®-certified gas oven can save 30 MBtu annually, or an average of $360 per year on utility bills.

Electric and Gas Fryers
A standard sized electric or gas fryer model that is ENERGY STAR®-certified can save 1,100 kWh/year or 50 MBtu per year in energy, respectively. This equates to a savings of $100 and $470 annually on utility bills. ENERGY STAR®-certified large vat electric and gas commercial fryers can save 1,790 kWh per year and 58 MBtu per year in energy, respectively. This equates to a savings of $170 and $500 annually on utility bills.

Commercial Dishwashers
Commercial dishwashers that are ENERGY STAR®-certified are, on average, 25 percent more energy and water efficient than standard models.

Hot Food Holding Cabinets
Hot food holding cabinets that are ENERGY STAR®-certified are 70 percent more energy efficient than standard models. On average, ENERGY STAR®-certified models can save $300 per year on electricity or more than $2,800 over the product lifetime when compared to a standard model. Good practices can save $650 annually by turning off an uninsulated holding cabinet when the kitchen is closed (8 hours).

Commercial Griddles
Commercial griddles that are ENERGY STAR®-certified are about 10 percent more energy efficient than standard models. This equates to savings of $120 per year for gas models and $100 per year for electric models.

Ice Machines
ENERGY STAR®-certified ice machines can save $130 on electricity and $18 on water annually.

Steam Cookers
ENERGY STAR®-certified commercial steam cookers save 4,930 kWh (electric models) or 33 MBtu (gas models) annually. This equates to a savings of nearly $510 per year on utility bills.

Ice Machine Usage Tips

Make Ice After Hours
Set ice production for nighttime hours to reduce demand charges.

Bigger Ice Machines Work Best
Bigger ice machines are typically more efficient than smaller ones, yet the price difference is usually not very large. Choose wisely and you could get twice the ice capacity at half the energy cost per pound of ice.

Water-Cooled Ice Machines
Avoid water-cooled ice machines because of their high-water usage costs.

Kitchen Equipment Usage Tips

Cook Wisely
Ovens tend to be more efficient than rotisseries; griddles tend to be more efficient than broilers. Examine your cooking methods and menu to find ways to utilize your energy-efficient appliances more frequently.

Cut Equipment Idle Time
If you leave your equipment on when it is not performing useful work, it costs you money. Implement a startup/shutdown plan to make sure you are using only the equipment that you need, when you need it.

Maintain and Repair Equipment
Leaky walk-in refrigerator gaskets, freezer doors that do not shut, cooking appliances that have lost their knobs — all these “energy leaks” add up to money wasted each month. Don’t let every day wear and tear drive up your energy bills.

Check Thermostats and Recalibrate Equipment
The performance of your kitchen equipment changes over time. Thermostats and control systems can fail, fall out of calibration, or need readjustment. Take the time to do a regular thermostat check on your appliances, refrigeration, dish machines and hot water heaters and reset them to the correct operating temperature.

Run Full Dishwashers Only
Use dishwashers only when full to conserve energy, water and detergent.

Improve Walk-In Refrigerators
Add strip curtains and automatic door closers to your walk-in refrigerator. Inexpensive and easy-to-install, strip curtains can cut outside air infiltration by about 75 percent.

Fan Motor Upgrades

Install ECM Fan Motors
Install electronically commutated motors (ECM) on the evaporator and condenser fans to reduce fan energy consumption by approximately two-thirds.

Restaurant Energy Use

Restaurant Energy Use
Restaurants use about five to seven times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings. High-volume quick-service restaurants may even use up to 10 times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings.


Use Daylight Sensors (Photocells)
A common inefficiency of exterior lighting systems is a tendency to “dayburn,” leaving exterior lights on during the day, wasting energy and money. This problem can be prevented by installing daylight sensors that turn the lights on and off automatically based on daylight.

Install LED Exit Signs
Replace incandescent exit signs with LED signs. They use less than 5 watts of power and last more than 10 years.

Use Occupancy Sensors
Install occupancy sensors in closets, storage rooms, break rooms and restrooms. Check the manufacturer’s website for compatibility with controls.

Use Shades
During the winter, keep blinds open during daylight hours to take advantage of the sun’s warmth. During the summer, keep them closed, especially on southern exposures, to reduce solar heating.

Upgrade Lighting
Lighting is a significant energy expense, averaging 13 percent of a restaurant’s total energy use, so it’s a great place to start an efficiency upgrade.


Tune up HVAC Equipment Yearly
Just as a tune-up for a car can improve gas mileage, a yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can improve efficiency and comfort.

Use ENERGY STAR®-Certified Fans
ENERGY STAR®-certified ventilating fans use 70 percent less energy than standard models, and certified ceiling fan/light combination units are 50 percent or more efficient than conventional units.