SoCalGas - No-Cost Operational Tips to Save Energy and Money
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No-Cost Operational Tips to Save Energy and Money

Foodservice is Energy Intensive…

Where the Energy Goes

Diagram Showing Percentages of Energy Spent in Foodservice




If you don’t have strip curtains on walk-in refrigerators and freezers, you can spend four times more on energy costs to load your boxes.

  • Replace worn door gaskets on walk-in boxes and make sure automatic door closers are functioning.
  • Inspect condenser coils regularly as well as the evaporator coil in walk-in boxes.
  • Check for the need to replace deteriorating or missing insulation on suction lines.
  • Keep the area around walk-in box evaporator fans clear of products.
  • Make sure strip curtains are in good shape, and keep them down when loading the walk-in cooler.
  • Check the defrost time clock — make sure it is properly set with a minimal number of defrost cycles.



Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) and Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) consume 75%-80% less energy than incandescents.

  • Wherever possible, replace incandescent lights with CFLs or LEDs that produce the same amount of light while using just 25% of the energy.
  • Turn off lights when not needed, especially signs, menu boards, decorative and soffit lights. Also, turn off lights in storage areas, break rooms, walk-ins and restrooms.
  • Keep lamp fixtures and diffusers clean.
  • Turn off unnecessary lighting when the establishment is closed.
  • Make sure lighting controllers are working and properly programmed.
  • Turn off exhaust hood lights when the equipment below them is turned off.



One leaky faucet can waste up to 2,000 gallons of water per year, sending your savings right down the drain.

  • Reduce hot water use in the kitchen and for facility cleaning.
  • Properly calibrate dish machine and hot water supply temperature to meet name plate requirements.
  • Inspect dish machine regularly for leaks.
  • Check insulation on hot water pipes.
  • Fully load each dish machine rack to get the most value from used water, detergent and energy required to heat the water.
  • Turn off dish machine wash tanks and booster heaters when the facility is closed.



Cooling your facility to 73°F takes 15% more energy than cooling to 78°F. Every 1° of cooling equals a 3% increase in energy use.

  • Use recommended thermostat set points at 78°F for cooling and 68°F for heating. At night, set thermostats to 55°F for heating and 90°F for cooling.
  • Turn off all fans when the facility is unoccupied.
  • Perform regular cleaning and maintenance of filters, belts, coils and bearings.
  • Turn off exhaust hood fans when kitchen is closed.
  • Close vents or seal off areas where heating or cooling is not essential.
  • Shade or apply heat reducing window film to sun exposed windows to reduce cooling energy requirements.
  • Push back cooking appliances as far as possible under the hood.

Food Preparation


If you lower the lid and cover braising pans and steam kettles, you save up to 40% of the energy used.

  • Implement equipment “start-up” and “shutdown” schedules.
  • Reduce excess heat loss by carefully monitoring preheat times and cooking temperatures. Cook food products in the largest amounts possible.
  • Heat only to the temperature required. Do not turn thermostats on high in an attempt to get equipment to heat up to cook food faster.
  • Turn equipment off when not in use. Most equipment takes less than 15 minutes to preheat.
  • Keep equipment clean. Carbon and grease buildup make your cooking equipment work harder and use more energy.
  • Establish a regular equipment maintenance program. Schedule safety and adjustment service as needed.

All projected savings figures reflect average calculations based on published information from reputable sources. Individual savings obtained may vary depending on actual facility location, type and condition of equipment, particular operating uses and other factors.