Skip Navigation LinksDEP > Businesses > Energy > Office of Pollution Prevention & Energy Assistance > Energy Efficiency and Conservation > Energy Opportunities > Food Storage and Processing

Food Storage & Processing

Equipment for food sales and service operates to keep the food safe during storage, preparation, cooking, serving and selling. For some equipment, you may not be able to do much but purchase the most efficient unit you can afford – we recommend that you calculate capital cost AND annual operational costs together before you buy the less efficient unit! Upright stand-alone upright coolers with a top-mount compressor are one example of this. But for other equipment you can take some low-and no-cost steps to improve your energy bottom line.

Staff can save or cost you money!

Energy efficient equipment does not save energy if it is not used correctly or properly maintained! You may be surprised how savings can add up when you ensure your employees are both trained and empowered to use best energy practices in their daily activities. Staff should understand that until they actually turn on the griddles, ovens and fryers, ventilation hoods should remain off – they just draw out conditioned air you've spent money on heating or cooling. If one of the evaporator fans in the walk-in is not working, unless they are part of a variable speed system, staff should notify someone immediately. Dripping faucets and dishwashers should be reported as well as hot water is not free to make. Filters on HVAC equipment often need to be changed more frequently when in a restaurant or dusty (flour-y) setting.

Want some quick simple pay-backs?

Here are some low-cost maintenance or upgrades that can save some energy expenses:

  • Ensure you've programmed any programmable equipment to the hours of operation.
  • Locate your refrigerant suction lines and insulate them with foam pipe insulation (if they're not already or it's disintegrating).  Make sure not to cinch it, just loosely wire-tie. 
  • Clean and unblock (boxes/displays/other equipment) all grilles and compressors and coils. Grilles are there to either bring in cool air or discharge hot air, so make sure it can go somewhere – even on stand alone refrigerator cases.
  • For open-front reach-in coolers, install a night cover, even something simple like bubble-wrap can make a difference.
  • Check the gaskets on all refrigeration units and ensure doors shut squarely.
  • Consider installing retrofit packages for lights in coolers (switch to LED, possibly with occupancy sensors), door heaters (not all coolers are eligible), and compressor operation (those with bottom compressors are more likely able to be retrofit).
  • Install shading for your outside compressors and walk-ins (including roof-top units). Simple lattice screening can lower the temperature by 5 degrees or more.

Have exhaust hoods?

They can be a huge opportunity – but how can you be sure? When considering installing variable speed units or retrofitting/replacing your equipment, if your unit meets any of these criteria, it is a good candidate:

  • running on 3-phase power
  • ≥ 1 horsepower
  • ≥ 4000 cfm
  • at least 10-12 feet wide
  • operating at least 8-10 hrs/day

Looking to make a big investment?

When it's time to replace your equipment (which may be sooner than you think based on energy pay-backs!) install Energy Star certified equipment.