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Topic planner: Kitchen and Canteen Equipment


This topic helps you….. “get staff using kitchen equipment more efficiently”

Here you need to get people thinking about using equipment in the kitchen and canteen efficiently. You can use some quirky facts here about energy use for certain relevant appliances and how that relates to other activities. This may also be an ideal time to let people know about appliance labelling.

These messages should mainly be visible in the kitchen / canteen itself to remind people at opportune moments, of the actions they should be taking. You will probably find the main method of communication here will be posters, stickers and the notice board.

You may however reinforce this message through other communication tools.



Use these resources to help promote Kitchen/Canteen energy saving:

PosterStaff PresentationEmail RemindersEnergy Fact TranslatorHome Electricity saving tips
Energy awareness posterPreparing the caseEmail remindersEnergy fact translatorKitchen
Readymade poster templates for running a campaign Presentation templates helping you build a great presentation to staff about saving energyA template for setting your campaign budget. Simply input your own figures. A selection of themed images you can use in presentations. Guides, information, tips and links on saving energy on compressed air.

Did you know?


  • Using the dishwasher once will use the same amount of energy as boiling 7.5 full kettles.
  • Avoiding one dishwasher load saves enough energy to power a 100W light bulb for 11 hours.


  • Microwaves use up to two-thirds less electricity than conventional electric ovens and are useful for reheating meals.
  • By cooking food at a higher temperature and pressure, i.e. in pressure cookers, cooking time is reduced and energy use is typically reduced by 50-75%.
  • Don’t open the oven door to check cooking too often, every time you do so, you lose 20% of the accumulated heat. [Source: SEAI Householders be your own energy manager booklet]
  • Using a toaster to make toast instead of the grill uses 3.5 times less energy.

Fridges & Freezers

  • Regular cleaning of refrigeration equipment can increase its efficiency by up to 25%. [Source: SEAI Energy Wizard]
  • Make sure to keep the fridge door shut. For every 10–20 seconds the door is open it takes 45 minutes for the fridge to cool down to its original temperature. [Source: SEAI Householders be your own energy manager booklet]
  • In one year, an American-style fridge freezer uses 30% more energy than a regular fridge freezer.
  • A typical vending machine uses approximately the same amount of energy as 12 regular fridges over the course of the day.


  • If everyone boiled only the water they needed to make a cup of tea instead of filling the kettle every time, we could save enough electricity in a year to run nearly half of the street lighting in the country.
  • Lime scale is an insulator and will result in more energy being used to boil the water. Make sure that you descale your kettle regularly.


  • Regular cleaning of ventilation systems can increase efficiency by as much as 50% compared with un-maintained systems. [Source: SEI Energy Wizard]

Kitchen/Canteen energy-saving tips at work

Cooking equipment

  • Always use the right-size pans for the base size for the hob. Oversized and undersized pans waste energy.
  • Keep lids on pans whenever possible. It can take 3 times more energy to cook without a lid than with one. [Source: Europe’s Energy Portal]
  • When pans come to the boil, turn hobs down to the minimum needed for simmering (boiling does not speed up the cooking process!).
  • Use microwave ovens to reheat relatively small amounts of food.
  • Switch on equipment only when necessary. Do not switch on all equipment at the start of a shift, if it is not needed.
  • Don’t leave equipment on standby if it can be avoided. Implement a startup/shutdown plan to make sure you’re using only the equipment that you need, when you need it.
  • Where possible do not site cooking equipment (which gives out heat) next to refrigerators, freezers, or other chillers, as this will increase the energy they need to use.
  • Keep it clean! Keep all cooking equipment free from grime, blackened surfaces and scale.
  • Clean ventilation units and extractor hood grease filters weekly and keep free from dust and grease.
  • Clean and/or replace filters at the intervals recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Keep heat exchanger surfaces, grilles and vents clean.
  • Check seals and gaskets on oven doors weekly to ensure a snug fit and minimal heat loss. Replace if found to be damaged.
  • Check gas burners weekly for a blue flame and efficient combustion.


  • Close the door! Keep doors closed on refrigerated units and check that door closers are working correctly.
  • Check the temperature readings from refrigeration equipment daily to look for under/over cooling.
  • Ensure that all liquids stored in refrigerated areas/cabinets are covered.
  • Ensure that frozen or chilled stock being delivered or re-stocked, is quickly placed in cold rooms or refrigerated units/shelves and not left sitting around.
  • Ensure that products to be cooled are not left in high temperature areas prior to placement in refrigerated units, e.g. do not leave in direct sunlight.
  • Allow non-perishable goods to cool before placing them in refrigerated cabinets/rooms.
  • Do not defrost items under running water
  • Check seals on refrigerator doors and cold storage weekly to ensure that seals are clean and free from ice and frost.
  • Keep fridges and freezers ice-free and defrost regularly – when required, but every two months as a minimum or following the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Keep evaporator coils in refrigeration units clean, ice-free and unobstructed.
  • Keep compressor and condenser fins on refrigeration and air conditioning units free from dust and grime. Clean them regularly – when required, but every three months as a minimum.
  • Keep the opening of chiller and freezer doors to a minimum. Try to place all food for one shift into one or more service refrigerators so that temperatures in storage units can be maintained.
  • Cover open refrigerated food storage displays with blinds or curtains.
  • Place refrigeration equipment in the coolest location as far away from heat sources as possible (but not in a mechanically chilled cellar).
  • Ensure that the manufacturers recommended operating temperature for refrigeration equipment is set accordingly.


  • Use the following heat-up times for cooking equipment: less than 10 minutes for many hobs grills and convection ovens; 15–20 minutes for heavier equipment.
  • Do not use ovens or hobs for space heating!
  • Switch off equipment when it is not needed, e.g. do not leave hobs burning when not in use.
  • Turn off taps after use.
  • Do not wash food and utensils under running water.
  • Only heat occupied areas and switch off heating when not in use.
  • Switch off lights in a room or area when not in use, but make sure to comply with health and safety regulations.
  • Switch off the main ventilation plant and toilet extractor fans outside occupancy hours.
  • Switch off kitchen fans when no cooking is taking place.
  • Label all controls to indicate their function and, if appropriate, their new reduced settings: in particular label switches that must not be switched off.
  • Make sure that light fittings are cleaned regularly.

Energy saving at home

Visit the power of one heating page for guides, information and links on saving energy on home heating. Distribute free guides and information to staff.

Why not order some guides from SEAI to hand out to staff? You can order or download the following guides (and more) from SEAI:

  • Power of One - An introduction to energy saving
  • Householders, be your own energy manager guide
  • Sustainable energy what it means for you
  • Efficient Home Heating guide - Your Options
  • A Detailed Guide to Insulating Your Home
  • How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient
  • Your Guide to Electricity in the Home
  • Top Tips for Household Electricity Saving

Use the power of one electricity tips when delivering information on energy saving in the home.

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