Food processing facilities and commercial kitchens have unique needs when it comes to their commercial HVAC systems. Managing temperature and humidity is crucial to maintaining product quality…

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The HVAC systems in these facilities can account for as much as 35 percent of the overall energy use- with such a significant portion of energy being used to power the commercial HVAC system, improving and maintaining its efficiency is an important concern for your food processing facility or commercial kitchen. Below are steps to take to control your facility’s HVAC energy use.

  1. Measure the efficiency of your facility

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has specific energy performance indicators which can be used to assess the energy efficiency of food processing plants. This system allows a facility to compare its performance with other similar facilities across the United States. Use your facility’s score to determine if improvements should be made. On a scale of 1 to 100, 50 equals average performance, and scores of 75 or higher may make your food processing facility eligible for ENERGY STAR certification.

    The EPA also provides detailed information on implementing energy efficiency practices in food processing facilities such as fruit and vegetable processing plants and baking facilities. These energy guides are a useful tool to begin improving your facility’s commercial HVAC energy efficiency immediately, as well as your efficiency in other areas.

  2. Upgrade to energy-efficient commercial HVAC systems

    When it’s time to decide between repairing and replacing, take into account the efficiency of the facility’s current equipment and the level of efficiency which could be gained with new equipment. HVAC systems lose efficiency over time, and improving technology has helped to develop new systems with much higher efficiency. Improving commercial HVAC systems can be done without interfering with processing operations, so you can gain quality without losing valuable production time.

  3. Modify current systems

    Commercial HVAC and refrigeration systems are a major component in a commercial kitchen or food processing operation. If upgrades cannot be performed, modifications can be made to improve the efficiency of the facility’s current systems. For example:

  • Refrigeration systems can be modified to increase insulation and add tighter seals around doors.
  • Fans used for cooling and ventilation should be evaluated to determine if speeds are appropriate- slowing fan speeds can reduce energy and fuel consumption.
  • Heating systems may be used for combined heat and power operations which convert waste heat into electrical power which can reduce the amount of utility-purchased power needed.

BC Comfort’s design build services team specializes in energy efficiency for food processing and commercial kitchen facilities. For more information, please contact or services team or visit our services section at