Spotlight Report

Can Commercial Kitchens Go Electric?

Commercial kitchens are one of the most energy-intensive building spaces, consuming approximately five times the energy per square foot of a standard office.

A kitchen’s carbon problem is not just from the CO2 emitted during combustion. Kitchen appliances are often powered by natural gas (methane), whose global warming potential is 28 times higher than that of CO2. As a result, the environmental impact from using natural gas expands beyond the kitchen doors. U.S. emissions from leaks, abandoned wells, and other life-cycle impacts account for millions of additional tons of methane entering the atmosphere annually.

An all-electric commercial kitchen offers potential energy and carbon savings over using natural gas, but making the switch can be complicated—and even controversial. Cost, infrastructure, ventilation, water consumption and heating, food choices, chef preferences, and cultural differences can all play a role in helping decide whether an all-electric kitchen will work for your next project.

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