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What to Tell Your Clients About Commercial Kitchen Energy Efficiency Rebate Programs

You know utilities offer ENERGY STAR® rebates for home appliances, but did you know they also offer rebates for commercial appliances? These rebates can save your customers money when it’s time to upgrade kitchen equipment.

Knowing which rebate programs are available in your area and what they require is bonus knowledge that helps enhance customer loyalty.

Once clients have specific projects in mind, be sure to check rebate program details and advise your client to talk with the local utility before purchasing any new equipment.

While some utilities simply require the installation of ENERGY STAR equipment to qualify for rebates, other programs specify brands and models, or have additional qualifications. For example, one program specifies “only air-cooled, cube-type” ice machines. Nugget-type ice machines are ineligible. Expect the programs to apply only to new – not rebuilt or used – equipment.

To claim the rebate, some utility programs also require pre-notification or an application before installation begins, as well as verification of installation – sometimes with photos.

Savings Can Be Significant

The rebates can be substantial, and they vary by utility. The Energy Trust of Oregon, for example, offers four rebates to Zip Code 98623. They include a $1,850 rebate for commercial steam cookers, and rebates as high as $5,000 for commercial ovens. (Both are good through December 31, 2019). For grocery stores, installing doors on open medium- or low-temperature refrigerator cases qualifies for rebates of up to $200 per linear foot.

Rebates from CenterPoint Energy and the Public Service Company of Oklahoma start at $300 for Energy Star fryers and peak at $2,400 for some commercial ovens.

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Vermont Gas offers rebates of $750 for Energy Star ovens. In the rebate application, it also asks for the pounds of food cooked per day per unit, and the hours of oven operation.

Rebates also are available for a wide range of efficiency projects, beyond equipment updates. For example, Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) offers discounts for display case night covers and a variety of other energy-saving steps. It even offers a 10 percent discount for purchasing equipment manufactured in Illinois.

Search EnergyStar.gov

To learn which rebates are available in your area, check the rebate finder at EPA’s ENERGY STAR® program. Enter the zip code to search, then filter the search using the checkbox options in the left column of the page. Depending on the program and the zip code, the “Commercial Food Service” or “Appliances” box may appear.

The ENERGY STAR site is searched by Zip Code, but you also can search by utility. The EPA lists utilities participating in the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) Commercial Kitchens Initiative. These utilities offer energy audits, rebates, or other programs – sometimes with installation companies – to help commercial kitchens reduce energy consumption. If your local utility isn’t listed, contact it directly to learn what rebates may apply.

Knowing the details of local equipment rebates shows your clients you’re eager to help their businesses. That interest, indirectly, helps your own bottom line.