Ask the expert

Restaurant owner checking kitchen supplies.

In the wake of the pandemic, times are tough, and every penny counts. While you’re thinking about your food costs, menu strategy, and labor cost and deployment, don’t forget about the money you’re spending on energy and water. 

While utility bill figures may vary, if your budget is generally on target, your energy costs will typically be about 3%-5% of sales—which are three to five points that are not profit. For example, a statistically “average” commercial restaurant will be spending about $0.11/kWh for electricity and $1.05/therm for natural gas.  

Man shopping for a refrigerator in the store.

The refrigerator is a common and convenient workhorse in your home, operating 24/7 to keep your food cold and fresh. Maybe you prefer a model with the freezer on top or with a drawer on the bottom, but you probably don’t think too much about the amount of electricity it takes to keep it running continuously.

Woman and man shopping for a refrigerator in the store.

Products must achieve high levels of energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in order to earn the ENERGY STAR label. Over 75 types of products can earn the label, in categories such as appliances, electronics, lighting, heating and cooling, and commercial products such as food service equipment. In order to receive certification, products must undergo a three-step process.

The EnergyGuide label and the ENERGY STAR label.

Ever wondered what the difference is between the EnergyGuide label and the ENERGY STAR label? For starters, one is yellow and one is blue, but there is more to it than that.

EnergyGuide Label

Who: Managed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

Purpose: Estimates annual energy use and operating cost of the product

How to spot it: Yellow sticker or tag found on product

Woman adjusting the dial on a clothes washing machine.

The short answer is “Yes, it does!” If you are concerned about protecting the environment and keeping electricity rates in check, the best time to use appliances and other equipment in your home, is when overall electricity use is low. Avoiding energy use during times of peak demand can have a beneficial effect on electric rates over time because it can avoid the need for your utility to ramp up an additional power plant or to buy more expensive power or fuel from the market. 

What to Consider When Buying a Refrigerator

Buying a new refrigerator is a big decision. Not only is the refrigerator a centerpiece among your collection of kitchen appliances, it’s a gathering place for preparing family meals. You rely on it to keep your food fresh. Even when it becomes an eye sore (hello, avocado green!), or an energy hog that’s ratcheting up your energy bill, you might be inclined to put off replacing it. Besides, the moment you walk into a store or begin your online shopping, you will encounter seemingly endless decision points – from sizes and configurations to features and more. But the time is now.

Earth Day message

It’s easy to make every day Earth Day with ENERGY STAR. That’s because saving energy is about much more than just preserving resources and saving money – it also means you are doing your part to help protect the planet from climate change. So, choosing energy-saving, ENERGY STAR products makes a difference for the environment EVERY DAY.