The good news is that hot food holding equipment carries an Energy Star rating. The bad news is that this category is up for review by Energy Star and the products will need to go through a more stringent series of testing and verification steps in order to earn this much sought after rating. So the future for this product category is uncertain at the moment as foodservice equipment manufacturers continue to come to grips with the new Energy Star regulations.
Still, specifying an energy-efficient piece of hot food holding equipment can have its benefits. There is a good chance an energy-efficient piece of hot food holding equipment will cost more up front but that unit should generate a positive return on investment for the operator over its life cycle through lower utility costs.
Because each operation is unique in its own right, it is important to gauge the return based on how the item is used across the foodservice enterprise. For example, a multi-unit operator may want to look at the investment based on how much money the unit will save across all of its locations. Lowering electricity costs by a few hundred dollars per piece of equipment per location can generate substantial savings rather quickly. In the case of a standalone foodservice operation, consider the savings the hot food holding equipment can provide in a context with other energy-efficient items in use.