Kitchen Study

Commercial Kitchen Indoor Environmental Quality Field Study

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), with support from Frontier Energy's Food Service Technology Center and the University of California at Berkeley's Center for the Built Environment, is conducting a field study to gather data on thermal conditions and air quality from 20 commercial kitchens to identify energy saving opportunities. The study also includes a free, onsite energy assessment and opportunities for kitchen staff to provide feedback.

Who is funding this? 

The Building Technologies Office from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (U.S. Department of Energy).

Why are we doing this? 

Harsh working environments in commercial kitchens are anecdotally cited as a reason for high staff turnover. This research will help identify the impact of energy efficient technologies that can also improve the comfort of commercial kitchen staff.

Metal rack of air monitorsWho can participate? 

Full-service and limited-service restaurants employing 5 or more kitchen staff and located in or around the San Francisco Bay Area. We may expand to other locations in late 2024. 

Participating restaurants need sufficient floorspace in their kitchen for sampling equipment. See example of the space required for the monitoring setup in the photo on the right.

How long does this take? 

7 days, but we only need access 1) to set up and take down equipment and 2) for a one-time air quality sampling.

What will we measure? 

Temperature, humidity, and air quality.

How will we take measurements? 

  • Day 1: Two researchers set up sampling equipment and conduct an energy assessment to characterize ventilation systems and identify energy saving opportunities.
  • A researcher will return once in the 7-day period for additional air quality samples around lunch service and dinner service hours. We will work with you to avoid interruptions to kitchen operation. 
  • Day 7: We retrieve all equipment.

Will the study involve kitchen staff? 

Kitchen staff can voluntarily fill out a short, 10-minute online survey about air quality, temperature, lighting, and noise within 45 days of the first site visit.

What do I get for participating? Man in a restaurant kitchen cooking

  • $480 for the participating restaurant owner or
  • a designated manager for coordinating the site visits. Check request will take 4 to 6 weeks to process, and will require contact information (name, email, mailing address) of the recipient. 
  • $15 gift card for each kitchen staff who fill out the online survey within 45 days of the first site visit. They will need to provide their email address in order to receive the gift card. For gift card options, please see:

What will I learn from participating? 

Participating restaurants will receive a report on the key energy saving measures, estimated energy savings, and potential improvements in operation and productivity.

How will we use the measurements? 

Researchers will analyze de-identified results from the measurements and the staff survey for publication in a scientific journal.

Will others know that I participated? 

Published results will only include general information about participating restaurants. We will not disclose identifiable information such as restaurant name and street address. 

While we will take photos for documentation, any identifying features will be removed if photos are used in publications.

Who can I contact to learn more about the study? 

Please contact Allie Johnson at or 510-486-6047.