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Decarbonizing Commercial Kitchens Webinar

February 22, 2023 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

February 22 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Did you know food service is one of the highest energy users per square foot in the commercial sector? Join us to learn about sustainable commercial kitchens, as well as the PA Department of Environmental Protection’s CHECK Education + Rebate Pilot Program.

USGBC Central PA is hosting this webinar on induction cooking and the “Cooking in Healthy Electrified Commercial Kitchens (CHECK) Rebate Program” with speakers Chef Chris Galarza and Heidi Kunsch.

Approved for 1 GBCI CE; Submitted for 1 AIA LU /HSW


Chef Chris Galarza of Forward Dining Solutions LLC will cover the topic of sustainable food service, looking particularly at how all-electric kitchens, specifically induction cooking equipment, can transform commercial food service. High-performance electric kitchens save a considerable amount of energy compared to traditional gas kitchens. Eliminating combustion from the commercial kitchen also dramatically improves thermal comfort, indoor air quality, and production. The course will delve into these topics and provide the audience with real-world examples. Heidi Kunsch of the PA Department of Environmental Protection will share information about their new learning and funding opportunity, CHECK.

CHECK Rebate Program

Rebates of up to $5,000 are available for a number of efficiency or electrification improvements in commercial kitchens including:

  • Energy Star certified cooking equipment (combustion-free only)
  • Induction cooking equipment
  • Demand control kitchen ventilation system
  • Electrical infrastructure upgrades to accommodate additional load
  • Funding is available on first come, first-serve basis with an environmental justice focus.

Please see the CHECK rebate guidelines for more information and send questions to RA-EP-CHECKProgram@pa.gov

Learning Objectives

  • Become familiar with the PADEP’s CHECK rebate and education program for nonprofits, K-12 schools, and higher education institutions in Pennsylvania
  • Understand why electrification is an important step towards decarbonization
  • Understand how and why electric cooking equipment is more efficient than natural gas equipment
  • Learn how removing combustion from a kitchen improves indoor environmental quality
  • Become familiar with a range of all-electric food service strategies, and their implications on energy performance and carbon emissions


  • Timeline of events from Berkeley’s gas ban to now
  • Introduction to induction cooking
  • Gas vs induction comparisons
  • Health considerations
  • Myth Busting induction cooking

About the Speakers

Entrepreneur, author, public speaker, and podcaster Chef Chris Galarza is renowned for his work in kitchen electrification and is the Founder of Forward Dining Solutions LLC. As the country’s foremost expert in commercial electric-kitchens chef works with governments, manufacturers, brands, designers, and chefs to create lasting sustainable kitchens and culinary ecosystems. Chef has worked on notable projects such as Chatham University’s Eden Hall Campus (the world’s first fully self-sustained university campus), Microsoft HQ, and Castilleja All-Girls School.

Chef worked for several prestigious establishments such as Carnegie Melon University, Monterey Bay of Pittsburgh, and The Greenbrier of WV where he apprenticed under several Certified Master Chefs and culinary Olympians. Chef leverages his experience as a culinarian, educator, and consultant to get projects moving forward and leaves operators educated and prepared to successfully, efficiently, and safely run their kitchen for years to come.

Heidi Kunsch serves as an Environmental Group Manager at PADEP’s Energy Programs Office, where she manages education and outreach, as well as financial incentive programs for alternative transportation fuels and green buildings. She also supports the PA GreenGov Council on developing sustainability strategies. Prior to DEP, she served as Director of the US Green Building Council Central PA chapter. Heidi is a LEED Accredited Professional and earned a BS in Environmental Science from Muhlenberg College, as well as a Masters in Environmental Pollution Control from Penn State University.