Niko’s Pizza

The Challenge

Niko’s Pizza, a popular dining spot in Palatka, Florida, occupies a building that seems designed for energy inefficiency. It has two dining rooms, one of which has large windows on three sides that absorb heat during the summer, and lose heat during the winter. The restaurant’s four brick pizza ovens and grandfathered exhaust hood generate heat that creates a nearly unbearable environment for the kitchen staff, and contributes to the uncomfortably warm conditions for customers in the dining rooms.

The restaurant’s aging 15-ton HVAC/R system included 3 separate units. A roof mounted five-ton unit for the front dining room, a five-ton split unit for the kitchen and a five-ton split unit for the back dining room. Owner Niko Johns wanted to replace this inefficient system but the estimated price tag of more than $40,000, including hiring an engineer and construction needed to do the job held him back.

The Solution

Seeking an alternative, Niko turned to Demandside Energy Solutions. Upon evaluating Niko’s existing system, the Demandside team concluded that it could be converted to a single hydronic system using the patented Arctic Gator. The five-ton rooftop unit was taken offline entirely. The two remaining five-ton units were integrated with the Arctic Gator system creating an energy efficient hydronic system.

The Results

Niko’s Restaurant has now been able to provide year-round comfort for its staff and customers. The owner had this to say, “We’ve had the system operating for 3 years. There was a lot of hit and miss back then. We discovered many things, but right off we were saving electricity. The restaurant has also used Arctic Gator to increase heating efficiency. We didn’t have heat until Jimmy came along and this isn’t costing me any more. Trying to keep customers and the staff comfortable in a restaurant can be a difficult process as the seasons change but our kitchen is much cooler now.” He added, “It’s just been getting better and better.”


  • The original 15-ton/three-compressor air-to-air system was transformed into a highly efficient 10-ton/2-compressor hydronic system.
  • Temperatures are now maintained at a constant 72° in both dining rooms and 78° in the kitchen.
  • Even though the owner was worried more about comfort rather than savings, the restaurant’s monthly electric bills have still been reduced by nearly 20% with an estimated return on investment of 4 1/2 years.
  • Print Friendly, PDF & Email